Adventures in Landlording – The “Leak”

Welcome to my new (and hopefully sporadic 😉 ) series, Adventures in Landlording.

Anyone who has ever been a landlord knows unexpected issues occasionally arise.  Wearing my landlord hat, I personally have dealt with 3 am lockouts, bounced checks, plumbing issues, fire issues (it was actually a pizza that set fire in the oven while my tenant was passed out on the couch), and broken appliances.  There is no way to guard yourself against said issues so it’s best to be in the mindset of rolling with them.  Of course, you can mitigate your personal impact by hiring a management company to handle your properties, but what fun would that be?!

The “Leak”

It’s been a few years since I’ve been a landlord but I am happy to see not much has changed.  Only 2 weeks in with my new tenant and the adventures have already begun…

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Yup – with this one text it was obvious we were both going to have a case of The Monday’s.

After assessing where the water was coming from, I called my plumber to give him the scoop.  Luckily, he was nearby and not busy because as my conversation with my tenant continued I gathered that her original “leak” was more of a cascade…

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My tenant sent me this blurry image but what is clear is that the towel is soaked.

This pic was taken after she tried to slow it down with tape.  Tape.  Like, packing tape.

Mind you, I just painted the bathroom (including the baseboards behind the toilet) a mere 3 weeks ago, getting deep down and personal with the back of that toilet, and I can assure you there was not a single spot of water in that area.  I was a bit perplexed at how things could go from dry to soaked in a matter of weeks but, then again, you never know!  Crazy shit happens.

When my plumber called an hour later he let me know the real cause of the leak.  Apparently my tenant was trying to install a bidet.  Now, I am all for cleanliness, but you should really know what the fuck you are doing before screwing around with the plumbing (and electricity for that matter).  Her first downfall was not turning off the water supply.  The second was not realizing that her connection was the wrong size.  Both rookie mistakes but forgivable, after all, much of what I know was learned through trial and error (mostly error 😉 ).

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The Lux Bidet Neo 120 (Elite Series) is a surefire way to keep you feeling clean as a whistle.* 😉

After the conversation with my plumber, I was told there would be no lasting damage and he informed me that she likely wouldn’t be trying her hand at plumbing in the future after he gave her a stern talking to about the dangers of winging it on others plumbing.  I have a feeling she understands that wet wipes are a better way to go for that fresh clean feeling.

Regardless, crisis averted.  Or so I thought.  Let’s never forget that shit water trickles down…

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Fuck.  I responded back to Kevin on the third floor (isn’t he the nicest?!) and let him know the “leak” was now fixed and we would be taking care of any NEW damage to his property.  Side note on Kevin:

Unfortunately for Kevin, this is not the first go around with water issues from my condo.  Before I bought my place in 2014, the prior tenants had some kind of plumbing leak that caused damage to the ceiling in Kevin’s bathroom. The former owner of my unit fixed the issue but not the damage.  For 4 years, Kevin has had a hole in the ceiling of his bathroom (which explains why I can hear him singing in the mornings and why I also smell cigarette smoke ancologne when his roommate is in their bathroom getting ready).

I had no knowledge of this past issue until Kevin brought it up to me a year or so ago.  Had I known, I would have made sure the former owner paid for the damage prior to closing on the unit.  But that wasn’t the case.  Also, Kevin is a tenant and his landlord has never contacted me regarding the previous issue or any agreement with the former owner.  At this point, I feel bad but I know that it is not my responsibility.  I did, however, ask for a photo of his ceiling for future reference but he has yet to send it.   No one seems all that concerned to get it fixed so why should I be?

While waiting for Kevin to get home and access the damage for himself (his roommate had originally alerted him), I was contacted yet again.  This time by the building management.  Apparently, the second floor unit had called the managements emergency hotline to alert them to a leak in her bathroom (directly 2 floors down from mine).  Water was dripping from her light fixture on to the floor.

Seriously???

After contacting the 2nd floors owner, I got his tenants information so I could deal with her directly.  I told her the leak was now fixed, asked her to send me a pic of any damage, and assured her we would take care of it immediately.

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Again, not a great shot but indeed there is water dripping from the light fixture.

Thankfully, there was no damage to the ceiling though the light didn’t fair so well as the fixture seemed to burn out. We decided the best thing to do was wait for it to dry and then assess the damage.  A new light fixture is one thing, new electrical another.

