As an apartment manager, you may spend a lot of your time responding to tenant concerns and dealing with repairs. Plumbing problems likely make up a big portion of those concerns and repairs, costing you time, money, and perhaps undermining the condition of your property. You can save yourself these headaches by taking some steps to prevent plumbing problems.
Install Drain Screens
Drain screens can protect shower, laundry, and kitchen drains from debris that would otherwise cause a clog. Hair, starchy materials, and other debris won’t get into your pipes, although hot grease and oils may still be a problem.
We suggest you make drain screen permanent, so tenants don’t remove them and defeat their purpose. While some tenants may be annoyed by a permanent drain screen installed in their space, you can remind them of how they benefit from them. For example, they won’t lose jewelry down the drain or have to deal with clogs from hair.
Remove Garbage Disposals
Unfortunately, most people do not use garbage disposals the way they were designed to be used. Instead, they pulse starchy foods like potatoes and bananas, without realizing that these things cause clogs. You can educate your tenants on how they are supposed to be used, but some will decide not to follow your instructions anyway. It may be best just to have garbage disposals removed.
Guide Your Tenants
Clogs, leaks, and other plumbing issues will inevitably happen even with drain screens and without garbage disposals. When they do happen, you want your tenants to come right to you with the problem, instead of trying to fix it themselves or ignoring it. If they do, they could make the problem more expensive to fix.
For example, the longer your tenant ignores pressure problems in their plumbing, the more likely those problems are to do permanent damage to the appliances and plumbing in the property. Or, if your tenant tries to use Drano or other chemicals on the pipes themselves, they could make a slow-moving drain worse or permanently damage your pipes.
So, make sure that your tenants know that you’re always available to hear your concerns about the plumbing in their unit. Respond quickly to avoid them taking matters into their own hands. Even empower them to contact your chosen plumber if you’re unavailable.
Have Regular Inspections
We know it can be hard to schedule inspections when you have tenants in the space. You certainly don’t want to interrupt their enjoyment of the property. Still, it is important to get regular plumbing inspections to save them the bigger hassle of having to deal with a plumbing problem.
If you’re reluctant to let your plumber in while you have tenants, at least have them inspect the plumbing that isn’t in a private space, such as water heaters or shared laundry room drains. Also, work with a plumber who can quickly come in to inspect units after they have been vacated, so that you can address any issues, like a shower repair, before the next tenant comes in.