blocked drains responsibility

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  • blocked drains responsibility

    I have a friend who has never rented before (it is a family relocation and he has yet to sell his own place) and he is paying around 2,500pcm. His LL is an accidental LL who wants to sell the house when the tenancy agreeement expires and therefore has little knowledge of what being a LL means (and no committment to finding out either!).

    The tenancy agreeement requires my friend to “maintain the gutters and pipes”. Recently the sewer under the driveway was blocked and the LL refused to pay for this to be cleaned saying it was a tenant responsibility as stated in the agreement under pipework. I think you can argue it either way in that if the T had poured something down which caused the blockage they should pay or it is a LL responsiblity as it is a fixture and fitting?

    However, the problem in this case is that the plumber confirmed it is a shared drain which also links to the next door property so should my friend insist that the LL obtain 50% of the cost from the neighbour, on the basis that it is impossible to clearly establish blame as to who caused the blockage, ie could be my friend or the freeholder next door?

  • #2
    The OFT made it very clear that the clause relating to gutters are unenforceable as there is a H&S issue

    The general rule is if the tenant caused the blockage they pay to unblock it but if the drain is damaged the LL is responsible for the repair under section 11 of the 1985 Landlord Tenant Act which is usually covered by their insurance.

    Tenant and neighbour should pay a cleaning company to flush the drain however if it happened again there is an issue the LL/neighbour should resolve

    Around semantics, the LL is most definitely responsible for "maintaining" the gutters and drains again under the act above


    • #3
      The reference is to s.11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985: see
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
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      2. Telephone advice: see
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