Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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Indebted and So Grateful, Vacuum Out the Fluids

So what's happened with the dispute with my landlord?

I need the $15,- unit tax and the roto-rooter bill asap.

Roto-rooter: I left the bill on your desk. The clog was at 4' from the overflow/drain. He took out a lot of black [h]air, very compacted.

Advice from the plumber: <<clean the drain cover everyday. Keep the whole tub clean. Make an effort, and you will be rewarded. Do not make an effort and you provide more work for me, thank you.&rt;&rt;

I am not a great "clean-clean" guy, but - come to think of it - I have never had a clogged drain in my bathtub in 25 years that I lived here. I am - by no means - a "good" example, in the sense that I am a messy guy (probably much worse than most). But I am careful with the drains and the garbage disposal as well - not because I am virtuous, but just because I cannot afford the plumber's bills.
Well, it looked like he hadn't magically changed his mind, so it was time to once again, in another deliberately out-of-character act, be assertive, b-e assertive. Or at least pull a Henry Clay.

I put the $15 unit tax check in the box in the laundry room on 1/31, and it was deposited on 2/4 according to my bank account.

Regarding the Roto-Rooter bill, I am still very confused and uncomfortable about the situation. In my experience and the experience of every single person I have talked to—including my next-door neighbor Neil—the landlord takes care of unclogging drains. All that I have read about the landlord-tenant code in California also says that plumbling [sic] blockages are the landlord's responsibility unless the tenant has been grossly negligent or willfully destructive, which I have not been. I have only engaged in normal use, and I have already been following the plumber's advice! I do clean the drain cover every day, since hair tends to accumulate there after a while, and I do clean the whole tub regularly. You saw the cleaning solution right there. The clog was four feet down the drain, which would be impossible for me to get at and clean. I have lived in several places over the years and done less than I've done here, and I haven't had a clogged drain until now.

I do not feel that I have "allowed the plumbing to become filthy," and you do not feel that the pipes themselves played any part. Since neither of us will take full responsibility, I propose this solution: we simply split the bill 50/50. I ask for this in good faith, from one reasonable man to another. In return, I will be even more diligent than I already have been so that we do not have to deal with this issue in the future. Some friends have given me a few good tips on keeping the drain clean. Perhaps you can tell me your secret as well!

I hope you will accept my offer. If you still want me to pay the bill in full, I have 30 days, according to the invoice, and I will use that time to consult tenants' rights groups and get some legal advice to make sure we are handling the situation properly and interpreting the rules and regulations correctly. If the law says I should pay, then of course I will pay, but I want to have no doubts.
I was very antsy afterward, hoping he wouldn't flip out and overreact in a crazy way. There was so much I didn't say in my e-mail, like how I felt railroaded into the Roto-Rooter resolution when I could have tried to fix the drain myself and how his plumber totally made the issue worse than it was to begin with.

(1) Thanks for the payment for the unit tax.

(2) As far as the roto-rooter bill is concerned, I would not have asked you to pay it if I thought there was any doubt that it should be paid by you. "Negligence" may be the legal word but I find this embarrassing to tell a tenant he/she is "negligent" for not cleaning his/her bath tub. You do what you want in your place - that is your "castle".

Look, the way to see it is "The law says = Cleaning is tenant's problem, fixing wear & tear is Owner;s problem."

The rotorooter found the clog at 4'. That means it belongs to you. And I have saved the hairs that were part of the clog. In case you want to examine them..

If Rotorooter had found a clog at a long distance and if another adjacent tenant had experienced a clog simultaneously (i.e. the clog was in a common drain pipe) then it is the owner's responsibility to pay the bill. The plumbers know that. That's why they indicate the distance.

(3) If a clogging problem develops after tenant's movein and in a relatively short time, then there is a question as to the responsibility of Owner and previous tenant. That is why I routinely have an inspection of the plumbing & drains when a tenant leaves. I think this is what you heard when you say the Owner should pay for cleaning drains clogged by tenants. Also, at time of movein, there is a check of all drains (again) to verify that the situation is clean. Also, I ask the new tenant to give me - within 30 days - a list of things they noticed in the place that could need improvements or that require repairs.

(4) As far as our splitting the bill, that would be reasonable if there was any reason for thinking that the cause could come from - say - the previous tenant. How long have you been in this place? It is not reasonable. Another reason would be the drain pipes are rusty and falling apart. Believe me, when that happens, I order replacement (which I did a few years ago in your place, as [my plumber] discovered). The pipes are not guilty. The hairs are guilty and we caught them. But you can have your expert look at them from below, as we did.

=>> As you know, I have put a new gas range in your place, and I have replaced the water heater (that was good and functioning well) even though I did not have to. Preventive maintenance is better than cure. If I thought the pipes were bad, I would not sleep at night until they were replaced. I face my responsibilities as an owner, and I know you want to do the same as a tenant. In the matter of this rotorooter bill, I hope you will see it my way.
Well, I hope you get bent, sir! Um.

We could continue sending passive-aggressive e-mails to each other, or I could just suck it up and pay the bill. I left messages with a couple local housing rights groups to get their opinion, but this isn't worth a legal battle or continued stress and tension. I will likely just pay up for my own sanity and start performing regular drain maintenance with the magic of baking soda and vinegar and/or salt. Unfortunately, boiling water is supposed to be bad for plastic pipes, which I apparently have, so I hope regular hot water does the trick well enough.

I was thinking today how much I've grown up in the last three years. Sometimes being an adult is annoying.

ETA: Holy shit, I just won a $100 Visa gift card for filling out a commuter survey. There, now I'm only paying for half the bill, like I offered to. Sometimes things kind of work out.
Tags: i am so awesome, i'm a moron, personal
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