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Subject: Garbage Disposal Removal
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Author Messages
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/25/2020 6:57 AM  
Hello Everyone. I'm new here and just recently got elected to the board in my community.
One of the issues that were are having is the large number of plumbing service calls over the last six months.(6 Buildings)
There were 10 total for clogged drains and 8 of them involved things related to garbage disposals.
Now last year all the drains in all of the buildings were professionally cleaned and a education e-mail about garbage disposal use was sent out.
This is one of the issues that is being discussed at our monthly (open) board meeting on the 28th.
Both the associations contracted plumber and my plumber both agree that this is the best thing we could do.
Unit owners would have to foot the cost.
Have any other associations done this.
Thought both good and bad are welcome.
Thanks.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


01/25/2020 7:04 AM  
Not sure fully understand who has paid for what?

Could you be a bit more specific about who paid for what, and when? ie, has COA already paid for something? Is this something, per your docs, sued to be paid for by the COA, or owners?
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/25/2020 7:13 AM  
This was highly recommended by the plumbing contractor that they be removed.
Way too much $$$ have been spent on service calls caused by people who put stuff down the disposers and clog up the pipes.


SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3048


01/25/2020 7:32 AM  
Odd that the association would pay for garbage disposal repairs - shouldn't that be homeowner responsibility, especially if homeowner caused the problem by tossing down stuff that shouldn't be there? Ditto for the clogged drains.

An education program is fine and shouldn't cost very much - out together some tips with the plumber's help and distribute that. Tell the go downers how much this has cost - and effective immediately, they will be responsible for all repair costs. If their negligence or abuse results in damage to the part of the plumbing that's association responsibility, they will have to pay for that too.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:233


01/25/2020 8:09 AM  
I still don't understand. Are you asking them to be removed permanently? Are you asking that they replace them? Be clear about what you are asking them to do and why.
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/25/2020 9:02 AM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/25/2020 8:09 AM
I still don't understand. Are you asking them to be removed permanently? Are you asking that they replace them? Be clear about what you are asking them to do and why.



It is highly recommended that all disposers be removed permanently. UNIT OWNERS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE for the cost.
Our building has had 2 calls in the last 45 days for this issue.
2 different plumbing companies stated that is the best thing that we could do.
Chances are this is going to get approved on tuesday and unit owners will be given either 60 or 90 days to comply (TBD)
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/25/2020 9:15 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 01/25/2020 7:32 AM
Odd that the association would pay for garbage disposal repairs - shouldn't that be homeowner responsibility, especially if homeowner caused the problem by tossing down stuff that shouldn't be there? Ditto for the clogged drains.

An education program is fine and shouldn't cost very much - out together some tips with the plumber's help and distribute that. Tell the go downers how much this has cost - and effective immediately, they will be responsible for all repair costs. If their negligence or abuse results in damage to the part of the plumbing that's association responsibility, they will have to pay for that too.



Some renters and owners just don't get it.
Especially on the upper floors.
Whats happening is stuff i getting stuck beyond the units and into the main drain line.
Its not funny after working a 10 hour day coming home to a sink full of black nasty smelly water.
Being on the floor is no fun.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7036


01/25/2020 9:37 AM  
We lived in a Chicago high rise that'd had all disposals removed long before we lived there for the same reasons as James' board is considering.

How many units are there, James? You did the right thing having all the drains cleaned and I imagine it ws expensive.

Do you have a plan for what to do with all the garbage once the disposals are removed? Do you, for example, have refuse or trash rooms on each floor? Residents already dispose of bones, & other organic matter somewhere in your buildings, maybe on each floor. will what you have a accomodate additional garbage? Will you need to hire an additional custodian?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3048


01/25/2020 10:11 AM  
Well, if the people on the upper floors don't get it (probably because they don't care), one way to enlighten them would be to send them a hefty bill for the damage. Sometime the only way to get people to behave is to smack them in the wallet and that may take a few incidents.

