Can my landlord tell me the clogged bathtub problem is at my expense?

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Can my landlord tell me the clogged bathtub problem is at my expense?

I have been renting a old house for over a year now. I have had to have maintenance come out twice in the last year to snake my bathtub drain. I just recently received a letter from landlord stating that any more clogs will be out of my own pocket. Is that legal. The drain, as well as my bathroom sink has drained slow since day one. It is an old house but snaking the drain twice doesn’t seem excessive to me. What should I do?

Asked on November 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the clogs are due to anything you are doing that is out of the ordinary. If not, then it's the landlord's cost and responsibility, except and only to the extent indicated otherwise in the lease. (If there is no written lease, then there's a month-to-month verbal or oral lease; if that's the case, then with one month's notice, the landlord make it a term or condition that you pay for snaking, etc.) If the clogs are due to something you do, then it might be your expense. For example: say that you are a male competitite swimmer, who like many of the top ones, shaves back, chest, arms, and legs to cut down water resistance. If you do that in the tub and try to "flush" the shavings down the drain, then resulting clogs would probably be your responsibility. The issue then, turns on the facts--normally the landlord has to do this, but a tenant could do things that make it his or her responsibility.


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