Who is responsible for blocked drains? Tenant or landlord?

tenant landlord responsible blocked drain

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Autumn and winter are the most magical times of the year. The trees are decked with golden hues and the pathways glisten with frost. But as the leaves start to fall, they clog our gutters and block our drains. This is why it is so important to ensure that you keep on top of your household maintenance and repairs. But what if the property is not yours and you rent it – whose responsibility is it then?

As stated in the Landlord and Tennant Act 1985, it is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain their drainage, pipes and other areas of plumbing. If a drain becomes blocked through tenant misuse however, then the tenant is liable for the cost of repairs.

If you are renting a property, it is important that you understand who is responsible for looking after and maintaining each aspect of the building in order to avoid any unexpected bills or charges.

Knowledge is power, so as a tenant it is important that you know your rights when it comes to plumbing – after all you don’t want your good relationship with your landlord to go down the drain!

Below we’ll explain as simply as possible, who is responsible for a blocked drain.

How to tell if you have blocked drains?

We often take our drainage for granted, but if you start to smell suspicious odours, hear gurgling noises coming from your pipes or watch your water slowly swirling around, don’t dismiss these early warning signs.  Because whilst a blocked sink, overflowing toilet or slow draining shower may seem insignificant to begin with, if left untreated they can lead to bigger problems such as flooding or damage to the pipework.

The most common causes of household blockages that we see at KJC Drainage, occur because of items we place down our sinks. Grease and fat are probably the hardest to deal with, however, hair, food and non-biodegradable items such as wet wipes and nappies are all serious drain offenders. As a tenant, it is your responsibility to control what you place down your pipes.

Who’s responsible for blocked drains

As a tenancy agreement is unlikely to detail explicitly every type of household eventuality, figuring out who is responsible for a blocked drain can be a real struggle. Quite often however, liability is determined based on where the blockage is and how it occurred.

Landlord’s accountability

As per section 11 of the Landlord and Tennant Act 1985, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that their property is well maintained. This includes making sure that the plumbing and drainage is in good working order as well as the fittings and fixtures, prior to you moving in and throughout your tenancy period.

If you suspect that there is a blockage in your plumbing system, then you should inform your landlord straight away as it is his responsibility to fix any obstructions, damage or leaks that could cause a flood or any further damage to the property.

Emergency repairs such as burst water pipers must be attended to within 24 hours wherever possible. For this reason, it is recommended that landlords give detailed instructions of how to turn off the main supplies and emergency contact numbers for plumbers where applicable.

Tenant’s accountability

Prior to signing the tenancy agreement, it is your responsibility as the temporary occupier to make sure that you are satisfied that the property is in full working order.

Once the lease has been signed, it is up to you to control what you place down your pipes.

As a tenant you are liable to pay for any damage that you, or a guest of yours, causes on the property.

Minor blockages inside the property – such as a clogged sink – can usually be resolved simply by the tenant using a home remedy and without having to involve the landlord. Should the issue continue to occur, however, then this could be indicative of a larger, more sinister issue in the drainage system. This, as well as any major blockages in an exterior drainpipe, will be the landlord’s responsibility to clear and repair.

We would recommend writing down any issues as they occur and notifying your landlord each time so that they are aware.

Local utility accountability – Your landlord is only responsible for the drainage on their property boundary. Therefore, if the drainage is shared with a neighbouring property, then the problem becomes the responsibility of the local utility company as it is considered a shared amenity.

What to do if you have a blocked drain

If you are either a tenant or landlord searching for a quick solution to unblock your drains, then contacting an emergency plumber such as KJC Drainage is highly recommended. At KJC Drainage, we have years of experience and use the latest tools and technology for unblocking your drains.

Finding and clearing blocked drains can be easily resolved using high pressure water jetting, drainage rods and as a last resort, excavation. Using the latest CCTV equipment, KJC Drainage are able to pinpoint your problem and ensure that we carry out work in the correct location.

If, however, you are a landlord looking to give you and your tenants peace of mind, then we can provide a drain and gutter clean and inspection before you move in, with minimal mess and fuss.

Why choose KJC Drainage

At KJC Draining we pride ourselves on our reputation for being an honest, trustworthy and professional, family-run business. Utilising our 21 years of experience we can tackle and resolve all draining issues, no matter how big or small.

As we appreciate the upheaval that a blocked drain can bring to both landlord and tenant, we offer a 24hour emergency service, 7 days a week.

Our friendly staff always seek to undertake work to the highest of standards and we are fully insured and Checkatrade accredited.

So, if your rental property is in need of some drainage care, give us a call today on 01329 310630 / 07496 771999 or complete our online contact form. We will provide you with a free, no obligation quote, and get back to you with our best available price as soon as possible.

  • Cost effective drainage services
  • Free quotations
  • 24/7 Emergency Drainage – 7 Days a Week
  • Fast response (within 2 hrs depending on distance, location and availability)
  • Free Advice
  • Checkatrade accredited

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