Minor plumbing issue

23 Replies

Hi,

A week ago one of the houses I own had a plumbing issue at 1:00 am. We called the 24*7 plumbing and snaked the line immediately and later the next morning took care of changing the entire plumbing line upto the mainline for 5000$ due to roots in the pipe.

The tenant in the house says about 1-2 glasses of water flowed from under the toilet into the bathroom and onto the bedroom carpet. The water damage is very little as it was about 2 glasses of water and nothing massive. No feces or discoloration or odor was noticeable.

Within 72 hours I offered to change the carpet immediately but she didn't want us to enter the unit until she hired a company on her own to evaluate as she claimed there is ecoli probably but the company did the test and ecoli was negative and now they are claiming we do negative air filtration, Remove the affected baseboards, Remove and haul away the drywall / plaster from all the affected areas, 2’-0” high and 2’-0” passed the visible water damaged stained areas, Remove the toe kick from the master bathroom vanity, Use a low pressure rinse with a biocide solution to disinfect the affected areas, Set up dehumidification and air movers to dry the affected areas., Final swab testing is recommended at the end of the cleaning.Once the above has been performed, it will then be oaky to install the new carpet and padding.

Am I obligated by law to do all this in addition to the steps I want to take. I'm only willing to change the carpet and her lease is up so is there anything I can do to avoid having to do this steps as I think she is over exaggerating the problem then it is and she is not allowing me to change the carpet and has delayed the process by a week.

OMG has this person never had a toilet overflow? Changed a baby's diaper? Even changing the carpet is over the top, IMHO.

Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC

Dear Tenant,

I understand your concerns as we share them. If your personal assessment of the risks involved preclude your continuing rental of the property we fully understand that. Fortunately your lease has ended and we will now be able to take the necessary remedial actions as soon as you vacate the property. When will that be?

If you decide that the risks are acceptable to you, and you would prefer to stay in the property, we will include a waiver for you to sign along with the new lease agreement.

Please advise your intentions within 24 hours so that we may proceed appropriately.

Thanking you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter, and with best regards, I remain:

Sincerely yours;

The Landlord
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Originally posted by @Sam Abe :
Hi,

A week ago one of the houses I own had a plumbing issue at 1:00 am. We called the 24*7 plumbing and snaked the line immediately and later the next morning took care of changing the entire plumbing line upto the mainline for 5000$ due to roots in the pipe.

The tenant in the house says about 1-2 glasses of water flowed from under the toilet into the bathroom and onto the bedroom carpet. The water damage is very little as it was about 2 glasses of water and nothing massive. No feces or discoloration or odor was noticeable.

Within 72 hours I offered to change the carpet immediately but she didn't want us to enter the unit until she hired a company on her own to evaluate as she claimed there is ecoli probably but the company did the test and ecoli was negative and now they are claiming we do negative air filtration, Remove the affected baseboards, Remove and haul away the drywall / plaster from all the affected areas, 2’-0” high and 2’-0” passed the visible water damaged stained areas, Remove the toe kick from the master bathroom vanity, Use a low pressure rinse with a biocide solution to disinfect the affected areas, Set up dehumidification and air movers to dry the affected areas., Final swab testing is recommended at the end of the cleaning.Once the above has been performed, it will then be oaky to install the new carpet and padding.

Am I obligated by law to do all this in addition to the steps I want to take. I'm only willing to change the carpet and her lease is up so is there anything I can do to avoid having to do this steps as I think she is over exaggerating the problem then it is and she is not allowing me to change the carpet and has delayed the process by a week.

You are in California , right ? Do they want the lawn re sodded after a dog takes a dump too?

Love the feedback, right on target!

With that attitude I would have seriously considered using the emergency provision in my lease to gain entry and appropriately sanitized the affected area of the carpet. If they refused entry then they would be in violation of the lease and it is eviction time. Any aditional damage would be on them because they didn't allow me to mitigate it.

My leases also include a 'if property becomes unfit for habitation' immediate termination clause. It's really intended for fire / smoke damage but it also has the words: "or other" in it. I have pointed to it and asked people if that is their decision.

One was a situation involving a clogged toilet. Before they called the board of health they managed to fill the bowl to the point where a single additional turd would have overflowed it and then used the tub for at least a few days after that.

