One of the most common questions when it comes to drainage in a property is; are blocked drains a landlord responsibility? After all, nobody wants to pay out money for a problem they’re not responsible for in the first place. So, in this article we’re going to take a look at what the renter is responsible for and what is a landlord responsibility.
Landlord Responsibility for Blocked Drains?
Many of us have heard stories like this before: a property is rented but it has backed up drains that are causing sinks to be full of stagnant water and the smell is overpowering. The landlord is convinced the problem is a result of the tenant pouring fats and oils down the sink, while the tenant is sure it’s a blockage in the pipe further down the street. Each person believes the other is responsible for fixing the problem.
So, who’s really responsible?
Your Landlord is Responsible for:
- All pipe work, fittings and valves, and radiators;
- Clearing blocked sewers, drains, and any external waste pipes;
- Boilers and hot water cylinders.
As the Tenant, You’re Responsible for:
- Stoppers and chains for baths, sinks, and basins;
- Replacing wash basins, toilet bowls, and toilet seats;
- Replacing baths, sinks, and drains.
Can Your Fix the Problem Yourself?
A good rule of thumb is to work out whether you can fix the problem yourself or not. If you have a blocked sink, you maybe can fix the problem yourself without too much trouble. However, if the problem is too extensive or you’ve tried to fix it yourself and failed, it is important to call or email your landlord explaining the issue to get it fixed.
That said, it is worth remembering that a landlord may be within their rights to ask for a contribution towards the repair costs – especially if the tenant was found to be responsible for the damage in the first place.
It is Your Responsibility to Inform Your Landlord
When you discover a leak or a blocked drain in your property that is causing problems, it may lead to further structural damage or create a risk of flooding. So, it is your responsibility to inform your landlord right away. This means that the problem can be sorted as quickly as possible to avoid any further problems.
Keep a Copy of all Communications
When dealing with official matters with your landlord, it is important to keep a written and dated copy of all communications for your records. In cases of blocked drains, it is also a good idea to take a couple of photos for evidence of the problem too, if you can.
This helps ensure that if there are any problems or complications in discussions, you have evidence of all communications should the relationship turn sour.
The Responsibility Should be in Your Lease
A good lease agreement will outline the roles and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord, clearly stating what each must do. Lease agreements are very helpful for outlining the responsibilities of each person and they keep everyone on the right track.
If the issue is not outlined in your lease and you’re not sure what to do, a good port of call is to inform your landlord first and ask whether they would be willing to fix the problem. If you’re unsure what a good lease agreement looks like, our team would be more than happy to answer your questions!
It can be extremely difficult finding out who is responsible for what aspects of an apartment rental. Knowing what your rights are as a tenant and what the responsibilities of your landlord are is the best way to maintain a healthy and beneficial relationship between a landlord and tenant.