Plumbing Issues New Tenants

Just rented out my house that I bought a couple of years ago, I lived there with no issues.

Tenants have blocked the toilet 3 times in the last 3 weeks. I sent a different plumber the second time and he said there is an issue with the pipes having to many bends it in. There are a few units on the block that share the same pipes.

The quote to fix it was over 50k cutting the slab etc. and re doing the plumbing.

It’s so strange as we never had issues before when we lived there.

What are your thoughts? What should I do?


  • Perhaps buy them some metamucil

  • Buy them a plunger.

  • it should be covered by strata management check with them- or charge them directly everytime a plumber is called as the cause is foundational?- i had a tenant state the pipe rattles when the shower is turned on. The agent said if it is a shower head problem then i have to pay for it- but if it is the actual plumbing then strata pays it

    fyi- in the end i just ignored my tenant's requests- and they stopped asking. i mean yes it rattles- then turn it off, o r it is only few a few minutes. -__- Same tenant did break some walls accidentally though so not too pleased with them anyway.

  • Maybe you use less toilet paper than they do?

    I can't see that you have many choices. You could terminate the lease (within the terms of the lease) and get new tenants, who may or may not have the same problem. Another choice woild be to continue to get a plumber out each time the toilet gets blocked and hope the tenants get tired of the problem and move before you go broke. Or you could pay the $50K and hope that fixes the problem - maybe it won't.

  • 50k sounds abit exorbitant

  • They need to flush half way through wiping to reduce the package size.

    In Australia I've never seen a blocked toilet that wasn't caused by misuse.

  • +3 votes

    The toilets block easily in a lot of new houses compared to old houses (thinner pipes as well?). It is also to do with usage. In my house the toilets never block when my wife and I use it but seems to frequently when my teenage kids use it.

    I would tell them nicely that it has never been a problem before when you lived there and with previous tenants, and they may need to modify their usage and flush half way if they need to (and provide them with a plunger).The 50k sounds suss to me

    Also, with some toilets if you push the button quickly it only does a short flush - may need to hold if down for a few seconds

  • For $50k I'd be moving back in.

    • It’s not an option to go back in as we have kids that need their own rooms.

      • can you terminate the lease and get a new tenant?

        • Yes I can seems like they want to go but the agent said not to bother as the next tenants will complain about the drains

          • @Veebee88: but you said you lived in there without issue?

            if it is more lifestyle issue then next tenant will not be the same. Had tenant with a mould issue in the bedroom as they don't open the fuxking window. Tenant lived there for 2 years no issue prior them, current tenant lived there for 4 years no issue.

            i suggest you to click them out and then you can deal with the different issue with a new tenant.

            New tenant fee vs 50K is vastly different.

            Also, 50K is just a high ball figure the plumber gave you, can also consider pipe relining, it is avg 10K per meter.

            • @SnoozeAndLose: Yeah I did live there but we were very very very careful. Never left hair in the shower or food in the kitchen drains etc. I’m thinking an average person might keep on blocking it again.

              I know what you mean but…I have rented out a house before and it’s funny how many issues tenants find.

          • @Veebee88: Perhaps, but I'll put it down to misuse and neglect.

  • We had issues with toilet blocking.

    Ultimately needed a plumber that had an extra long powered slinky to unblock drain, blockage was away from house, probably at border of our property.

    Removed tree roots that were partially blocking drain and when toilet used frequently would back up.

    Our normal plumber wasn’t able to do but recommended plumbing business that specialises in doing this.

    • So cutting the roots fixed the issue?

    • keep putting Salt in the toilet, once a week would help(500g each time - flash the toilet with 2 litres of water) Tips: pool salt is way cheaper.

      or try this

      My tenant had tree root issue every 9 months, I send them 3 packs every 4 months and no issue so far for 2 years.

    • I rented an old home and the toilet would block up because of old drains and tree roots. The landlord had lived there previously and had the same problems, so would get a normal plumber over once or twice a year to fix it. They finally got a high powered slinky guy in, and that lasted two years each time without problems.

      We did our bit, too, as tenants, by regularly sending down some draino, as a preventative measure. Maybe you could ask your tenants to do that.

  • how old is your house?

  • I feel your pain. Lived in my house for 5 years with no issues. Tenant moves in and issues every other month. Luckily, the issues were very minor but they still called me to fix it.

    As for your problem, it could be unlucky in terms of timing so get a few different opinions because $50k sounds a bit steep…

  • An easy solution might be to sell the house?

  • +1 vote

    What did the plumber find that was blocking the pipes? surely it can't be too many bends as the cause as you've live there before, sounds like they are trying to hoodwink you, if they have no other reason(s).