The BOH said I had to put them up in a hotel as the house was unfit for habitation. I said they had agreed to be responsible for clogged drains and that their lease would terminate if the house became unfit. Now let's decide if it is unfit - what is your decision Ms. Tenant? She mulled that over for a minute and then decided that maybe they Could clean it up themselves. The BOH said they'd wait until 4:00P to re-inspect and somehow or other the house was cleaned up by then.

stephen
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Originally posted by @Mark B. :
With that attitude I would have seriously considered using the emergency provision in my lease to gain entry and appropriately sanitized the affected area of the carpet. If they refused entry then they would be in violation of the lease and it is eviction time. Any aditional damage would be on them because they didn't allow me to mitigate it.

Out of curiosity what does this resident do for a living?

OP here.. She does nothing. She is sitting at home and all she tells me is she found this and that on "Google". She googles day and night and lectures me about stuff she read online. She paid 500$ for the air quality test as she kept claiming there was Ecoli. I'm just more concerned about if all this is required by law. At this point after all the feedback I'm thinking of not even replacing the carpet but just have it sanitized and scrubbed.

Originally posted by @Sam Abe :
OP here.. She does nothing. She is sitting at home and all she tells me is she found this and that on "Google". She googles day and night and lectures me about stuff she read online. She paid 500$ for the air quality test as she kept claiming there was Ecoli. I'm just more concerned about if all this is required by law. At this point after all the feedback I'm thinking of not even replacing the carpet but just have it sanitized and scrubbed.

You should "sanitize and scrub" your screening process, then get rid of this tenant and find a new one.

You're crazy if you think this is the last time you'll have to deal with headaches from her!

Medium logoMichael Seeker MBA, Renting502 | http://www.Renting502.com | Podcast Guest on Show #94

Agree.. I just bought this place and it was rented to her by the property management before we owned it.

Here is the section containing it:
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10. UNFIT HABITATION - Tenant and Landlord hereby agree that in the event that the subject property becomes unfit for human habitation as a result of fire, major storm, flooding, or other substantial circumstance, this lease agreement can be immediately be terminated by the landlord.
11. DESTRUCTION OF PREMISES: If the premises become totally or partially destroyed during the term of this Agreement so that Tenant's use is seriously impaired, Landlord or Tenant
may terminate this Agreement immediately upon three day written notice to the other.
12. CONDITION OF PREMISES: Tenant acknowledges that he has examined the premises and that said premises, all furnishings, fixtures, furniture, plumbing, heating, electrical
facilities, all items listed on the attached property condition checklist, if any, and/or all other items provided by Landlord are all clean, and in good satisfactory condition except as may be
indicated elsewhere in this Agreement. Tenant agrees to keep the premises and all items in good order and good condition and to immediately pay for costs to repair and/or replace any
portion of the above damaged by Tenant, his guests and/or invitees, except as provided by law. At the termination of this Agreement, all of above items in this provision shall be returned
to Landlord in clean and good condition except for reasonable wear and tear and the premises shall be free of all personal property and trash not belonging to Landlord. It is hereby
agreed that all dirt, holes, tears, burns, and stains of any size or amount in the carpets, drapes, walls, fixtures, and/ or any other part of the premises, do not constitute reasonable wear
and tear.
13. ALTERATIONS: Tenant shall not paint, wallpaper, alter or redecorate, change, install, or re-key locks, install antenna or other equipment, screws, fastening devices, large nails, or
adhesive materials, place signs, displays, or other exhibits, on or in any portion of the premises without the specific written consent of the Landlord.
14: PROPERTY MAINTENANCE: Tenant shall deposit all garbage and waste in a clean and sanitary manner into the proper lidded/covered receptacles and shall cooperate in keeping
the garbage area neat and clean. All trash and garbage containers shall not be kept in any area visible from any street - except on trash collection days. Tenant shall be responsible for
disposing of items of such size, nature, and/or volume as are not normally acceptable by the trash/garbage hauler. Tenant shall be responsible for keeping the kitchen and bathroom
drains free of things that may tend to cause clogging of the drains. As all drains are presently clean, clear, and free-draining - any obstruction shall be considered to be the result of the
Tenant's actions. And as a result; Tenant shall pay for the cleaning out of any plumbing fixture that may need to be cleared of stoppage and for the expense or damage caused by
stopping of waste pipes or overflow from drains, bathtubs, wash basins, sinks, or washing machines.
15. CLEANLINESS: Tenant shall maintain all the interior and exterior areas of the leased premises in a clean, neat, and sanitary condition which is free from debris, garbage, trash, and
physical hazards. Tenant agrees to perform routine cleaning throughout the leased premises on a regular basis. Routine cleaning includes, but is not limited to vacuuming any carpet
or rugs, sweeping and washing floors, scrubbing the tubs and/or showers, scrubbing the toilets and sinks, dusting, washing dishes, discarding, bagging, and removing trash, and
cleaning the interior and exterior of all appliances.
16. HOUSE RULES: Tenant shall comply with all house rules as stated on separate addendum, but which are deemed part of this rental agreement, and a violation of any of the house
rules is to be considered a breach of this agreement. Duplication of clauses shall be acceptable to all parties to this agreement.
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Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :
@Stephen S. Atta boy! How is that "unfit for habitation" clause worded? Care to share? I would like to add that to my rental agreement!

