clogged bathtub drain who fixes it?

11 Replies

Tenants are pretty good but she lost her job and now moving out 4 months into a 1 year lease.

All drains worked fine when moving in. Got a call today well the tub does not drain anymore. I went over and messed with it for 1hr and it looks really clogged. I pulled some hair out and I gave up after now getting anywhere . She "tried" drano but did not work.

Should I make her get a plumber out or should I pay for the plumber?

 How would you handle this, it drains very slowly, 1 gallon takes a few minutes to go down

Normally I'd call the plumber, pay him, and bill them.

Sounds like they are falling on hard times and will be out of your property soon.

Your choice as to let it go or charge their security deposit - perhaps splitting it with them is a good compromise.

If you are 100% sure the tenant's action cause the clog, the tenant show pay. Now how is that issue defined in your lease. If it is not clearly defined you might have to pay. Ask yourself this question. If your were in front of a judge with a copy of your lease, what would the judge say?

@Jimmy S. I personally manage my properties so I don't normally call a plumber unless I need a major job done. It seems like a simple clogged drain. You can use a drain snake and unclog it yourself shouldn't take more than an hour. If that doesn't work then you may need to call a plumber

If I read correctly and she's vacating the apt then you probably should subtract the cost of the plumber from the security deposit, along with any other damages or costs (that aren't wear and tear).

The reason I said you should try and fix it yourself first, is because if in fact its a simple clog and you can get it done yourself cheaply and quickly, its better than having her trying to fight the repairs. 

@Jimmy S.  I agree with Max.  You should hire a plumber to come figure out what the problem is and fix it.  If there's a problem with the pipes that the tenant didn't cause then you'll obviously have to take care of it.  If the drain is full of dental floss (that happened to me once) then you'll have to make a decision about whether or not to make them pay. 

This is my experience. We always tell the tenant when they move in that all drains are working and we usually charge $50 to unclog drains. We also decided that we will routinely clear drains once every 6 months. It saves a lot of hassle with tenants that way. Before we started this practice we had a tenant not report a drain clog in the tub. It must have been at least 2 months that way. She was emptying the tub with a bucket into the toilet I would say every other shower time. Also, get this, Her bathroom sink had clogged and I think her boyfriend removed the ptrap and ran a 1 1/2 PVC pipe set up into the toilet when ever she used the sink. Ever since then we started the above practice. 

@Jimmy S. - did you remove the over-flow cap and linkage and snake down? Get to the back of the 90?  I just did that the other day.  A simple $3 zip-it was all I needed to remove the hair ball.  I would have broke out the $15 hand snake if necessary.

If you've already done that, I'd'd call a plumber and decide what to do when the source of the problem is discovered like @Michael Woodward suggests.  

In general, I don't charge my people for simple things that just tend to happen over time. Fault of there own is a different story, of course. Good question!

update

roto rooter was out and turned out there was a big clump of hair and 2 band-aids stuck in the drain, charged me $175 for 10 minutes of work. Was a little more complicated because it was the old school drum trap. Guess I will be passing this bill on to the tenant.

@Jimmy S. Can you prove it is her hair and band-aids?  Did she shed so much hair in just 4 months that she filled and clogged an old drum trap?  

Sometimes things happen and you do have to charge. But there are many times (I'd suggest this is one) where it's better to be magnanimous. You now have a clean drain in your rental house; it probably needed it anyway. 

Originally posted by @Account Closed Can you prove it is her hair and band-aids?  Did she shed so much hair in just 4 months that she filled and clogged an old drum trap?  

Sometimes things happen and you do have to charge. But there are many times (I'd suggest this is one) where it's better to be magnanimous. You now have a clean drain in your rental house; it probably needed it anyway. 

 It drained perfectly fine when they moved in and its 3 women living there. They are also moving out next month 4 months into a 1 year lease.

@Jimmy S.  

When I do a lease signing, I show them that all the drains work properly.  When they sign, they are responsible for clogs unless it's clogged by tree roots or some other condition out of their control.  So, I will bill them if they caused it.  Now if they are moving early and can't pay there is no reason to chase something that will never happen. 

Originally posted by @Bryan N. :

@Jimmy S. 

When I do a lease signing, I show them that all the drains work properly.  When they sign, they are responsible for clogs unless it's clogged by tree roots or some other condition out of their control.  So, I will bill them if they caused it.  Now if they are moving early and can't pay there is no reason to chase something that will never happen. 

 Everything worked fine when they moved in. Plus if the bathtub had a problem you think they would have told me right away and not waited 4 months and after the fact they are moving out. I do have a security deposit on them. I think the band aid the plumber found explains it all not to mention the big clump of hair.