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ska_mna

Advice Please - Blocked Drains / Costs / Landlord Responsibilities

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Hi, some advice or opinions on this would be welcome.

Our drains blocked up two weeks ago (bath, toilet and bathroom sink not draining).

I reported to the landlord who said get a drain cleaning company round. This surprised me a little as I thought drains/plumbing would fall into the landlord's responsibility.

Anyway, I didn't want to cause a fuss so got a drain clearing company out with a jet hose at the cost of £150.

They cleared the blockage and the drains started draining again.

However, two weeks later, they've done it again. I reported to the landlord again and suggested that there must be something wrong with the plumbing but he was still insinuating that we'd blocked them by putting something down there that shouldn't have gone down.

I called out the draining company again at the cost of another £150.

This time, the drain man did some more diagnostics as well as a clear and we found that there was some kind of problem between the house and first manhole cover the garden. He suggested it was a break in the pipe. The ebbing and flowing of water and fact things were getting caught on it seemed to add up.

So I reported this back to the landlord, expecting him to then take up the mantel from here on in.

To my surprise, he wouldn't accept the diagnostics and said it was my word against his and that I should have got a drain company out who would put a camera up the drain to prove the break.

I said that if I were to pay out for another company, the costs would be coming on for £500 in total, and if that it was a break I'd then want him to pay the money back.

At this point things were starting to get a bit heated.

Anyway, he wasn't budging so I said I'd have to take some legal advice and I somewhat stormed off.

He did then come round half an hour later and we spent two hours together with him doing his own diagnostics.

He did eventually admit that it was probably a break and would hire in a mini digger to lay a new drain. This will hopefully happen next week.

OK, so my questions:

1) Should the landlord pay the £300 back to me for the two drain company visits? He claims it was my choice of company so was my problem that they didn't tell me it was a break on the first occasion. My argument is that I shouldn't have had to call them out in the first place as it's the landlord's responsibility.

2) The house will be without drainage (e.g. no toilet/sinks/bath) for a number of days while this work is done. What recourse do we have?

We're actually moving out soon too, which makes things even more complicated in terms of landlord-tenant relationship. I kind-of want to get out sooner rather than later now as the relationship is pretty broken now.

Boy, am I sick of landlords! My previous renting story here >

Thoughts welcome.

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I'm sorry; can't help you with you on the questions of money/refunds/costs or recourse for being without those essential facilities; I would have thought you should be able to claim costs of drain company visits but not sure. Especially if it transpires to be some breakage in the drainage system that needs repairing. Hope someone else can probably advise. Sounds like a massive headache, and one the property-owner should attend to and pay for. Might there be some obligation the landlord has to pay to put you up somewhere else, such as a hotel whilst the works take place? Hope to find the real answers out myself.

However I do have two good links for drain issues. One of the many things need money set aside for, beyond buying a house at massive high prices, for when things inevitably need repair or maintenance.

Excellent free resource site for drains here (almost a must-read for any potential house buyer): http://www.draindomain.com/why%20drains%20block.html

There's also loads of drain knowledge resources at http://www.pavingexpert.com/drain02.htm

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I reported to the landlord who said get a drain cleaning company round.

He sounds like a bit of an @rse

It is his responsibility to pay, if only because you were following his instructions. Sue him through the small claims system if he won't pay. Collapsed or cracked drains are normally covered under buildings insurance, including diagnostics.

Edited by vin rouge

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You have been way too compliant..he knows it..keep doing what you are doing and you will keep getting what you are getting.......... It is all his responsibility.Stop paying rent and get your money back that way..

Edited by GinAndPlatonic

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You have been way too compliant..he knows it..keep doing what you are doing and you will keep getting what you are getting.......... It is all his responsibility.Stop paying rent and get your money back that way..

Indeed. Thats what I'd do. Also, when you move out don't pay the last months rent in case the LL tries to withhold some of it.

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never use your initiative

Rule number 1 of being a tenant. All but the saintliest of landlords will take advantage.

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Rule number 1 of being a tenant. All but the saintliest of landlords will take advantage.

Number of times I have reported a problem but nothing gets done unless the tenant really pushes for it.

I'll say it again:

1) EVERYTHING IN WRITING

2) SET DATES FOR ACTION (including repayments of bills you have covered).

I am about to deducate form my next months rent a 700 GBP plumber bill my landlord here in HK has not paid for a month. Latest excuse was 'they are going away on holiday'. and? internet banking broken is it?

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Thanks for the responses.

General consensus seems to be that I shouldn't have called the initial drain company out.

Another way of thinking about it by turning the events on their head:

If I had refused to get a drain company out and persuaded the landlord to get one out (probably by withholding rent) and the blockage HAD turned out to be our negligence (putting stuff down there that shouldn't go down drains), I would have been happy to pay the landlords bill for the drain company given proof of the cause of the blockage.

But that's not what happened - the blockage was not due to our negligence, it was down to a pipe breakage. Ergo, the reverse of the above should be true - the landlord should pick up the bill and repay me.

*sigh*

As it happens, we now have a break of landlord-tenant trust and are now searching for a new property under pressure of wanting to get out of here as soon as possible.

It's a re-run of where we were last year when we also had a complete landlord-tenant relationship breakdown.

