Clogging The Issue

Jaymie is the treasurer of her small Brooklyn Co-op.  There are only four apartments in the brownstone building, and all of the owners get along well – at least they usually do…

Last week Jaymie was going out for a run when she ran into her neighbor Karl who immediately started complaining about how ‘someone’ must be cutting their hair in the shower and using salt baths that are clogging the pipes and causing problems in Karl’s ground floor apartment.  And even though handy Karl could have easily fixed the issue in his apartment himself, he declared that he was so angry he called a plumber and wanted the building to reimburse him $400.

Jaymie patiently listened to his rant but was totally annoyed at his grumpiness and accusatory tone.  She agreed that the problem was certainly something that everyone should be aware of, and they should all do their best to reduce the accumulation in the pipes.  But no one else was having a plumbing problem, and the ‘issue’ occurred inside Karl’s apartment – which typically would not be considered a building expense.  Clearly, this was a grey area…

The real issue for Jaymie was Karl’s attitude.  While asking to be paid back for a expense that wasn’t pre-approved by the board, Karl also accused Jaymie (one of the two adult women living in the building) for single-handedly causing the entire issue.  Big mistake…

Jaymie politely told Karl that he should send out an email explaining the problem and the measures he feels everyone should take to help avoid the problem from reoccurring, but that the building could NOT reimburse him the $400.

The truth is – if Karl had been nicer, Jaymie would have likely authorized the reimbursement, but she felt his mean behavior and lack of protocol entitled her to pull rank.  Was she just in her decision?  Or should Karl be reimbursed?

Tell us what you think!

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3 Responses to “Clogging The Issue”

  1. Simone says:

    While his anger isn’t pleasant, and uncalled for,the key here is that he could have fixed it himself but chose not to, and didn’t get an ok to call a plumber.
    Usually a super can fix this and I’m sure the building has a super who may have done the task for less than $100.00

    In a building so small, you really want to keep good relations. I would advise to split it and tell him that because he didn’t get authorized to call a plumber, but did need to fix the problem, they should reimburse him $200.

  2. Sue Kiene says:

    Well I really do not think she should “pull rank” on him but does she know that he even truly hired a plumber as it was said he could do it himself. Also if it was something he wanted re-imbursed for then he should have gotten an approval. Additionally, most people do not cut their hair in the shower although some men do shave in the shower as do some women with their legs, still not a lot of hair. As far as the bath salts clogging drains, I have never heard of that either. I am assuming that these dwellings stack on top of each other so if there is only 1 on top of his that would connect to his plumbing, then I would talk to that person to see if anything out of the ordinary might be going on and let the person know of the expense (if it truly was) and that they might be partially responsible for it, if not now in the future. Yes it is nice to keep the peace but there is protocol that must be followed as well.

  3. louie says:

    Protocol would be that the unit incurring the plumbing problem make the other units aware that these hair and bath salts issue incurred by him. (although I’m doubting bath salts did at all). The 4 Flat unit has extensive experience with longevity of plumbing issues, I’m assuming. Has this ever been an issue in the past? That is key to the question and solution here. Certainly personalities and conduct should have nothing to do with the issue here. I do suggest a board meeting be held to discuss the issue and also to reinforce what the bylaws say about building etecet and reimbursement for building infrastructure problems. This should be done routinely anyway.

Any Thoughts?