What About The Toilet?

Not That IntimidatingOne of the questions I am most frequently asked by people considering purchasing their first multi-family property has to do with plumbing. More specifically, the toilet.

It seems the biggest fear about becoming a landlord is there will be a phone call in the middle of the night that a tenant’s toilet has backed up. And it will be up to the landlord to fix it.

First, I have been a landlord for over a decade. And in all those years, the only time I ever had a middle-of-the-night plumbing call was when a water heater actually burst and was spewing water everywhere. My inconvenience? Calling the plumber and signing the check! (It was the least I could do — my tenants were buying me my property after all.)

When it comes to toilets, however, a plumber charges too much. And, here’s a tip: they’re really, really easy and inexpensive to repair.

I had zero experience with fixing them prior to becoming a landlord. But I’d had the good fortune of stumbling across Home Depot’s book, Home Improvement 1-2-3. It had pictures, well, more accurately, how-to cartoons of almost every conceivable home repair or improvement. I took that book with me everywhere: propped it up on the back of toilet tanks, crawled under sinks with it…you get the idea.

The good news is, Home Depot still publishes it. The bad? No more cartoons. Just pictures.

And, if Home Depot’s actually closed, there’s always www.fixatoilet.com. No kidding.