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Cheap Plumbing Tools Save Big $ ! Plunger, Zip-it, and Drain King

Keep Your Drains Running Free!

There are two tools you need to have to save you BIG on plumbing problems, and tenants need to know this too!

Tenants like to think that all problems are covered by the landlord, but certain problems can rightfully be charged to the tenant when caused by tenant’s misuse. The main problems relate to drain blockages.

Having been a property manager for years, I’ve seen it all, and have had many a service call for blocked drains. Since plumbers rates start at well over $100 per hour (with a minimum charge) we are talking real money here. I’ll spare you the gory details of what people tried to send down the drain, without luck.

The drain-blockage policy of The Rental Source and other property management companies, is as follows:
“Drain blockages occurring after move-in, that are not caused by an inherent, pre-existing condition of the drains, caused by inappropriate use of drains, shall be the responsibility of the tenant to repair.”

If a building is old and plumbing has not been upgraded nor maintained well, blockages can happen frequently and many times are not the user’s fault. Old drains get sludge build-up that narrows the drainways that are easy clog candidates. But other times, people put things down the drain that should not be there, that cause clogs: cotton swabs (Q-tips), baby wipes, tampons, hair, paper towels, dirt from potted plants, etc..

WONDER TOOLS AND TIPS: Plunger, Zip-It, and Drain King

Ok, if you’re a tenant you’re probably grumbling about the idea of paying for a plumber or trying to fix it on your own.maybe having to pay to clear the drain. Same goes for the owner….nobody wants to spend money on this dirty work! But when you are obligated to pay, you will want to save money. Take special note of these cheap plumbing tools that you should have in your arsenal for that time when a drain is clogged.

Plunger. Many times a plunger will do the job for a clogged toilet or a sink drain. It is too often that we get calls from a tenant who has a clogged toilet that they can’t fix with a plunger, but many times they gave up too soon or weren’t doing it right. Try filling the toilet bowl almost to the top (but not overflowing!), and THEN start pumping. The extra weight of the water will help push down the obstruction. Keep at it, and usually it will go down. If it doesn’t, it could be something fell into the toilet that needs to be removed with a snake or toilet removal. In that case, the call to the plumber may be in order.

Zip-It. (need to provide link) This is a trade name for a very simple device made of plastic that costs about $3 and probably costs five cents to manufacture. It is a long strip, about 18” long, made of semi-flexible plastic with many barbs along its length. Since many drain blockages in tubs and bathroom sinks are from hair, the Zip-it is simply for pulling out hair. You stick it in as deep as it goes (you might have to wiggle it around a bit or twist it as you go). After it is in, pull it out slowly, and you may bring with you a trail of hair that will amaze you (how did all that hair get in there?) Don’t wait, buy one now for the next time, and you won’t have to call a plumber or your property manager, and maybe end up paying for a plumber!

Drain King. (need to provide link) Again, this is a trade name, but this is a brilliant invention, simple to use, and cheap (about ten bucks, and you can use it over and over). It looks like a little black rubber stick, about 5 to 10 inches long, depending on the drain size you need it for. It has a female garden hose connector on one side, and a little hole on the other side. You need a garden hose and a place to connect it to a cold water supply (a garden hose spigot or a cold water supply to a washing machine will do).

Connect the male end of the hose to the Drain King, stick it into the affected drain, and then turn the water on, making sure the DK is securely in the drain so it doesn’t pop out. THen, turn on the water full-force. What happens is DK fills up like a balloon, with creates a seal within the pipe, and then it pulsates water in the direction of the drain blockage. DK has succeeded where many a plumber has failed, and now most plumbers keep these in their tool box as an alternative.

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Proper Move-in and Move-out Procedure Eliminates Grief

One of the most important aspects of property management is the Move-in and the Move-out. This is an area where, if handled improperly, great disagreements can come.

If money were not an issue, there would be no problem. But when a tenant is charged for cleaning or damages upon move out, charges they do not agree with, there can be a problem. If the tenant is NOT charged upon move out, and then some expense is made to repair or clean the property, that means the landlord pays. The landlord will say, “why am I paying for this; it should have been charged to the tenant!”

