Tenant FAQs and Trouble-Shooting Tips

TENANT FAQs and Trouble-shooting tips:

  1. WATER LEAKS: Turn off the water at the main water  cut-off. The main water cut-off is usually found in the basement near the hook-up for the washer and dryer, or on the wall near the furnace area.   You would look for a straight handle on a large copper pipe, or sometimes a round handle, and it may be labeled “water cut-off.”   If you are not sure where it is, please call and we’ll come out and show it to you.
  2. ELECTRICITY: Where is the breaker panel?  Like the water cut-off, the breaker panel box is usually found in the basement.   It should be on a wall, and can be on a finished wall or in an unfinished area of the basement.   It may also be in the garage.  Always check the switches in the breaker box if you have electrical outlets that do not seem to work -flip all to the “off” position and then back to “on”.  If they will not stay on, call us immediately.
  3. OUTLET DOES NOT WORK/GFI:  Find and test all of your Ground Fault Interupt outlets.   Almost all electrical outlets near running water sources (sinks, tubs) and most garbage disposals run on a circuit that ties into a GFI electrical outlet.   If your hair-dryer suddenly does not work, or your garbage disposal doesn’t run, check these first!    They look like a regular electrical outlet, except that in the middle you will see two buttons – “test” and “reset.”   Try “reset” and then try your hair dryer again.   If that does not solve it, then check the switches in the breaker box.   Make sure to check EVERY GFI in your house!  Sometimes they’re in odd places and not right next to the sink.  If we have to send an electrician to reset a GFI for you, unfortunately you will pay that bill!
  4. OUTLET IN BEDROOM DOES NOT WORK:  A wall outlet doesn’t seem to work – have you tried the light switch by the door?   It’s common in this area, especially in newer homes, to find that a wall outlet is controlled fully or in part by a light switch by the room’s door.  If that fails, try all the GFIs in the house, and then the breaker panel switches.
  5. TOILET KEEPS RUNNING:  This is USUALLY caused by a flapper which is stuck in the up position or not seated well.  First, make sure there is no water on the floor around the toilet (that’s an emergency – turn the water valve off below the tank and call us immediately!).   Then lift the lid off the back of the toilet tank (behind the seat).   Look at the flapper – press it down.  Does this stop the water from leaking into the bowl?   You may need a new flapper – they’re cheap and easy to install.
  6. SLOW SINK DRAINS:  This is usually not a big problem.   It’s often caused by hair or other residue getting stuck on the drain plug.   If the drain plug can be removed by twisting and pulling it up, just clean it and re-install.   If not, give us a call and we’ll get it cleaned (note, clogged drains are a tenant expense repair).
  7. FURNACE DOESN’T TURN ON (gas heat). Run through this quick checklist before calling us:  a)  check the “light switch” by the furnace – it must be kept “ON”.  b) check your thermostat – is it switched to HEAT, On or Auto, and set at a temperature above the current room temperature?   Try moving it all the way down to the lowest temp, turning it to OFF, then back to HEAT, to see if it resets.  c)  check the removable main panel on the furnace – pull it off and put it back on.   Is it installed properly?   d)  check the breaker panel – has a breaker switch tripped off?    If none of these work, give us a call.  PLEASE REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR FURNACE FILTERS on a regular basis!  Dirty filters will keep your home colder, run up your utility bills, and damage the furnace!
  8. WATER BY FRIDGE:  Call us immediately! Pull the fridge out and see if there is an ice-maker hose attached in the back.   If this seems to be the source of the leak, turn the water valve on the wall behind the fridge (sometimes it’s under the sink) OFF.  It probably needs repair. 
  9. GARBAGE DISPOSAL:  Doesn’t run?  If the garbage disposal makes a humming noise but doesn’t turn, chances are it’s jammed.   First, make sure it is turned OFF at the switch.   Then, remove anything inside the disposal that could be jamming it (bottle caps, coins, bones, anything hard that can’t be chopped up small enough to drain away).   Then, hit the reset button on the bottom, and turn the switch on (with water running) and try again.  If this doesn’t work, find the disposal allen wrench (in a drawer by the sink usually).  This fits in the bottom center of the disposal – give it about 1/2 to 1 turn – this should free it up.  Repeat all the above – it should work now.  If not, find ALL GFIs in the house and reset them before calling us.

Please report ALL maintenance and repair items to us, even if you have fixed them yourself!  To report a problem or make a repair request, you may email us or click on the Tenant Repair Request Link on this website.  Please report problems by phone ONLY IN EMERGENCIES.  All other reports or requests need to be in writing.