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Renters Should Call Landlords for Plumbing Problems

Updated on August 23, 2011

The Problem Sink!

This is the sink that gave me so much trouble!
This is the sink that gave me so much trouble!

Question for Renters

Your kitchen sink clogs. What do you do?

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There was a period of about a month last year when my kitchen sink wasn’t draining properly. It wasn’t totally clogged. It just drained super slowly. Because of this, I decided not to call the landlord right away. I figured that it was something that I could fix myself. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. After a month of trying, the sink did get completely clogged and I realized that I should have called the landlord in the first place. Hopefully you will learn from my lesson.

But it’s just a little clog

The reason that I didn’t think I needed to call the landlord out to deal with this problem was because I was not dealing with a huge clog. It seemed silly to call the landlord for such a ridiculous thing, especially since she lives outside of the city rather than in the city. I like to be independent. And frankly, I like my landlord to leave me alone as much as possible so I try to leave her alone as much as possible.

What is a little clog?

By “a little blog”, I mean that the clog wasn’t actually preventing water from draining down the sink. It was just swirling slowly before it drained. It would back up sometimes if I was doing dishes because of the amount of hard water that was coming out at once. But it always did drain. Usually in a relatively short period of time (within about fifteen minutes of turning off the water).

Drano almost worked

I am a huge fan of Drano and have used it on tons of sinks over the years so that was my go-to item. I went to the store, got the drain cleaner, came home, read the directions in case there was something about using it that I didn’t remember. And I thought it worked. For a few days, it seemed like the sink was draining properly again. Yay. Unfortunately, it then started to slowly clog again.

Household drain cleaners

At this point I decided to start trying those various household remedies that you can find all over the Internet to help clear clogged drains and take care of just about everything else in the house. For example, I tried the option of naturally unclogging the drain using vinegar and baking soda. Didn’t work. In fact, it made the problem worse. So for some reason I decided to try it again. And it made it even worse.

Now there’s a big clog

After trying my household remedies that didn’t work, the problem got considerably worse. Now there was still water sitting in the sink that wouldn’t drain at all. So of course this is when I called the landlord, right? After all, I am a renter and this isn’t my problem. Nope, I am a stubborn girl sometimes. I think I can do it myself. And with the help of my sister I decided to take apart the pipes underneath the sink to clean them out. That’s when I discovered a huge chunk of baking soda just sitting in the U-shaped part of the pipe. It didn’t occur to me that there must be some reason it just got stuck there other than being dirty. So I diligently cleaned the pipes and tried to put them back together.

Okay, I’ll call the landlord

It was when the pipes wouldn’t go back together that I realized there was an actual serious problem with this plumbing. The pipes weren’t fitting right. And that is when I looked really closely at the situation and saw the real problem. There was damage to the pipe. It was partially stripped so the two pipe parts weren’t fitting together correctly. Someone before me (perhaps another dumb renter who didn’t want to call the landlord?) had jimmy rigged the pipe together but it was bent and twisted and just not right. That’s why things were getting stuck. The pipes weren’t actually connected properly but weren’t leaking either so things were just getting stuck. Including my baking soda that otherwise might have clogged a drain with vinegar when used properly.

So, yes, at this point, I called the landlord. And let me tell you that it was a huge ordeal. She sent out a plumber who had to come out multiple times and he told me about many, many different things that were completely wrong with the plumbing in my house. For one thing, the water pressure at the street is actually wrong and that’s causing tons of plumbing problems in my apartment. And of course there were the problems with the specific pipes that were not correct underneath the sink. Oh, and there was actually a serious problem far down in the drain that really required that it be snaked, something I could not have done myself even if I had tried. Not to mention that there are some other unrelated plumbing problems in the wall that I am told may cause me plumbing problems in the future. The problem cost my landlord a lot of money, took the plumber a lot of time and probably wasn’t even fixed properly for long-term use.

The moral of the story

The point here is that when it comes to plumbing problems, if you are a renter, you should usually just call the landlord. Sure, you can use a plunger on your own toilet and you can try the baking soda in the drain thing when it clogs but don’t even bother with long-term clogs and taking apart pipes. It’s not your job. You pay the rent for the landlord to deal with these things! And I’m certain that if I had really messed something up in my own attempts, my landlord would have been even less happy about the situation!!


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Hester 3 years ago

    Always renirshefg to hear a rational answer.

  • CyndiWright13 profile image

    Cyndi Wright 5 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

    Awesome blog! I enjoyed reading this.

  • profile image

    Yongyue 6 years ago

    Very practical article, thanks for your sharing

  • rockdresses profile image

    rockdresses 6 years ago from Turkey

    To Uninvited Writer - I absolutely understand your feeling!

    Kathryn Vercillo. thanks a lot for your sharing. Very useful!

  • profile image

    Ausseye 6 years ago

    A very draining sorry just kidding. Too much water is always a problem, floods are even worse.

    What struck me about the story was your independence, your spirit to overcome and your reluctance to call in the rich and powerful. Landlords are considered by certain missguided ethics just plain theives, draining our pockets.

    Woops do you see the justice????

  • AHintz profile image

    AHintz 6 years ago

    Coming from a landlord's standpoint, I agree whole-heartedly. You should always call right away when there's a problem. I had a tenant leave a house with a leaking water heater, and the result was a serious mold issue (which he will have to pay for). If he had just called right away we could have fixed it and no problems!

  • breete01 profile image

    breete01 6 years ago from Huntington, IN

    Very informative hub. I just read your testimony on the homepage. Congratulations. Look forward to reading some of your hubs.

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Don't talk to me about apartment building plumbing. My kitchen sink has been plugged 3 times in as many months, and I make sure I don't let anything but liquid go down there. The thing is my pipes are connected to the person next door, they seem to pour grease down the sink and every once in a while they decide to unplug it themselves. That involves some kind of acidy drain cleaner. This succeeds in forcing the block into my pipes and causes my sink to take in all the crud from their drains. I had two sink loads of disgustingly greasy water to drain out of there last month. The plumber did fix it but didn't offer any solutions. I have come home to water pouring out of the sink onto my floor due to this. I have ruined many Saturday or Sunday mornings of the management staff who have to come fix it. Of course it mostly happens on the weekend or holidays...

    The pipes in this building are crap. Needless to say, I will be moving as soon as I can.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent :)

  • Paradise7 profile image

    Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

    Excellent hub! One thing I learned NOT TO DO, EVER! early on, is mix one kind of drain unclogger with a different kind. They work against each other, then you have a REAL problem.

  • moneycop profile image

    moneycop 6 years ago from JABALPUR

    Superb..i think u r preparing for the contest very soon i would also write some......great go gon