So this is the squeeze that the property manager gets in, and it is a no-win situation. This is why doing a proper Move-in and Move-out Walkthrough Inspection is so very important.

The main point of the move-in inspection is to document the condition of the premises, because later, upon move out, there will be a comparison, and that is where the tenant may be charged for issues that are beyond normal wear and tear.

As a property manager, my belief is that there is no way to exactly document the condition of the premises upon move-in or move-out, but you have to do your very best. You can have video cameras, 12 wise men and women, digital photos, etc, but still something can come up. The point is you have to do the best you can with what tools you have to document and agree, between tenant and property manager, what the condition is upon move in, and the comparative condition upon move-out.

Tools to Note the Condition.

Mutual understanding, completing checklist; additional notes.

Unforeseen issues, conflict resolution

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The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Tenants

Being a residential landlord can be an honest, rewarding profession, whereby housing is provided and rent is received. Communications are cordial, rent is paid on time, and routine maintenance requests are received with solutions provided.

With certain tenants, Landlording can be a hellish, torturous experience. Collecting rent becomes a chore, lease compliance is a joke. You, as landlord, are framed as a greedy parasite power-monger. Requests for repairs are delivered with a theme that your property is faulty and you are a neglectful and uncaring landlord with a shoddy property, even if it is in top condition.

The “people element” is the most important aspect of the three elements of property management: people, property, and money, and certain tenants can cause grief and your undoing.

Good and Bad Tenants Defined.

A great tenant is such a gift. Your life, as landlord, will be so much easier, and you can feel good about what you do, with a good tenant. What makes a great tenant? In the perfect world such a tenant can be described as considerate and respectful, pays the rent on time and in full, compliant with the rules of the lease, and is a good human being.

When something goes wrong, they bring it to your attention without drama, in a helpful manner.

A more negative perception of a tenant is one who is unfriendly, disruptive to the premises,

GETTING GOOD TENANT “GOING IN”; be careful in your screening

QUALIFIED is the key word


Sufficient income
Good credit
Landlord reference (earlier, not current)
Not a chronic complainer

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Landlording Vs The Internet: and

Few things bring such joy than having lovely people visiting in your home. Also wonderful is visiting people in their homes, in faraway lands, seening their amazing cities and towns, and doing it all affordably! This is how it should be.

Where there is a will (and the internet) there is a way, and that way is either AirBnB .com or . Through the advent of the web, you can rent out your home, apartment or living room, on the cheap, through a worldwide network of subscribers. Make a little mad money and maybe meet a new friend!

Air BnB (as in bed-and-breakfast), and couchsurfing (as in sleeping on the couch), for those who are new to this, make a lot of sense. As long as you don’t get a criminal type hanging out in your home, a small percentage possibility, this can be a good way to make a few bucks, and to have perhaps an interesting guest visiting you.

For the visitor, he or she gets an accommodation that is affordable with maybe a built-in insider’s introduction to an otherwise unfamiliar environment. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

This is great….uh….if the person bringing in the guest is the homeowner. But if it is a rental, now the property manager in me comes out, so let’s break it down. “If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck….it is a __________.” I smell “SUBLETTING”!!

In the landlord-tenant venue, accommodations are provided, and rent received. There are rules attached to this arrangement, contained in a Lease. There is a trade-off: rent provides for certain services, within limits. A specified number of occupants use the premises, expend a certain amount of utilities, and generate a certain, expected amount of wear and tear.

A landlord has a certain expectation from the tenant. The rent is established based on the ability of the tenant to pay, certain anticipated expenses, an understood number of feet pattering on the floor. The landlord has a right to rely upon some predictability to control expenses, wear and tear, and the managability of the property.

One could quibble about the fairness of allowing or denying a legitimate guest to stay in a rented home or apartment. Most leases have clauses stating a maximum time for overnight guests. However, when money is exchanged for the accommodations, then it certainly appears to be subletting, and such subletting without the permission of the landlord would normally be a violation of the lease terms, and grounds for termination of the lease.