Garbage disposal - necessity or nuisance that keeps breaking down?

34 Replies

Hey guys!

I reviewed PM's statement and found 185$ charge for fixing a garbage disposal. Is garbage disposal something that will benefit the landlord in the long run (i.e. prevention of clogged pipes), or should we WITH THE FUTURE TENANTS include a contingency in the lease that "you are welcome to use garbage disposal until it breaks down, upon which there will be a removal of the garbage disposal without an installation of a new one". So the next tenant can use it up until it breaks down THEN WE REMOVE IT AND ELIMINATE any expense associated with it! 

What do you guys think?


Generally, the best thing to do is remove unnecessary items that may fail and cause repair bills. Tenants aren't going to pay more for a unit with a garbage disposal. The condition and location of your property will drive price, minor features won't. It is best if they are removed  before a new tenant comes in so that the tenant never sees these things. That way you manage expectations and reduce your costs.

I recently had a unit turn over and removed the window air conditioner. The new tenant won't see it and won't miss it, but I save money on potential repairs. I wish I had done this at another unit, I had bought some appliances from a departing tenant and they threw in an upright air conditioner, the type with a pipe that goes to the window. The incremental cost to me was about $100 and I thought it might be nice for tenants. Wouldn't you know it, my new tenant complained that the air conditioner was not working. Repairs are not feasible and a replacement is $400 at Costco. Having the air conditioner made no difference to the rent, which was the same that the previous tenants paid while supplying their own air conditioner. This air conditioner issue will cost me $500 in total by the time the next cooling season comes around and a new one is required. Regrets, I've had a few.

On a high end home, disposals are probably a must - most of the time. 

In a non high end rental home, they have no place in my experience. Headaches, maintenance and, IMO, more clogs as people can get it through the disposal, but not all the way down the drain. 

FYI - icemakers on your fridges will yield the same pain as well. 

Good luck! 

@Ed O. Is on the money with ice makers. I would never buy a fridge for a rental unit with an icemaker. Too delicate, too easily subject to tenant abuse, and too expensive to repair. Basic, sturdy appliances are what is needed in a rental.

That garbage disposal has to go.

@Edita D.  

$185 for repairing seems terribly high.  Not so high if they are replacing.  In most instances disposal is jammed and simply inserting an allen wrench underneath disposal will unjam or pushing reset button.  I would definitely remove disposal from rentals if they are causing issues. 

I'd remove.

Most of the professional landlords I know wire for disposals, but do not install them.  And yes they remove them if they buy a house with a disposal.

I could live in a house my entire life without clogging a disposal, tearing a screen, breaking an ice maker, warping a ceiling fan, etc but some reason most tenants can't live in a place for more than a month before having issues with these sort of amenities.

We usually will not install a garbage disposal in any of our units but if it's already there we leave them in place.  Our model is very different as with shared housing, even though we rent to adults and they get to use all common areas of the house, the majority of them don't cook.  If they do's very simple meals.  We tell everyone DON'T dare dump grease down my drains cause if they clog, you're paying for it.  

I differ on the fridge...because I often have 3 to 5 renters in a property, I place high-end fridges with ice & water through the door.  My renters expect nicer stuff and they pay for it.  I typically get as much for a room rental as investors in my market get for the entire house.  So I splurge in things they will notice and appreciate...better appliances, backlit rocker switches, remote control ceiling fans, 6-panel doors, upgraded flooring, decent furniture and accent walls.  It all creates an environment of "we rent homes not houses."

In a single family house with a ton of cooking going on, disposals are good to have provided the tenant is trained in using them.  Landlords & owners often make the mistake of assuming the renters not only know what the owners do but that they will act on it....nope, doesn't happen that way.  If you rent single family, give the tenant an incentive to not tear stuff repairs all year means you rent doesn't go up or you get $100 back a Christmas...some sort of incentive goes a long way!

It's definitely not a necessity. I dislike them cause they encourage people to just stuff things down the drain. I'd definitely keep away from them.

Our plumber says he LOVES rental houses with garbage disposals! 

There are none in our houses.

I'm going to take counterpoint to everyone else and say that I love garbage disposals in my rentals. They are cheap to install/replace, and 99% of problems with them can be fixed with a simple reset or hex wrench. 

They prevent a lot of plumbing backups in the kitchen and are a must have if you have a dish washer.  I'd rather have tenants remember to use the disposal, than remember to use a strainer in a sink without a disposal. 

I've even had multiple tenants look two my rentals without disposals and ask if one could be installed before they moved in. The lack of a disposal was even a deal breaker for one group of college girls and their parents who looked at the property!

How often do they really break? I doubt that often. I personally would not live in a house without one, although in an area that I am buying a rental they are not allowed.

Plumber told me to get rid of the disposal and get a basket. I'd rather have the disposal.

I do tell the tenants to throw all food stuffs in the trash and not the disposal.  Plumbers are 


@Edita D.


For any property with a septic, they will destroy your septic.  for other properties the gd are subject to abuse.  Everything including things not meant for the gd will be trash.

One LL had to replace a gd that the tenant had but beer bottle caps in.  another tenant thought it was a shedder and put documents down the gd.

Garbage disposal is a must.  Most of them usually last for years without issues. 

Not that this is in any way common, or a reason to keep garbage disposals in units, but I would never even think to look if there was a garbage disposal in a rental, because I would assume there would be. That being said, if I were a renter I would never rent a place without a garbage disposal, I don't care if it's a 5 bedroom house, or a studio apartment. It's something that I wouldn't be willing to go without if there was no significant price difference in rent, if there were significant differences in rent, I might offer to install one in the unit that doesn't have one. 

Just my 2 cents. 

did not read responses, but i have 16 of them and for 6 yrs, none have broken. i use the badger 5. i want it louder so they know it's on. 

they are $80 on amazon and take 15 mins to replace and install. ok, 30 if you are new.

you dont "repair" them... you just replace them. they have encapsulated bodies, so no parts you can change.

$185 is laughable unless it includes the cost of the unit.

our rentals are $995 and up and i have them in ALL units.

Use garbage disposals.  I also demonstrate that each drain is clear when they sign the lease.  This way if it clogs... I bill them. 

At the end of the day it depends on the class of people your renting to.

They are good for the environment.

Food waste down the drain doesn't end up rotting in landfills.

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I would not put garbage disposals in and if they existed, I would remove them.  We live in a rural area and many properties are on septic systems.  Every plumber I have ever met said they are a problem.  For other people in other geographic locations they might be expected or necessary, but I would avoid them if I could.

I honestly cannot understand 


Who require garbage disposals

I think it's pure laziness

First world mentality

Scrape your plate in the trash bin 

And use your strainers sheesh!!!

And I've had five units now for six years

And the only unit that I had to have professionally snaked 

Was the one with a working garbage disposal. 

I actually am of the mindset that if you are the type of tenant that requires a garbage disposal you are probably a tenant that will be full of little complaints throughout the year and I'm better off without you. 

Not that I wouldn't rent to you

But I would be willing to bet you would be a nuisance. 

sorry a little harsh there

I am currently dealing with that house with the garbage disposal

And the tenant is asking when am I going to fix it because it is a priority for her

I had to take cRe of an emergency at another prop and had to push her repair back

And she is rightfully inquiring when I can get to her 

But in my mind what is the big deal about a garbage disposal? 

Originally posted by @Bryan N. :

Use garbage disposals.  I also demonstrate that each drain is clear when they sign the lease.  This way if it clogs... I bill them. 

 This is a pretty good method

I don't often have the problem 

But when i see the amount of stuff caught in the trap I am stunned 

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