Not sure what we're doing wrong - we're actually very easy going, personable tenants! :blink:

Now the hunt is on for another rare pet-friendly tenancy.

I'm so fed up of renting in this country!

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As it happens, we now have a break of landlord-tenant trust and are now searching for a new property under pressure of wanting to get out of here as soon as possible.

It's a re-run of where we were last year when we also had a complete landlord-tenant relationship breakdown.

Not sure what we're doing wrong - we're actually very easy going, personable tenants! :blink:

Now the hunt is on for another rare pet-friendly tenancy.

I'm so fed up of renting in this country!

try looking for a child and pet friendly tenancy in London:)

on the serious note, why are you moving out? have you received a notice? not, stay put.

Yes, it is awkward but the person who made it awkward is your landlord, not you - try to be less british about

and never ever again - use your initiative apart from being crystal clear - drain not working, property is uninhibitable, no rent is coming until fixed if no response is forthcoming

good luck

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Thanks for the responses.

General consensus seems to be that I shouldn't have called the initial drain company out.

For future reference, that shouldn't have been a problem. Tradesmen know all about rented property, and are often happy to liaise with the tenant over practical details (like, arrange access) but bill the landlord (or agent).

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Not sure what we're doing wrong - we're actually very easy going, personable tenants! :blink:

That is exactly where you are going wrong. Paying £500 yourself to fix your landlords drains?! And not sending the landlord the bill?

PS My car needs some new tyres so if you could send me a cheque for £200 that would be much appreciated....

PPS http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/disrepair_in_rented_accommodation/repairs_in_rented_homes_-_whos_responsible_for_what

Edited by gadget

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That is exactly where you are going wrong. Paying £500 yourself to fix your landlords drains?! And not sending the landlord the bill?

The landlord essentially refused to have anything to do with clearing the blockage as he said we'd caused it.

Given that our bath, sink and toilet was full of crappy water and we needed to wash and didn't want to cork ourselves (!) I took the initiative.

As it turns out, we didn't have anything to do with the blockage.

I'm not sure why I keep ending up having showdowns and fall-outs with my landlords. Out of six landlords I've had, I've fallen out with four of them. :D

Does the landlord "profession" just attract sociopaths or am I a ) unlucky or b ) a difficult tenant, I wonder? :P

I know which I think it is.

Time for that Peasant's Revolt, methinks.

Edited by ska_mna

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try looking for a child and pet friendly tenancy in London:)

I can imagine. :angry:

My opinion is that as long as you give the property back in the same condition you received it in, then the landlord should have no right to dictate how you live your life.

If that means taking larger deposits to offset risk, then that's fine with me.

At the moment the situation is the "haves" dictating to the "have-nots" how they can live their lives.

Jilted generation. Neo-feudalism / serfdom or whatever you want to call it.

on the serious note, why are you moving out? have you received a notice? not, stay put.

Yes, it is awkward but the person who made it awkward is your landlord, not you - try to be less british about

We were planning to move anyway - we took this place on short notice last year being the only place that would allow us pets at the time. The commute is too far though and the EPC rating is atrocious - transport and heating costs over that snowy winter almost bankrupted us!

We're throwing the cards in the air again and hoping to land somewhere more suitable.

good luck

Thanks.

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When we moved into our current place we were told there was an issue with the drains, apparently one of the waste pipes has some sort of lip or misalignment which catches 'stuff' and causes bad drainage. There have been two occasions when this has happened so far and on both we were straight in touch with the landlord who sorted out the relevant people to come and fix the issue.

As above you need to take a tougher stance, put things in writing and set dates for action, otherwise they'll walk all over you.

In relation to the standard of landlord I'd give ours a 9/10 and based on some of the stories I here of others I suspect a score that high would be pretty rare! The problem seems to be that most of them don't see that they are, in effect, running a business and just look at a rented property as a cash cow that coughs up some money once a month!

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The landlord essentially refused to have anything to do with clearing the blockage as he said we'd caused it.

Given that our bath, sink and toilet was full of crappy water and we needed to wash and didn't want to cork ourselves (!) I took the initiative.

My issue was not with you going out and paying for the drains to be cleared.

It's then questioning whether or not you should get that money back from your landlord.

Of course you should.

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As an ex UK EHO I can recall dealing with these type of problems.

Assuming the 'drain' was solely used by your household a blockage (turds, nappies etc) would be the responsibility of the occupier (you) unless the cause was a structural defect such as a collapse then responsibility passes to the owner.

If the drain is shared at the point of blockage / collapse the same above applies but responsibility is shared between all occupiers / owners upstream. This is where it usually becomes complicated and the EHO gets involved and undertakes the work in default after 48 hours of sewage spilling everywhere due to a statutory limitation. The responible parties are then billed the costs and reasonable expenses of the Council.

Draining law in the UK is a freaking nightmare. One point to remember though is that the water company have a statutory duty for all drains built before October 1937 ;)

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My issue was not with you going out and paying for the drains to be cleared.

It's then questioning whether or not you should get that money back from your landlord.

Of course you should.

Too right. Of course you should! Some landlords really do grind my gears.

I hope you get/ have received the money for this..

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I've now requested reimbursement for the drain company costs from the landlord.

Landlord is now insinuating that it was the drain company we called out who broke the pipes!

I've pointed out that we were acting on his instructions.

Will see what happens next.

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  • 238 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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