Bathroom repair problem with only one bathroom

3 Replies

I have a tenant (2 adults, 2 children, 1 dog and 1 car). So they have been living in this 3 bedroom 1 bath home for exactly one year. 2 weeks ago the tenant texted me saying they want to renew the lease for another year, so I renewed with a slight increase in rent. As soon as I and renewed the lease the tenant wrote me this long message with all these thing wrong, including drain smells bad(she’s been putting bleach down the drain to kill the odor, the lights in the kitchen and bedroom are flickering(this ones easily fixable) & the bathroom floor is in-caving because of water damage(she suggested a new shower door). I feel like they withheld that information when they signed the lease and now Im in this situation where the floor needs to be possibly replaced in their only bathroom while they are living there. I don’t know why the drain pipes smell, the flickering lights are easily fixable, but this bathroom floor situation has me thinking about what I should I do. Any suggestions on how I should approach this?

Hi Chris,

Couple thoughts for you.

1) The drain smelling is most likely coming from the first foot of the drain between the sink and the trap.  I have a baby bottle cleaner that I use.  Take the drain plug out run the brush up and down for 30 seconds flush with soapy water problem most likely solved.

2) As for the bathroom floor/shower problem.  If she had moved out and not told you, you would have hopefully noticed this problem anyway and then would have fixed it regardless.  Use the tenant complaint to your advantage when they start complaining about the inconvenience of a bathroom that is under construction.  Try to work with them and have the work done when they might be out of town or something like that...

Good luck

If you get on your horse you can redo an entire bathroom on a long weekend (3 day). I know this because I did one in a tenant occupied house myself one year over Labor day. She went out of town on Saturday morning and we were finished by Monday afternoon. You need to line up all your materials and workers ahead of time and do whatever break down possible before they leave, but it can be done. In your case you could offer ( you should have done an inspection before renewal, but anyway) partial credit on a hotel room if you want to encourage them to go on a mini vacation, or you can tell them to live with it until they are going away or their lease expires.

I'd just send a plumber over there and pay them for a quote to amend those issues. They probably won't quote the subfloor, but they'll likely diagnose the problem for you. You can use that info to form a plan and work with the tenants to appropriately address the issues. 

Whether you think they withheld that info from you or not, you signed the lease to, so you have an obligation to reasonably respond to issues. Besides, a spongy subfloor will only get worse, it is in your best interest to fix it sooner than later. 

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