Who is liable for plumbing problems ?

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    Who is liable for plumbing problems ?

    hiya

    would appreciate some help

    been renting a 3 bed house for about 3 months now

    in eth 1st month we were here the ensuite toilet became blocked and we had to have it fixed which took about 5 mins. The plumber brought it to our attention that it was a mascerator system and that they arent very good and can become blocked quite easily.

    anyway, cut to 2 months on, just last week.... and it becomes blocked again but this time the mascertaor has groudn to a halt and the motor may have burnt out. The cost estimate is around 800 pounds to fix.

    The landlord is not happy and has suggested that when it was blocked teh first time it should have set alarm bells ringing and we should have been more careful and we blocked it and damaged it therefore we should pay for it.

    Now im unsure as to how we stand on this. We have been vigilant with the toilet although my wife did definitely put a tampon down there about a week before it became blocked. We now understand that you are not supposed to do that with mascerators (although they are designed to be flushed down toilets !) . On the one hand i feel sorry for the landlord and it may well be this that caused the thing to expire. But on the other hand, we were given no instructions or warnings about just how delicate this mascerator system and there is no manual in the house. Also, the plumber laughed when he saw the install and was telling me how ridiculously unreliable they are and even one restuarant he used to look after he used to fix them there on a fortnightly basis ! Its quite possible that the unit has been in steady decline for some time and could have given up the ghost in any case, regardless of what use it has seen recently.

    Any advice would be appreciated. It could be argued that we have shown negligence but then how were we to know ? Also, shouldnt the failure of this electrical device be under the lanlords rental home insurance ?

    #2
    Originally posted by benpincus View Post
    hiya

    would appreciate some help

    been renting a 3 bed house for about 3 months now

    in eth 1st month we were here the ensuite toilet became blocked and we had to have it fixed which took about 5 mins. The plumber brought it to our attention that it was a mascerator system and that they arent very good and can become blocked quite easily.

    anyway, cut to 2 months on, just last week.... and it becomes blocked again but this time the mascertaor has groudn to a halt and the motor may have burnt out. The cost estimate is around 800 pounds to fix.

    The landlord is not happy and has suggested that when it was blocked teh first time it should have set alarm bells ringing and we should have been more careful and we blocked it and damaged it therefore we should pay for it.

    Now im unsure as to how we stand on this. We have been vigilant with the toilet although my wife did definitely put a tampon down there about a week before it became blocked. We now understand that you are not supposed to do that with mascerators (although they are designed to be flushed down toilets !) . On the one hand i feel sorry for the landlord and it may well be this that caused the thing to expire. But on the other hand, we were given no instructions or warnings about just how delicate this mascerator system and there is no manual in the house. Also, the plumber laughed when he saw the install and was telling me how ridiculously unreliable they are and even one restuarant he used to look after he used to fix them there on a fortnightly basis ! Its quite possible that the unit has been in steady decline for some time and could have given up the ghost in any case, regardless of what use it has seen recently.

    Any advice would be appreciated. It could be argued that we have shown negligence but then how were we to know ? Also, shouldnt the failure of this electrical device be under the lanlords rental home insurance ?
    This is a tricky one because yes, it would have been sensible of the LL to point out the need to be extra careful about what you put down a macerator toilet system, however, as a tenant it could be argued you have a responsibility to know the limitations of fixtures and equipment that you are using on a daily basis.

    We have such a toilet in a student property (siting problems - it was the only alternative to having a whacking great soil stack coming down the front of an Edwardian semi!). The first year, with six careful students, it never broke down once. Last year, with six less careful ones, it broke down twice : once when they flushed a pair of boxer shorts down it, and once when they flushed a tampon down. That was despite a very clear notice above said toilet warning of the consequences!

    The breakdown is unlikely to be covered on the LL's insurance since it was negligence on your part which caused it. It would be the same as if you left something (like a cup hook) in the pocket of an item washed in a washing machine, that went on to damage the machine's innards. (I speak from experience here!)

    I think in the end, you are partly liable for the repair and for finding out how these systems work and how to use them properly. Why not suggest going halves with LL on this? Unless the system was new at start ofyour tenancy, he cannot in any case insist you pay full cost of a new one - that would be 'betterment' and it's not usually allowed.

