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Your Rental Housing Solution Since 2004 866.579.2262

by Robert Griswold

Q: My sister lives on disability and recently hired a plumber to clear a stopped drain in her shower. The plumber said it was a hair clog and sent the landlord a bill for $137. The landlord turned around and sent the bill and a letter to my sister demanding that she pay because it was her fault. Who’s responsible for the bill?

A: Many tenants are aware of the concept that their landlord cannot make deductions from their security deposit for items that are normal wear and tear. So I am sure that you and your sister are thinking that hair in the shower is part of normal wear and tear.

Well, that is debatable.

Another way to look at it is that a shower drain clog can be avoided with a little care such as a hair trap over the drain rather than just letting the hair go down the drain and build up over time till the only solution is to call a plumber for an expensive service call.

Your sister could also use products to keep the drain clean on a preventive maintenance basis. Remember that regular cleaning and proper use of the rental home is the responsibility of the tenant.

This column on issues confronting tenants and landlords is written by property manager Robert Griswold, author of “Property Management for Dummies” and “Property Management Kit for Dummies” and co-author of “Real Estate Investing for Dummies.” E-mail your questions to Rental Q&A at
Questions should be brief and cannot be answered individually.
Copyright 2010 Inman News

See Robert Griswold’s feature, The Unfair Late Fee.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your commercial housing investment, including real estate forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

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