The dreaded phone call comes in that your tenant has a clogged toilet at 8pm at night. What now? So you scurry over to your rental property to determine if you can fix it. You check it out, maybe even try to plunge it. Nothing happens, still a slow drain and a gurgling noise. At this point you have wasted over an hour of your time, time that you should be spending elsewhere.
You shrug your shoulders and tell your tenant you will call a plumber as they will need to snake the drain. Giving your tenant the benefit of the doubt that there are likely roots in the main line which is causing the gurgling. You finally get a hold of a plumber that will be there sometime tomorrow between the hours of 1 and 4 pm… and you need to be there to authorize work. Ugh! Now what?
So you take the afternoon off of work and wait for the 30 minute courtesy call that they are on their way. You get the call! You head over to the rental property and meet the plumber, the tenant says that the slow drain and the gurgling is still happening. The plumber looks for the clean-out, but can’t find it and you aren’t sure where it is. So the plumber goes to the roof with his snake. 30 minutes later he comes down with a child’s small toy that had been flushed down the toilet. OK, not great, but at least it’s fixed for a couple of hundred dollars and not tree roots. The plumber goes back inside to test the toilet and comes back out with bad news… still won’t flush!
So now the plumber says, do you want me to pull the toilet? That’s another charge. You shrug your shoulders and say yes, because what else are you going to do. The plumber takes his snake inside and pulls the toilet. He starts his snake and out comes a headless child’s doll covered in toilet paper from about 1 foot down the pipe.
Now the plumber comes back out and says, here is what I found. Since the toilet is off do you want me to camera the drain in the case there are more items down there. Of course you say yes, cause if he puts the toilet back then has to come back to do it that is another charge.
Plumber comes back out and says the camera showed nothing else is in the drain. You sigh and he fills out his paperwork along with charges of around $300-400. He puts in his report the issues and the apparent abuse caused by the tenant. You ask him to put as much detail in the report as possible so that you can charge back to the tenant, and he obliges and says good luck with that.
At this point you are into this little project for over 4 hours of your time, half a day off work spent standing outside of your rental, and a few hundred dollars because your tenant’s child decided they didn’t want their toys anymore.
And people say Property Management is to expensive.
Granted you still probably would have paid the plumber, but at a discounted rate. The soft costs are your time, energy, paid time off, and the stress of the situation.