In the meantime, Kevin returned home to update me on his situation.  His roommate had already cleaned the water on the ground and vanity and there looked to be no further damage.  Apparently it pays to keep a hole in your ceiling for 4+ years (though I am not so sure the spider factor would be worth it for me -yuck!).

 black and white horror photography scary spider GIF

Days went by while we waited out the fixture in the second floor unit and today, 1 week later, I got the email I had been hoping for:

Screenshot 2017-09-18 at 8.35.43 AM - Edited

What a relief!!!

There are many valuable lessons to be learned from this experience:

  1. If you are going to install a bidet, make sure the connection is the right size and TURN THE FUCKING WATER OFF before disconnecting.
  2. If you are to have a leak, make sure tenant below has a hole in their ceiling so as not to damage their unit.
  3.  Packing tape does not fix plumbing issues
  4. If you have to call a plumber, make sure said plumber accepts beer as payment.  😉

Not a bad outcome for my tenant’s first emergency call.  I am hoping not to hear from her again for at least another month.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!!

** Are you a landlord?  What interesting emergency calls have you received?  Tenant??  What interesting calls have you made (the more shameful the better!)? Let’s chat in the comments below! **

Until next time…

*Shameless affiliate link but I know you were hoping for a visual…and your very own bidet!  Any income earned goes directly back to the running of this blog so THANK YOU in advance for your support Xoxo, Miss Mazuma

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43 thoughts on “Adventures in Landlording – The “Leak”

  1. fierymillennials

    I’m dealing with a leak too. My tenant downstairs let me know the gasket under the kitchen sink went bad and is now leaking. He would normally fix it himself, but can’t do that this time due to the fact he has no right knee. So I’m going to be his eyes and hands for the fix as he tells me what to do! For now, he uses the other side of the sink and has a bucket under the leak. Landlording is a lot of fun.

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    1. Oh girl, I know you are in the middle of the rookie crash course. It sucks!! You’ve had more happen in the past 6 months than most will ever have to deal with…including the last suspicious activity I am hoping soon get’s resolved. Besides that, that t-bone had to be the most disgusting thing EVER (including my having to clean my tenants crusty puke off the toilet). Gross!!

      It is nice to know you have at least one responsible tenant in your place. With his brains you are going to get the best lesson you can get – DIY with guidance. Take notes in the event I ever need you to to come fix a leaky gasket! 🙂

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  2. TheRetirementManifesto

    Installing their own bidet in a rental unit? Crazy! The worst we had is when we were renting our vacation cabin and the neighbor called to complain the weekend renters were shooting guns off our deck! Gotta love mountain living! I never asked which way they were aiming…..

    We considered keeping our “Good” cabin as a rental after we did Downsize #2 into “Great”, but decided the hassle wasn’t worth the income – we want freedom post-FIRE, and have chosen to “simplify”. Good luck with the rental, looking forward to the (infrequent) series!

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    1. Haha – if they were shooting guns in my city hood that’s just a normal day!!

      The hassle is definitely an issue, though I am a bit farther behind you on the FI train. I’m happy to endure the hassle for an extra chunk of change each month. When it get’s to be a real pain in the ass I will gladly sell. Fingers crossed you don’t see another post in this series for a while!!

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  3. This is exactly the reason I left being a landlord. I thought I was smart and joined real estate crowdfunding – passive real estate ownership. And then Hurricane Irma came barreling through and 3% of my portfolio was exposed to her wrath. Still waiting to hear about the ultimate damage.

    When times are good in real estate, they are good; when they are bad, it is of biblical proportions. But I can’t seem to stay away from it.

    Good luck with everything. I am very much looking forward to this new series (and not just because it isn’t me anymore. HA!).

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    1. Tough break!! And you are sooooo right. When times are good, you could never believe you will one day be in 500k mortgage debt with no tenants in site…yet at one point there I stood. Haha – we all get wrapped up in he game and sometimes forge the rules can change at any minute.

      This time around I have learned my lesson regarding mortgages (this property was bought with cash), but kind of forgot about the tenant aspect. I hope for my sake that this series is weak with few posts but, if I do have to write them, they are sure to entertain. I mean, really? You didn’t shut off the water?? Oy vey…

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  4. Dude. Your tenant isn’t the brightest Crayon in the box. Why would you try to install a bidet when you don’t know what you’re doing, let alone in a property that you don’t own?? I would at least have run it past, y’know, my landlord. Sheesh.

