From the Forum – Multi unit building – plumbing leak, charging tenants

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Multi unit building – plumbing leak, charging tenants

“I live in a row house with one unit on the first and second floors and another unit in the basement. I share the top unit with two female craigslist roommates. A single male has lived in the basement for at least 6 months. A week ago, the basement unit flooded, and the plumbing company indicated it was due to the rains. They “fixed” it, but it seems to have flooded again a few days later. The plumber snaked the pipes and found tampons, which I thought everyone knew could not be flushed, especially in an old row house with ancient plumbing. Our property management company now wants to send us the bill for the second clean up and emergency call. One roommate and I don’t even use tampons, and the caveat is that the third just moved out a couple days ago, and she is not responding to our emails.

My question is the following: can the property management company bill us for an issue in shared pipes, because the basement tenant is a single male? I’ve lived in this house for 2 years without plumbing issues, and it’s suspicious that this incident is so closely following the rain-induced incident.”

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16 Comment

  • they should check the connection to the street. I’m not sure the technical term, but I think it might be backflow protectors. They may be broken or just missing.

  • They can certainly try to bill you, and even if it were your fault, how the heck would they prove it?

    The single male could have had guests or visiting female relatives. And what about the tenants in the first floor unit?

  • This happened to someone I know. Their lease said the tenant is responsible for any plumbing issues that were the result of things being flushed down the toilet that shouldn’t be (including tampons). They ended up having to pay for it.

    • Our lease is like this and we had to pay the plumbers’ fee last fall, as our pipe between the house and the sewer was blocked by sanitary napkins. None of the current female residents used sanitary napkins, but we’ve had many roommates, subletters, and visitors over the years. Our landlord charged us the fee to snake the pipe.
      Such a clause is fairly common when you’re renting an entire row house. It’s just a matter of time and dumb luck before the pipe eventually clogs.

  • In addition to the above, who’s to tell that these were recently flushed and not built up over a period of years?

    • Exactly. Sounds like it’s just speculation on the part of the landlord. And also it sure sounds like those tampons were doing their job of stopping flow.

  • Woah, I had no idea you couldn’t flush tampons. Woops.

    • You shouldn’t flush them in a row house will old/narrow pipes. You should be fine flushing them in large office buildings and large apartment buildings with powerful modern systems and larger pipe capacity.

      • I don’t think this is a true statement. I’ve been in many bathrooms over the years, and most of the time there is a sign posted not to dispose of sanitary products through the plumbing – whether a restaurant in an old row home or in a large office building. That’s why there are trash containers inside the stalls.

        • Yeah, technically anything beyond toilet paper is asking for trouble in the long run. Of course, I once rented from a crazy relative who believed that TP was evil and clogged her drains and insisted that I bag it rather than flush it.

        • Everyone knows (or should know) that maxi pads should not be flushed, but the packaging on tampons claims that they’re flushable. The chief reason that there are trash containers in toilet stalls is for the disposal of pads, pantyliners, tampon applicators, etc.
          It wasn’t until reading the recent New York Times article on “flushable” wipes (and how they shouldn’t really be flushed, despite the claims of their manufacturers) that I started wondering whether tampons were really as flushable as the manufacturers claim.
          Given the fact that tampon manufacturers claim that they’re flushable, it would be wise for restaurants, etc. that don’t want their patrons to flush them to specifically name them in their “don’t flush X” signage — e.g., “Please do not flush sanitary napkins, tampons, etc.”

      • Yeah… don’t do that either. It’s bad for the sewer system as a whole. It’s really not that difficult to throw them away.

    • Just a bad idea all around, even if they safely leave the building. Google “fatberg” sometime. Tampons, paper towels and those not-so-flushable wet wipes wreak havoc on municipal sewer systems.

      • Emmaleigh504

        Kleenex are bad too. Apparently since the are meant to be a shield between nose contents and hands they don’t break down properly in the sewage system.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Diva Cup is the solution!

  • Without DNA testing, I don’t see how the landlord can hold your apartment is responsible — as others have pointed out, the items might have been flushed years ago, and/or they might have been flushed by visitors/guests of the downstairs occupant.
    In addition, given that tampon manufacturers claim that their product is flushable, I don’t think the landlord can hold you responsible unless you were given specific directions (either in the lease or in other guidance) not to flush tampons. If it were maxi pads that created the clog, that would be a different story.

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