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Garbage Disposals in Rental Properties: Are They Worth the Cost?

TL;DR – No.

When it comes to managing rental properties, every decision has a financial impact. As landlords and property managers, evaluating the cost-effectiveness of various amenities and features is crucial. One such consideration is the installation of garbage disposals. While these kitchen appliances may seem convenient at first glance, a closer look reveals that they may not always be worth the cost in rental properties.

  1. The Initial Cost:

The first factor to consider is the cost of installing a garbage disposal unit. The price can vary depending on the model, but the highest initial cost has to do with the complexity of installation. In many cases, rental property owners opt for more affordable models, which may not offer the same level of durability or functionality as higher-end options. When evaluating the initial investment, it’s important to question whether the cost aligns with the potential benefits.

  1. Maintenance and Repairs:

Garbage disposals are by no means maintenance-free. We get the most maintenance requests for garbage disposals! They require regular care, including cleaning and occasional repairs. Tenants may not always handle them properly, leading to clogs and breakdowns. As a landlord, you may find yourself frequently dispatching plumbers to address these issues, resulting in additional expenses and time-consuming management.

  1. Tenant Misuse and Liability:

Despite clear guidelines and instructions, some tenants may misuse garbage disposals by attempting to dispose of inappropriate items, such as fibrous vegetables, grease, or non-food objects. This misuse can lead to blockages in the plumbing system, potentially causing severe damage that requires more calls to the plumber. Consequently, landlords could face both financial and legal liabilities. By not installing garbage disposals, landlords can minimize the risk of misuse and subsequent complications.


Alternatives and Recommendations:

While garbage disposals may not be the most cost-effective choice for rental properties, there are alternative solutions that provide convenience while minimizing potential drawbacks:

  1. Strainers and Sink Protectors: Install sink strainers or sink protectors in the kitchen sinks of your rental properties. These affordable accessories prevent larger food particles and debris from entering the plumbing system, reducing the risk of clogs.
  2. Regular Plumbing Inspections: Schedule periodic plumbing inspections to identify and address any potential issues before they escalate into major problems. This proactive approach can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.



While garbage disposals may seem like an attractive feature to offer in rental properties, the cost, ongoing maintenance, potential tenant misuse, and liability concerns, should be considered. We have never had a potential resident complain about no garbage disposal during a showing. And very rarely get a request to install one by current residents. By evaluating alternatives and promoting responsible waste disposal practices, landlords can strike a balance between convenience and cost-effectiveness. Ultimately, the decision to install a garbage disposal in a rental property should be based on a thorough assessment of these factors and the specific needs of the property and its tenants.

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