If this happens again , take a picture of the muck in your sink, go to the next homeowner meeting (especially the one when they discuss removing the disposals) and pass around the photo of give it to the board so it can be published in the next newsletter. No need to say whose condo was involved - the board should note this is what the first floor owners have to endure when their neighbors on higher floor toss all sorts of crap down the drain or disposal. Visual evidence can be more compelling than someone droning on at a meeting.
MarkM31
(Washington)

Posts:493


01/25/2020 11:12 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 01/25/2020 10:11 AM
Well, if the people on the upper floors don't get it (probably because they don't care), one way to enlighten them would be to send them a hefty bill for the damage




Just how would you identify which individual unit is responsible for the problem?
AugustinD


Posts:2906


01/25/2020 11:29 AM  
To add to Kerry's anecdote, I googled and found this article advising HOAs to remove garbage disposers: https://www.newpipesinc.com/community-association/5-hoa-policies-reduce-plumbing-calls-2018/
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/25/2020 11:40 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 01/25/2020 9:37 AM
We lived in a Chicago high rise that'd had all disposals removed long before we lived there for the same reasons as James' board is considering.

How many units are there, James? You did the right thing having all the drains cleaned and I imagine it ws expensive.

Do you have a plan for what to do with all the garbage once the disposals are removed? Do you, for example, have refuse or trash rooms on each floor? Residents already dispose of bones, & other organic matter somewhere in your buildings, maybe on each floor. will what you have a accomodate additional garbage? Will you need to hire an additional custodian?



We have a regular trash dumpster and a recycling dumpster. So food waste goes in regular trash.
There are 6 buildings 144 units total. Some don't have disposers but most do. Drains were cleaned last year done by a plumbing contractor.
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/25/2020 11:43 AM  
Posted By MarkM31 on 01/25/2020 11:12 AM
Posted By SheliaH on 01/25/2020 10:11 AM
Well, if the people on the upper floors don't get it (probably because they don't care), one way to enlighten them would be to send them a hefty bill for the damage




Just how would you identify which individual unit is responsible for the problem?



That is hard to do i was told that 6 units share a drainline BEFORE it hits the main drain to the city sewer.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3048


01/25/2020 12:30 PM  
The educational piece isn't about singling out specific homeowners since you may not be able to identify them. The point of showing everyone the photo is to demonstrate how someone's thoughtless behavior is resulting in inconvenience and increased costs for all. People may not admit they could be directly or indirectly responsible, but they and God knows thats how they got rid of that old tray of kitty litter or their three year old flushed down that box of Legos.

When you are in a HOA, everyone shares in the expenses, so if costs are going up because of bad behavior, it would help if everyone would try to change their behavior and maybe costs can get under control. I for one, get tired of my assessment having to increase to cover the cost of F***ed up behavior in trying to take care of my portion of the property that were both paying for, so is it too much for you to act like a responsible adult and try to take care of yours?
.
AugustinD


Posts:2906


01/25/2020 12:42 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 01/25/2020 12:30 PM
I for one, get tired of my assessment having to increase to cover the cost of F***ed up behavior in trying to take care of my portion of the property that were both paying for, so is it too much for you to act like a responsible adult and try to take care of yours?
Seriously: If only every HOA president could put it as eloquently.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


01/25/2020 6:13 PM  

That is hard to do i was told that 6 units share a drainline BEFORE it hits the main drain to the city sewer.




Yep, had the same issue. Multiple units and it clogs before it hit main sewer line. Could have been any one of the units.

Our solution was the same, remove all garbage disposals. Not all units had them, so it wasnt a big deal. Never a problem since.

A plumber once told me...... garbage disposals have paid off many mortgages and college for plumbers children. He is grateful people have them. Anytime you put solids down drain pipes means he gets a call at some point.
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/29/2020 12:42 PM  
Update:
We are currently looking at our by laws and looking to see if this can be changed by drafting an amendment to ban disposers.
This may take time and will need to be voted on at a future meeting.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7036


01/29/2020 1:20 PM  
Don't think it belongs in your bylaws, James. It could be a new rule if it doesn't conflict with your CC&Rs and (more remotely) your bylaws.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


01/29/2020 5:06 PM  
Agree with Kerry,

This probably should be in your Rules and Regulations.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


01/30/2020 11:57 AM  
I don't understand how a condo association can legally remove them. In my Declaration the garbage disposal and the piping connecting it to the building's main line belong to the unit owner, not to the association. People who bought the condos paid for those disposals. Besides, there are many other things getting flushed into the building's pipes that contribute to blockages (diapers, sanitary products, pet waste, toys, etc. etc.). A plumber once told me that people should use the cheapest toilet paper they can find - the plush, multi-layered "comfort" stuff is guaranteed to cause problems.

