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Are clogged drains/pipes, the landlords or the tenants responsibility?

I spent my day cleaning out the poopie pipes again. It is the single worst part of being a landlord. And it is NEVER the fault of the tenant, " no we have not poured any chicken grease down the drain" Well today, I found tons of grease a bunch of noodles, q tips, paper towels, and what look like strands from a mop. This all went down the kitchen sink.
The way I look at it is: when I handed you the keys to the house, the drains were all open and flowing, any clogs that happen after that point are because of something you put down the drain, not me. Obviously , if there is a root problem or something like that , then it is on us as landlords, but I think I am going to start telling my tenants " drains are not my problem, call a plumber !" Our one tenant has a clogged drain nearly every month, and I am always finding things in the drains that don't belong there.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:29 PM
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You can put them on notice that from here on out you are going to charge them but the down side is them trying to clear a clog themselves and breaking a pipe.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:45 PM
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Oh, you've struck a nerve with me. I have a handful of rental units and have stuck my hands in more crap that you can believe.

I agree, I'm going to get tough on this. Drain clogged, you pay. I've only had a root clog once, the rest of the time it's grease and tp.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:46 PM
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I don't know how others deal with this, but I handle it like this:

First one is on me - no matter what, mostly because the only rental we have left is a 56 year old house. If there is a root intrusion, etc., it's not their fault. Just to be fair, I always pay the first one. I show them the bill that I paid to have the plummer come out, because the second time is on them - no matter what.

Also, I now meet the plumber over there instead of having the property management arrange it. That's how I found the tenant pushing condoms, beer bottle caps, rubber bands, and masses of hair from the guys shaving their heads bald and putting all the hair through the sink. Those boys got the bill and it never happened again. In another instance, had a tenant put uncooked dried rice down the kitchen sink. Stopped it up like a cork.

I don't mean to sound cruel, but being stupid should not be free. One time for the "learning" experience, and after that they can pay the bill.

angela
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:52 PM
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Absolutely what Angela said. I learn that with rental property. The straw that broke the camel's back was when I was called over to an apartment where the lady tenant had two troublesome kids. She claimed the toilet had stopped working. I asked if anyone had put anything down the toilet that wasn't supposed to go. She & the kids claimed not. I had to take the toilet off the floor to clear it out. What came out was a pretty large plastic helicopter. After that it was the first on me, and after that it was on the tenant.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:16 PM
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yup - but you will need to put that in the WRITTEN LEASE

don't just try to change things in mid-course -- or be ready for legal trouble if you do...
Old 01-30-2011, 04:19 PM
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I'm a long distance landlord as in 2500 miles. I have in my lease that tenants are responsible for the first $50 of any service call. That tends to keep the complaints down. In fact, the only call I've gotten for such a thing was for a buster garage door opener, which was under $200 to replace, so my out of pocket wasn't so bad.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:50 PM
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Over here, it is the tenant's reponsabiliy. end of story.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:08 AM
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My policy is same as Angela's
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:09 AM
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Why can't you structure your lease contract to state that the tenant is responsible for the "drain side" of the plumbing?

That's what we do. In addition we back that up with inspecting the place no less than quarterly to ensure the tenants are doing as agreed to in the lease.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:54 AM
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My leases on my older units don't specify so I have to take care of this, quite often in fact. On the two new homes I purchased and rented this year I had it excluded, and I hope I won't regret it. I'm a bit worried that the renter will try repairs on his/her own and do more damage than the hit from a plumber. Going to have to see how this works.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:32 AM
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I would at least announce it to the tenants as a policy being currently implemented through a letter mailed with their receipts for rent. If it's a necessity, I would do a rental agreement/lease update. That is if local lease laws permit an update. I found out tenants considered a letter enough notice.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:16 AM
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My tenants are responsible for clogged drains,toilets,etc. Now if a pipe breaks thats different unless of course they caused it.
Old 01-31-2011, 10:01 AM
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At my old place the plumber would tell the landlord what caused the stoppage and then they'd figure out who paid. After the second time that raw sewage backed up out of my shower the landlord decided tear out the original line and replace it. I certainly wasn't paying for any of that. She did charge me for one kitchen call and I was pissed about that as the plumber said that he found "rice" that blocked it.

Oh, and I had to clean up the raw sewage both times, and do further clean up after the plumber came. I wasn't reimbursed for my time or disgusting effort.
Old 01-31-2011, 11:34 AM
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when i rented, the landlord took care of plugs. he didnt want a bunch of idiots renting a snake and destroying things.

i visited a friend while he was snaking out a tenant's joints. the stuff coming out of the drain would have made me sell the place. some lady was flushing feminine hygiene stuff..the backup was HUGE!
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
At my old place the plumber would tell the landlord what caused the stoppage and then they'd figure out who paid. After the second time that raw sewage backed up out of my shower the landlord decided tear out the original line and replace it. I certainly wasn't paying for any of that. She did charge me for one kitchen call and I was pissed about that as the plumber said that he found "rice" that blocked it.

Oh, and I had to clean up the raw sewage both times, and do further clean up after the plumber came. I wasn't reimbursed for my time or disgusting effort.
for a renter, the best thing is to call a company to clean up, then send the bill to the LL -- of course, many renters lack the financial wherewithal to front the money for this

the LL's plumber, if on call, or if he has a course of dealing with the LL may not be the most objective person as a witness

having been on all sides of this many times, I'm convinced it is just an intrinsically difficult relationship
Old 01-31-2011, 11:48 AM
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My MIL does not rent, she owns her own place. She had a total mental brain fart when she found some old yeast packets. Instead of just tossing the yeast in the trash, she dumped it down the kitchen sink. As you can imagine it made a horrible mess. Fortunately for me her son got to clean up the mess.

I still tease her about it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:06 PM
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We just had to have a plumber come and unclog our toilet. Apparently, due to old plumbing, the opening of the pipes where they meet the toilet is not really as wide as it should be, eventually causing the build up.

My roommate paid the $335 bill for the toilet and fixing the two sinks that were leaking. I sent the rent in last week net of that $335 with an explanation an receipt attached (when we has the clog I emailed him and he just told me to call a local plumber). So far my landlord is yet to accept the paymen I made through chase or respond to my explanation email with attached receipt. We will see what happens, but I have zero intention if having the plumbing costs come out of my pocket.
Old 01-31-2011, 01:04 PM
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time to review state, county & city law re LL-tenant relations + a close read of your lease
Old 01-31-2011, 01:23 PM
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:23 PM
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