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    1. For real, girl. And she JUST moved in. I ‘m gearing up for a wild ride this year. Or maybe she will consult a professional next time around. Hard to say. To be on the safe side, I am sending her butt wipes for Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh wow! That is so annoying. Sounds like she should have asked before doing that! I remember once several years back I was taking a shower and really in the middle of the shampoo phase when the water just stopped. I could barely see at I got a towel and tried to find out what was happening. My next door neighbor just took it upon herself to shut off the water without checking in on anyone else because she has a plumber come over to “re-route” some sprinkler lines so it benefited her most. Some people just do not think! Glad it didn’t turn out to be that bad! As a tenant, I will try to be thoughtful of such things.

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    1. Oh my – that sucks!! Mid wash… Brutal. We have to schedule it with management if the building water needs to be shut off. It’s such a process but for good reason!! Thankfully, that wasn’t required this time around…she would have only had to turn off the toilet pipe!

      I have to say, I think I preferred this call over the one where my tenant couldn’t change the light bulb…seriously. Who are these people and where were they raised??

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  6. OMG, sending her butt wipes for Christmas is hilarious! But seriously, a DYI Bidet with no plumbing experience, immediately after you move in? I guess if that’s what you need to feel at home, lol.

    This is why I have no interest in being a landlord or having any sort of rental properties. I’m sure when it’s great, it’s great. I just read too many of these types of probs to convince me it’s worth it. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more of these, but I hope for your sake, there aren’t any more.

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    1. I am certainly hoping the reward is greater than the risk at this point. If not, I’ll be happy to write about the crazy so everyone can bare witness of my plummet to insanity. 🙂

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  7. I’ve got an entry posting Monday about our landlording experience over the past two years. We haven’t had anything this bad maintenance-wise, luckily! I think water is the cause of most rental miseries. We only have two units and there’s a guy with some plumbing experience in one of them, so I can enlist him for minor things! I’m glad we also have tenants who let us know before they make any change to a unit, no matter how minor.

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    1. Isn’t it nice to have a plumber handy?! I can fix a few things but a large part is beyond my scope. Tenants who respect your property are hard to come by but when you get one you hold on for dear life! I had a girl who didn’t call me once the whole year and when she came to re-sign I granted her a rent decrease because i didn’t want to lose her! I look forward to your post on Monday. 🙂

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  8. ChooseBetterLife

    Oh man! Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission, so I see where your tenant was coming from and you could have ended up with a nifty new bidet in your unit, but she forgot the part about watching 10 youtube videos FIRST. Hope this was the worst you have to deal with.

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    1. Haha – I know!! I couldn’t even be mad after all the shit I have tried (unsuccessfully) over the years. Only difference is that it was my unit I was mutilating, not someone else’s. I have to give her credit, she played it cool with the “leak” business. 😂 I’m hoping she consults YouTube next go around.

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  9. I don’t even want to jinx myself by writing that we haven’t had any maintenance issues in the last few years! (I’m sure I just doomed us by that…) Great story – and wow do water issues suck! I’m not sure what she was thinking trying to screw with the plumbing herself. I think she lucked out. It could have been a HUGE problem. Good thing she contacted you pretty quick!

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  10. Oh wow, that’s much more complicated than anything I’ve had to date knock wood

    We’ve had weird minor things, and one major thing with a random trespasser who somehow had a key to the house! But nothing as extensive as this. Is it kosher to install something as big as a bidet (vs plugging in a fan, say) without prior approval?

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    1. That’s scary…someone with the key?! I know it’s smart to change your locks but how often do people really do that??

      I guess I never thought about putting a rider or clause in the lease to say “no bidet installation without permission”. Shoot – I wonder what else I left out! Next tenant is going to have a HUGE list of items not to do. 😉

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  11. Hahahaha .. ha.. Yep, I know all about these little gems. If you’ve been a landlord for more than a couple years, shit happens. I’m a bit worried about our new condo since it’s a second floor unit. But god help me if anyone in an Airbnb F’s with the water supply lines!

    Keep at it – you’re making a shit load of money while gathering funny anecdotes for your blog. Let the whiners whine about how hard it is to manage a house. It’s not really that big of a deal – that can be our little lanlording secret!

