Faucets, Drains & Tubs

Faucets, Drains & Tubs

In this Update, we will focus on maintenance issues very common to rental property owners, and highlight a couple of landlord discussions on faucets, drains, and tubs.

In the first discussion, a landlord asks other rental owners how should he or she handle a resident who calls about a broken knob on the kitchen sink and a clogged drain in the bathroom. The discussion that followed hit on several maintenance tips worth considering, including the first tip regarding the choice of faucets and 6 practical and proven tips on ways to handle minor drain clogs:

1. Consider not using the cheapest disposable faucets, but instead replace the faucet with a good solid brand like Pfister or mid-grade Delta. The added cost of a good fixture is well worth reducing future problems and repeated labor charges, which are often higher than the cost of the fixture.

2. As a welcome (move-in) gift, give a “zip-it” for the sinks. Even take a few minutes to show residents how to use it and tell them to try that if they ever have a clog. In most cases, the zip-it will grab any hair through the drain opening and pull it out, something they can do without your help. The zip-it only costs $3-5.

3. At move-in, another gift option is to give strainers for each drain and a complementary drain maintenance product (one landlord prefers Roebic over zip-it).

4. Have a plumber go by and change out the drain assembly. If you replace a pop-up with a strainer assembly it will eliminate 99.9% of the hair and other debris problem in the future.

5. Be sure your lease addresses plumbing stoppages and whether or not they are the tenant’s responsibility. However, that does not mean that the resident determines who will fix it. Work must be done by someone authorized by the landlord, and the resident will be charged.

6. Develop a great relationship with a plumber and use that same plumber for all your service calls. In exchange, he agrees to charge you a lower flat rate to clear any minor drain clogs. Your residents pay directly to the plumber. This strategy has worked very well for one landlord. “The same plumber will come out for all drain clogs and will even train the tenants to take better care when using the drains, i.e. USING the drain strainers and cleaning them so they are not tempted to take them out, which I find many do. Also not charging so much that the residents will not call you and try to do it themselves. We only use one plumber, he charges my residents $59 to unclog a drain unless it is more than a clog that takes more time. It helps that we use that one plumber for all our plumber needs, large and small. If we get tickets for an event, etc. we offer them to him, etc.”

7. Hit the drain with the Green Gobbler crystals. The bathroom drain in one rental I had was very slow, almost stopped up. Tried a snake, tried a pressure bladder, but there was minimal improvement. I used the Green Gobbler overnight 2x, and now the bathroom drain flows like a new system.

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