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Our team at Portola Property Management is talented and efficient, and they manage to stay calm during emergencies. Today, we have another post in our Stories from the Field series that we think you will find – um, interesting.

Mike’s story is not something you want to experience at your own Santa Cruz rental property. But if you do, you know we’re here to help.

Mike and a Maintenance Emergency

My name is Mike and my favorite property management story was gross. It was gross, but it was funny and the most memorable thing that happened in my 20 years of professional experience.

I took an emergency maintenance call from an angry tenant who was yelling for help. This call came in during the middle of the night.

He was speaking incoherently and I remember him saying that if he was home at the time this happened and he was sitting on the toilet, he would have had a snake go right up my butt.

I was like – what?!?

He begged me to come to us house immediately and I explained it would be maintenance who was coming, not me. But he persisted, and I agreed to go the next morning.

This tenant was reasonable; we had a good relationship, so if he was upset, I wanted to help. I arrived at his apartment the next morning wondering what he was talking about with the snake and the toilet. Before arriving, I had looked at his account. This tenant had never called for maintenance before.

Not All Snakes are the Same

Maintenance I didn’t immediately see anything when I walked into the house, so I began taking a look around.

In the bathroom, things began to make sense. Right in the middle of the toilet, and indeed in the place where he would be sitting if he needed to use the toilet, was a hole in the porcelain. It was a perfect circle. I had no idea what could have happened.

It turns out, maintenance had been called for the apartment next door. And because the toilets are side to side on either side of the shared wall, it was easy for this incident to occur. Evidently, the vendor had used a snake (the thing you use to unclog drains, not a reptile but a 50-foot snake) and put it through the drain. But, it didn’t go down the pipe. Instead, it ran across into our tenant’s toilet, piercing through the porcelain. The vendor probably kept shoving the snake down further and further. It went through the bathroom and into the hallway and into the family room.

Sewage lines were disrupted, so you can imagine everything that was all over the wall. There were feces on the walls, the carpets, and all over the bathroom.

It was really really gross.

Obviously, this was not an incident that the tenant could be held responsible for. We did everything we could to clean his apartment and replace things like towels and bath mats and toothbrushes.

If you have any questions about how we can help you and keep your tenants calm when bizarre things happen, please contact us at Portola Property Management. We’re here to help.