    By the way, £800 sounds like a hell of a lot. Ours cost £300 to buy and £200 to instal from scratch- it's not that big a job. Even 'commercial premises' models only cost about £400 and it's a day's job at most to put in. It may be he's trying to upgrade at your expense - get a couple of quotes yourself for replacing current model, just to check?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      thanks very much, thats all very interesting

      i think 50/50 is teh most likely route we were thinking of


      the only other route was maybe to get the thing out and diagnose the problem.. if there is indeed a tampon there or a childrens toy or something that we have obviously put there then fine...

      but it looks more like a case of gradual decline then we don't pay. The thing is, thinking about it the first blockage came in the first week we moved in and came about when my wife was using the shower. And after it was fixed on thet occasion a smell lingered that never really went away fully. So from the outset we had reasons to suspect the units condition. From our POV its entirely possible that the system was giving them problems before we moved in.



      regarding costs, the machine is behind a fixed panel which is behind the pan and 4 gallons of water needs to be drained out so its 3 hours just to remove it. I think thats where the cost comes from but you are right we will get some other quotes if possible. I think he said the replacement macerator was 500 pounds so that could be a bit too expensive.

      Comment


        #4
        The engineer who instals a new one will be able to show you the object that blocked and broke the old one, if it was an object. (That's how we were able to demand that the students paid for our repair - £70). If there was something in it so 'tough' that it did not dissolve, in fact, so tough it broke the macerator fins, then it will still be there snarled up in the thing. Smelling vile.

        It would be worth finding out exactly how old the system was. If we're talking 7-10 years then I would say this was on its way out anyway and he's a bit cheeky expecting you to pay for a new one.

        Good luck. The good news is that the new models are better designed and quieter than the old ones. They still have to be treated with respect though -only human waste, loo roll and liquid cleaners may be put down them. No sanitary protection products of any kind (these are bad for the environment if put down any toilets not just saniflos). Apparently the plastic caps from loo cleaners/bleach cause many blockages, too!

        I've just realised this could be my specialist subject on 'Mastermind' - bit sad, I suppose!
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


          #5
          thanks again

          I think screwfix sell ones between 250 and 350 with a few above the 400 mark

          but 300 sounds about right

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by benpincus View Post
            thanks again

            I think screwfix sell ones between 250 and 350 with a few above the 400 mark

            but 300 sounds about right
            Yup...and as the plastic piping is all there to take the squished waste into the soil stack (ie from the macerator outwards), I really cannot see how anyone can justify charging £800.

            Following a riveting (!) conversation on this subject over the tea table, we recalled two more details which might be of use to you:

            the Saniflo engineer said that once the fins of a macerator have been damaged (by misuse), they are never really the same again. An undamaged macerator can last years, but one which has had to be unblocked has a limited life expectancy...

            however, the new 'light commercial premises' model (Sanibest) can (apparently) cope with 'the odd tampon or condom'. We will go for that model when ours finally dies, but we will still be telling the students to put nothing down it except, etc.

            Hope this all helps!
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


              #7
              Saniflos... "instruments of the devil": see http://www.cucumber.demon.co.uk/diy_test/Q9.1.html

              or

              http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk....55ec5fb0bfb2b0

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
                Very amusing, and I couldn't agree more. A Saniflo is never one's preferred option! However, there are guaranteed to be very good reasons why a 'normal' Thos Crapper & Co style toilet cannot be installed in a particular property (e.g. see my post, above) and it's the next best thing.
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have several, and a saniflow at top end of range is around £600 ..if i were replacing one ...seals solvent weld etc (+vat ,call out ) i would not be doing it for a £5 !

                  Ask for a breakdown of quote and establish how old it is .

                  I NEVER pay anything like this for a macerator ...i bought one this week for £87 inc pp on ebay from Plumbworld ...how long will it last ? ...dont know, but i can buy 6 new ones b4 getting to cost of a "genuine" non flowing Saniflow!

                  The Rodent
                  A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
                  W.Churchill

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