I get it, everybody has to pay. This is one of those things that people who hate condos complain about. But aside from encouraging more informed and responsible behavior, I'm not sure how much power the association has to change the situation.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:827


01/30/2020 12:03 PM  
Posted By JamesV3 on 01/29/2020 12:42 PM
Update:
We are currently looking at our by laws and looking to see if this can be changed by drafting an amendment to ban disposers.
This may take time and will need to be voted on at a future meeting.




An amendment would almost certainly have to grandfather existing units - you can't just turn something that's currently OK into an immediate violation. Further, amendments typically have to be approved by a super-majority of unit owners (eg., 67% or 75%), and without grandfathering, you have no hope of approval.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7036


01/30/2020 1:14 PM  
Our CC&Rs don't list owners property, i.., toilets, garbage disposals, personal HVAC (heat pump) that's connected to the common area. But our CC&Rs do say that changes can be made to units' equipment to prevent damage to or to benefit the common areas. And th HOA's agents can enter the condo units and make these changes.

So....we have 200+ garbage disposals. I wonder how many clogs a year that, let's say, that caused damage would need to occur before our HOA could remove ours? I think James' HOA needs their attorney's advice.

And I still think it is not their bylaws that need to be amended. Do your CC&Rs say something similar to Cathy's, James?
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:562


01/30/2020 6:17 PM  
My advice would be to put a Plumber on retainer to come out on scheduled non emergency visits as regular as needed to do preemptive cleaning. Every plumber in the USA has slow periods either during the day or the week. Make it a contract agreement and pass the cost on to the Homeowners. It is impossible to know who is causing the problems as the other smart poster Mark M posted. Why penalize everyone for the actions of a few. Every High rise or even low rise has cleanouts that can be used for servicing these clogs. Run the snake up and run the snake down and it will insure that no one comes home with a nasty surprise waiting for them.

This is a cost that comes from living in a high rise building. Budget for it and plan for it like other reserve items.
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


01/31/2020 1:48 AM  
This what we are looking to change.
Our Management team (New since august 1) has been looking into this.
They are consulting with legal and we should find out by our February meeting.
JamesV3
(New Hampshire)

Posts:13


03/25/2020 7:19 AM  
Update from board teleconference 3/24.
This will be on the agenda at the owners meeting later in the year, date TBD possibly next month or in may depending on the Corona Virus.
There are 58 units that are rentals, The parent company is ok with doing this but, only as rental units turn over.This could take over a year.
So for the time being we will be snaking and cleaning ALL first floor drains within the next 2 months.
So Lets see what happens later this year.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3048


03/25/2020 10:59 AM  
I don't see the problem - in our community, garbage disposals are the responsibility of the homeowner, just like other plumbing issues. I live in a townhouse community and the association is only responsible for the line from the point it leaves the unit, and if homeowner negligence or abuse causes it to fail, THEY have to pay.

You're in a building, so check your documents to see who's responsible - I would think it would be the homeowners. If the association paid for those clogged drains, why on earth didn't the board check them before forking over the money?

If the association is responsible, the board should pass a resolution stating that if misuse or abuse (like putting grease down the drain) causes backups, they have to pay, so you're on the right track. If they want the association to pay, a hefty assessment increase will be necessary to cover any damage (along with it being addressed in a reserve study). That should make them behave, and if not, holding a few homeowners accountable for a few hundred dollars or more in repair bills will drive it home.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/25/2020 11:06 AM  
Shelia

There are those that claim garbage disposals are one of the major culprits in plugging sewage pipes,
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