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    1. My favorite was when my old tenant called me (not 911) because their was a fire in her apartment. The fire was from a pizza she put in the oven, then passed out drunk on the couch. She woke to a ton of smoke, not knowing what happened, and called me to put it out. Come on!!! Thankfully I lived in the building at the time. What an idiot.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. First off, thanks for that spider GIF…perfect way to wake up on a Saturday morning 😉 I’m such a wuss when it comes to spiders!
    Happy to hear the “leak” didn’t end up with a huge bill to fix everyone else’s damage, but still, what a hassle.
    I’ve never been a landlord (stuff like this is exactly why not), but I have been a tenant. The worst thing we had was a back-up that came flooding up into our bath-tub. It wasn’t actually us, it was a blockage in the main line a couple of floors down. But I felt terrible because our landlord was super pregnant with twins and hardly needed that to deal with. Luckily we had an amazing maintenance guy at that building and he basically sent us out for the afternoon and we came back to a fixed and cleaned up place.
    Hopefully it’s smooth sailing for you for a while now!

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    1. I should have put a “BEWARE – Spiders Lurking” sign at the front of this post. My apologies. 🙂

      Totally a hassle but I am happy it turned out. You sound like you had an experience like poor Kevin. Not much you can do as a tenant when your landlord is disposed. I mean, you would think in 4+ years his landlord would have fixed the ceiling but, you know, all in good time. 😉

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  13. My upstairs neighbor’s water connection to the fridge leaked one morning – my smoke alarm started crackling alarm noise at 6am with water dripping out. Their apartment was flooded. They didn’t let maintenance know that it happened. A couple days later I turn on my dining room ceiling lights/fan and it started smoking! Ya, the water caused a short. Maintenance fixed that.

    Glad all went way better than expected! And hopefully that stern talking to from the plumber did the trick.

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    1. Yikes!! Water and electric are a deadly combo. I told my tenant we aren’t out of the woods yet. The damage from this leak may rear it’s dirty head at some point. For now, we seem to be in the clear. Thank goodness for quick plumbers with a knack for educating!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is precisely why we are shying away from home ownership. I’d much rather be the idiot installing the bidet… Not cleaning up the mess behind it.

    But sure, Have fun with that. Luckily you didn’t have to bother with damage to other peoples stuff. I know my parents had a lower floor condo as a rental property, and an upper unit had an issue. They had to deal with both the upper person who didn’t get it fixed, and their tenant that wanted it all fixed. What a mess… So, yeah, renting it is for us!!

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    1. Don’t you dare try it, mister. I’ll send my plumber out there to kick your ass!

      I wonder what the plumbing will be like in Ecuador… 😉 I want to hear ALL about the Chautauqua!!!

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  15. Tina

    So glad this worked out for you this time. This just confirms that we Sleep better now that we are not landlords anymore.

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  16. Sounds like a story you are going to remember and tell in the future. I remember when I signed my lease at my last apartment, it had about 30 prohibited scenarios that I thought were outrageous. No ways was I going to own a water bed, or install some ridiculous thing in our apartment, and so on. But I guess this is just another reason why you have to be cautious. If I am ever a landlord, I will make sure to add “No Bidets” in the lease haha

    I cannot wait to continue reading this series. If it is like this episode, I can only imagine what is going to be thrown your way haha

    Bert

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    1. Damn – I need a better lease… I am going up to WI to check out a new property next week. I figure, since I am already dealing with crazy, I may as well double down!! 😉

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  17. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    I can’t believe your tenant tried to install a bidet when they self-admittedly didn’t even know what the shutoff valve was called. Man, this series might talk me out of ever becoming a landlord. I think I could deal with the financial implications of messes like this but the sheer annoyance I have from even just reading this is a good indicator that my tolerance level would be low for irresponsibility from tenants 🙂

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    1. I think after all the real estate trauma I have already been through, this was so silly I couldn’t even be mad. Public shame worthy, yes, but angry, not so much. Now, if we continue this way, I may have to reevaluate this situation! I am sure to keep you posted. Again, most of my stories and lessons come from what not to do. I am happy to be the guinea pig for all!

      Like

  18. Pingback: The Money Pit: A Cautionary Tale | abandoned cubicle

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