    Also if people pour grease (from cooking fats) that will get stuck to the pipes and cause blockage.

    • He said toilet paper was blocking the pipes but said that’s due to a very poor plumbing design and said it wasn’t even compliant because of the bends.

  • The new toilet in our place doesn't like it if you put a lot of toilet paper down, whereas the old toilet in our ensuite will take anything you throw at it. Maybe they're not used to using new eco toilets?

  • 50k sounds beyond a ripoff. A plumber with back hoe to run from boundary to the house should be a couple thousand at most, less probably if city and smaller blocks. Sawing and jackhammer would take a day to get done I assume your toilet and showers all near the outside already. Shitty cost will be retiling and plastering. I still can’t see 50k here.

  • Maybe they're flushing non degradable stuff like tissues?

  • Maybe you could get a macerator put in for the toilet , its like a waste disposal it grinds up paper and solids and pumps the sludge away . would be a lot cheaper than 50k

  • Normally young teenage girls flush thier sanitary napkins and guys the condoms and with baby wipes which are not a water friendly act as a barrier and with bends they make the flow more complicated.

    you have no choice but to get some another good plumber who can give you some better rates or deals.

    avoid those plumbers who drop thier card in your post box they are rip off and they are like vultures waiting for prey. call the plumber your strata or your friend strata uses them because they are people who are working on long term basis and they give correct advise.

  • Too much protected sex flushing i'd say.

  • I've never heard of such a rubbish excuse from a plumber…seriously!
    If it was true then why didnt the building have such issues before???
    It would have been classed as a building defect soon after the building was completed.
    Just SACK that plumber quick smart!

    If there were no issues whilst you lived there for a couple of years then its a good chance your tenants have been flushing baby nappies or similar down the toilet.
    So find out if they have a baby or toddlers.
    Toddlers are notorious for throwing things down the toilet and so there is the cause of your blockage.
    It doesnt take much to do that.
    Furthermore some inexperienced mums think its convenient to flush nappies down the toilet.
    Explain to your tenant that nothing should go down the toilet expect bodily excretions and toilet paper!
    Furthermore if such blockages can be attributed to the tenant then it becomes thier cost to fix!

    The other problem which I had in a very similar occurrance could be tree roots entering the building's sewer pipe between the building and the main sewer connection and causing blockages. This is a common problem and even occurrecd in the building next door. This of course wont be happening inside the slab so wont cost thousands to clear.
    But it might be happening UNDER the driveway. In any case the right plumber has the tools to clear the blockage. No need to break up the slab, There should also be inspection/access ports running down through the concrete for this very reason.


    Get a plumber who SPECIALISES in clearing toilet and drainage blockages.
    Toilet blockages are a common problem and a good plumber specialising in drainage blockages will have the right tools, know-how and the right fix.
    This will include conducting a camera inspection to ascertain where and what the problem is.
    The plumber can then advise you how the blockage has occurred and if the tenants might be responsible.
    They can even supply photos which you can use as evidence for a claim against your tenant.

    So go forth with confidence dear OP.

  • 99 times out of 100 blocked toilets are the users fault. But you need to prove that if there is a dispute. You need a plumber with a camera to go down and show why or why not the pipes are faulty. If there is a fault and it’s on your property then it’s your problem otherwise it could be somebody else’s and you can chase that weasel and try and catch it. Also talk to your tenants about their toilet issues and gently ask that they only put paper and poop down the toilet and flush it regularly. Is it possible that their toilet volumes are heavier than the average person’s? They would know this I’m sure so a gentle prompt from you could help. Tip: Adding a bucket of water to a flush will usually give enough extra push to move things along.

  • $50k is not unreasonable depending on the layout and house and garden area etc. Eg. If they have to dig up the concrete driveway and/or garage etc to access the pipes, then it's a major job. Could also be that they simply don't want to do the job, so quote high. I know I do that sometimes with my private business when I don't want someone's business or are just too busy.

    You haven't indicated how long the slab is or where the piping goes to etc, or if they're replacing the entirety of the piping from toilet to sewer line or to property boundary etc.

    But, as others have indicated, how the toilet is used can impact blockages. Eg. Too little use could mean that the gunk in the pipe hardens and blocks it. Or too much toilet paper and items going in can block it in another way.

  • What are your thoughts? What should I do?

    too easy. talk to your real estate agent. cancel the current lease agreement after that find another tenant.

    problem sorted

  • Definitely get at least 3 quotes or more.

    We had storm water issues and one plumber gave us a ridiculously high price, called the second plumber that we had used for another job and they ended up being half the price.

  • Sell the place

  • how much is the place worth- 50k isnt prob worth it . maybe sell it