Thank u, Stephen s!

I see my lease growing to 40 pages and I will not he ashamed!

Originally posted by @Sam Abe :
OP here.. She does nothing. She is sitting at home and all she tells me is she found this and that on "Google". She googles day and night and lectures me about stuff she read online. She paid 500$ for the air quality test as she kept claiming there was Ecoli. I'm just more concerned about if all this is required by law. At this point after all the feedback I'm thinking of not even replacing the carpet but just have it sanitized and scrubbed.

Does she have a pet?

When her dog and cat drop heat and then come wandering and sit on her lap there is e. coli on her lap. Does she chop off her legs?

How about do nothing, tenant overreacting. Tell her to pound the sand. If she doesnt pay rent as a result, evict. She wants rent escrow? Great, no justification so case dismissed. Dont put up with bs.

Ya she has not ONE but TWO dogs.. she is just ridiculous.. when she moved in within 2 weeks she claimed her pets were itching and there was fleas in the house and I spend money on pest control though the house was clean when she moved in. She later claimed there are glass pieces in the yard though we have a gardener who takes care of the property weekly. She told me she was collecting them :) [ to show me].. she is nothing but headache.

@Sam Abe That is not a tenant I would renew! Tenants don't have to renew awful landlords and awful landlords don't have to renew awful tenants! there is a reason why it is only one year.

@Stephen S. Thank you. I've been revising my rental agreement for 19 years to meet the changing times, to clarify my expectations and to put into writing what should be common sense. You've given me some new nuggets! Thanks for sharing.

Marcia Maynard, Fischer Properties | Podcast Guest on Show #83

sam, I can't believe u are putting up with this and continue to address these ridiculous claims. It's partially your fault for not being able to say no to her.

Maybe there should be a Post Your Lease thread on BP ? The real power of the internet is the communal-mind aspect it has brought and fostered.

Mt lease also includes a separate adendum called: House Rules in which the basic ideas of how to arrange the affairs of and maintain a household are detailed. I originally put that section together because I realized that is wasn't that tenants were dirty, sloppy, jerks - it was that some of them had simply never been told / shown how normal people live. They weren't playing well because they didn't know the rules of the game.

Some of my early problems were caused by my failure to realize this - and making the assumption that everyone renting from me was just like me. It took me years to realize why new carpet was sometimes ruined so quickly: lots of tenants don't have vacuum cleaners. As a result I very long ago resolved to never own wall-to-wall carpeting again.

stephen
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Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :
@Stephen S. Thank you. I've been revising my rental agreement for 19 years to meet the changing times, to clarify my expectations and to put into writing what should be common sense. You've given me some new nuggets! Thanks for sharing.

I had a tenant like this who would come up with crazy stuff to try and get out of paying rent or to build their case for a future court date. I would tell the tenant to direct their grievances to the codes department and that if there is a real violation then you will fix it within their prescribed amount of time.

Originally posted by @Jassem A. :
I had a tenant like this who would come up with crazy stuff to try and get out of paying rent or to build their case for a future court date. I would tell the tenant to direct their grievances to the codes department and that if there is a real violation then you will fix it within their prescribed amount of time.

I wouldn't recommend this, this could be a long road full of bureaucrat paper and time.

In general is there a required process to be followed for cleaning the sewer backup ( which barely looked like water with no stains or feces). I offered the tenant to put disinfectant, let the room air for a day with the carpet taken out and put in brand new carpet and padding. If she went to court would that be enough or is there a set procedure I should have followed.