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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 7415
Experience:  Attorney 35 years extensive and active real estate practice; represents both landlords and tenants
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I own a townhome in Prince Georges County Maryland. I have

Customer Question

I own a townhome in Prince Georges County Maryland. I have owned the property since March 2004. The property has been lease since June 27, 2014. Prior to then it was occupied by me. I have made several repairs and etc. as a landlord at the tenant's request. I also felt that it was my responsibility to do so. These include: replacement of windows (it was needed), hot water heater (leak), refrigerator (broke), HVAC and extermination (a mouse enter the home; first-time ever). I have always been responsive, timely and fair. When I replaced the HVAC system in January 2017, she requested a reimbursement of utilities for during the time the issue was being assessed and resolved, her utility bill increased by a few hundred dollars. I informed her that I would not be able to honor her request. We disagreed but eventually got past it. Today, she contacted me to say that there is a slow drain in the sink and toilet upstairs and the bathroom tub downstairs. A plumber friend of her shared that it's more than likely caused by a hair clog and that he could fix it and send me a bill. My issue with this is that her lease clearly states that she is responsible for any neglience, misuse, etc. for plumbing and other listed items/features. I shared this with her and that's when the diagreement began and her displeasure with the utility nonrepayment. I don't have any issue with paying to fix the issue if it's from normal wear and tear, age, or nature (tree roots) but I do take issue with paying if it's from her misuse or neglience. Am I wrong?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: MD
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: Yes. All of the above...that she is responsible for repairs.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thank you. My post sums it up I believe. I can't think of anything else.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Could you clarify?

The hair clog in the toilet and sink or just the tub?

Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Not sure. My tenant just noted there is a slow drain in the sink, toilet, and tub. The plumber I contacted will be out today to determine the cause. He also noted that in most cases a hair clog is typically the issue. The last time I had the system snaked was in 2012.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for the information.

Hair clog in the tub and sink would be considered normal repairs as people use the sink to wash their face and shave. The tub is also used for washing hair and saving. So, the Tenant would not be responsible for the cost of repair.

As for the clog in the toilet, if it is from hair, that would not be normal because hair should be thrown in the trash and not in the toilet. The Tenant would be responsible for the cost.

I am sorry that I do not have better news for you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Phillip. Thanks for the response. I am reading other posts online. For clarity and moving forward are you a real estate atty who practices in the area noted? I am only asking for clarity and not being malicious. Many thanks.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 5 months ago.

I am real estate Attorney. However, I do not practice in Maryland. So, I will opt out to give another Attorney the opportunity to further assist you.

Expert:  Irwin Law replied 5 months ago.

I am also a rental property owner of more than thirty years. I have never been called by a tenant to "fix" a slow drain. A good chemical drain opener will dissolve hair and open the bathroor sink & tub lines. Tenant provides. Not so for a toilet or garbage/grease in a sink line that has a garbage disposal. Those might need a professional with a snake, and those are tenant costs. At worst, I suggest splitting the cost for that.

I hope that I have provided excellent service and, if so, would appreciate a 5 star rating. If not, please let me know how I can further assist you. There is no additional charge to you for rating me. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.

Thanks for using JUST ANSWER.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks. My tenant stated that she had used Draino and nothing resulted. I requested that she refrains from using this product for it may damage my pipes. Since Draino did not work, this leads me to believe that the whatever is causing the slow drain is further back in the system which is affecting the toilet, tub and sink. So, if it's hair or something else caused by negligence, misuse or damage on behalf of the tenant, then I don't feel responsible for paying the cost to get it fixed. We shall see what the plumber says. Again thanks.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 5 months ago.

Tell her to use Liquid Plumber or something of that type. If you put a little bit in a cup with some hair, the hair is gone in 15 min. It will definitely open drains.