When renting out rooms in a home, the property owner becomes responsible for reasonably protecting the guests' safety. Most caring landlords won't make egregious oversights that compromise the health and welfare of people booking a room. However, lax maintenance, combined with an unnecessarily thrifty approach to solving plumbing problems, can cause harm. For example, pouring chemical drain cleaners down a clogged sink might cut costs, but the process raises health concerns. If someone inhales chemical fumes and becomes sick, the landlord might find him/herself in civil court.
An Abundance of Potential Harm
Although drain cleaners are everyday products sold in supermarkets and other stores, don't automatically assume they are harmless. Retail stores sell many hazardous products that come with warning labels regarding their use. Using drain cleaners requires extra care since the chemical fumes could prove more than irritating. Besides potentially causing breathing difficulties, the fumes might prove fatal. Putting tenants' health at risk by using drain cleaning chemicals is bad enough. Cutting corners and not performing a thorough job could make the situation worse.
An Unnecessary Approach
Using drain cleaners without attempting other solutions might come off as negligent. Was a plunger used to loosen up the clog in the sink? Perhaps a plunger alone could have solved the problem, and the use of drain cleaners wasn't necessary. Not having a plunger in the home wouldn't be an excuse. Such an assessment could further add a layer of negligence.
Using Drain Cleaners Without Warning
Not giving tenants a warning about intentions to use chemical cleaners leaves them in the dark about health hazards. Upon learning about chemicals in the drain, the tenant might choose to leave the premises. They can't do that when never told about the DIY plumbing job. Maybe the person has a condition that would worsen if exposed to drain cleaning fumes. Left without a "head's up," the tenant might suffer needlessly.
Compounding the Hazards
There are ways the landlord could increase the threat level. Pouring the cleaners into a non-ventilated area makes a bad idea worse. Why didn't the landlord at least open up all the windows to allow the fumes to escape? Also, pouring the chemicals down the drain at night when the tenants were sleeping would be another ill-advisable step.
Taking Legal Action
A tenant who suffers an adverse reaction to toxic chemicals may have legitimate grounds to sue. Meeting with a personal injury attorney starts the process of taking legal action for damages.
To learn more, reach out to a local personal injury attorney.