Landlords Of Young Adults: 3 Things To Make Sure Your Tenants Know About Sinks

Posted on: 13 January 2017

If you are delving into the world of being a landlord, it's crucial for you to realize that some of your tenants may be new at adulting and, therefore, may need some instructions on how to properly take care of a rental unit. Unfortunately, these types of life lessons usually are not taught in schools and may not get enough attention on the home front due to the hustle and bustle lifestyle in recent years.

What this may mean to you as their landlord is water damage from a plumbing disaster due to the misuse of a sink, for example. Here are a few things to make sure your tenants know about sinks.

Inspect the cabinet regularly for water damage

Typically, the interior of the cabinets underneath sinks is out of sight and out of mind. Unless you store daily-use items underneath a sink, you may not open the cabinet door for an extended period of time. This could easily mean that a water leak underneath the sink can go unnoticed for a long time. By the time the leak is discovered, there could be significant water damage and mold growth.

Make it a habit to check underneath each sink for water damage. Look for obvious water droplets and/or puddled water. Also, pay close attention to the finish of the cabinetry to watch for any changes that can be caused by water and/or moisture. One way to keep a regular schedule going is to ask your tenant to do these spot checks underneath each sink when the rent is due.

Never ever pour grease down the drain

It's tempting to pour grease down the drain, even when you know why it shouldn't be done. But if you aren't aware of the damage pouring grease down a drain could cause, you might do so in a heartbeat. It's simply easier and often faster. For this reason, it is crucial for you to inform your tenants to not pour grease down their drains. The grease could very easily cause a hard-to-remove clog, which could result in the drain lines backing up into the apartment and creating a stinky, hazardous, and costly mess, particularly from the toilet(s). 

This can be very expensive to deal with, which is why some landlords consider including an addendum to the lease that specifically states, "Do NOT pour grease down drains." It's something to consider if your tenants will mostly be young and out on their own for the first time in their lives. If you do include this clause in your lease agreements, consider also adding that tenants will be responsible for all costs associated with grease removal if grease is discovered in the drains. This would mean you would need to have the drains thoroughly cleaned in between each tenant. 

Do not let the drain trap under the sink dry out 

Sometimes, tenants don't end up using sinks as often as you would think they would. Perhaps they are so busy with schooling, employment, and/or socializing that they only use the apartment to have somewhere to sleep. Or they simply are not interested in cooking, which means the kitchen sink will likely get very little usage. 

This could cause the water in the drain traps to dry up, which in turn would cause sewer gas to enter into the living quarters of the apartment. Make sure your tenants are aware of this. All they would need to do is run the water for several seconds until the trap is filled. Occasionally remind them to use the sinks so enough water remains in the traps to prevent sewer gas from escaping through the trap.