who is responsible for blocked sink

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    who is responsible for blocked sink

    Hi All

    I'm a newbie here so treat me gently with a simple question, it is just a situation that I have not considered before.

    Just some background, I have a flat which I have been renting out for about six years, it is currently let out via an agent. The current tennant has been in for 6 months.

    I just got my latest statement from the agent and there is a charge for sending the handyman in for unblocking the sink in the bathroom.

    My question is a simple one, should I be paying this as the landlord or is this a cost that should be borne by the tennant?

    This is not a major issue but I keep arguing with myself as to who should really foot the bill.

    Any thoughts gratefully received thanks

    C

    #2
    Part of being a tenant is the tenant 'acts in a tenant like manner'. This means that he treats the place as he would if he owned it. A minor matter like a blocked sink should be sorted out by him, after all, it's his muck that blocked it. Buy him a plunger.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


      #3
      I do believe that is the landlords responsibility.

      Comment


        #4
        I think you probably have to take a bit of a pragmatic approach to it.

        Arguably, given the tenant has only been in 6 months, much of what needed clearing out could well have been slowly built up by previous tenants.

        Equally, if it blocks again when the same tenant is in there, there's a pretty good argument they should paying the cost (assuming there's no underlying fault with the drains).

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Terry_Baker View Post
          I do believe that is the landlords responsibility.
          I disagree. Most tenancy agreements make the tenant liable for unblocking sinks and drains for the reasons jta explains. If it is a recurrent problem and T is adamant he is not putting anything inappropriate down it, or if it is a drain which is shared with a neighbour, then it may be a good idea for the LL to investigate and it may be that in exceptional circumstances LL is liable.

          Otherwise, T should wield the plunger - or pay someone else to.

          LL is responsible for maintaining sanitary applicances and pipework in working order (e.g. replacing them if leaking/cracked), but that does not, I believe, extend to unblocking them of the T's gunge.
          '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


            #6
            Thanks for the replies so far, what a find this forum is!

            Just a bit more info following the previous posts, the bathroom was completely refurbished 4 years ago, there have been no issues with blocked sinks, to my knowledge, since then (or before). drains are not shared.

            My initial thoughts, which seem to follow the slight majority so far, were that as the drain worked OK initially then the blockage ocurred due to something the tennant has done which in my simple mind says that they should pay for it.

            It is like saying that the tyres or brake pads on my car should be covered by the warranty, clearly this is a "running expense" and not covered by the initial agreement.

            I'll have a word with the agents in the morning.

            C

            Comment


              #7
              Soda Crystals and boiling water are usually sufficient rather than a plunger!

              I would say it is tenants issue and not LL.
              GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

              Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

              Comment


                #8
                I recommend Mr Muscle or other similar drain-unblocking fluids.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                  I recommend Mr Muscle or other similar drain-unblocking fluids.
                  It depends on what is causing the blockage, and it's always worth trying a plunger first as a low-tech, no chemical method. If you suspect the U bend is blocked, you can usually dismantle it and clear it manually, but it isn't pleasant. If you have to use a proprietary remedy, some are more environmentally harmful than others. Boiling water and soda as j-a-s suggests will shift greasy gunk* as well as anything, (*the cause of most domestic sink blockages). Mr Muscle is undeniably effective but very caustic (corrosive).
                  '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


                    #10
                    If anybody in the house uses those cotton baby buds and leaves them anywhere near the sink they will always find their way into the u bend, setting up a handy dam for any hair etc that goes down it. I hate the things.
                    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Section 11 LTA 1985 says:

                      [...]there is implied a covenant by the lessor [...]to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for [...] for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences[...]) [...]

                      If a sink is blocked it is not in proper working order. It is therefore the landlord's responsibility. The only question is whether the circumstances are such that the landlord can claim the cost from the tenant. If the blockage is shown to be an accumulation of debris arising from normal use then it is all down to the landlord. On the other hand a blockage caused by emptying the chip pan down the sink ought to be down to the tenant when it comes to cost.

                      A landlord can always include provisions (a) requiring the tenant not to do anything that will cause the sinks and lavatories to be blocked (b) to use appropriate drain clearing products at the recommended intervals and (c) to reimburse the landlord the cost of unblocking which results from a failure to comply with (a) or (b).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        That's an extract from s.11(1)(b). Also see:
                        i. s.11(1)(a) which relates to L keeping in repair "...drains, gutters, and external pipes."; and
                        ii. s.11(2), freeing L from responsibility for various things. L is not required thereunder [my underlining]:
                        (a) to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part,
                        (b) to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or
                        (c) to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling-house.[/u]
                        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I just picked tis up from another post on the forum, this seems to put the ball into the tennants court.

                          letlink.co.uk/case-law/disrepair/warren-v-keen-1954.htm

                          sorry I cant post the link directly, not enough posts.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Here's the full Court of Appeal report: http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup...method=boolean

                            Here's what Lord Denning said: "But what does it mean, "to use the premises in a tenantlike manner"? It can, I think, best be shown by some illustrations. The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary, and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see that his family and guests do not damage it; and if they do, he must repair it. But apart from such things, if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time or for any reason not caused by him, then the tenant is not liable to repair it The landlord sought to put upon the tenant a higher obligation. He said that the duty of the tenant was to keep the premises wind and watertight and to make fair and tenantable repairs thereto...I do not think that is a correct statement of the obligation."
                            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              A few months ago a student T rang, text and emailed me 'urgently'. It seemed that one of his mates had poured oil from his frying pan down the sink and now it was all blocked up...
                              I advised a kettle full of boiling water to start with followed by the soda crystal solution and to their surprise it cleared up a treat! I dread to think what kind of problems they will have when they have their own property.

                              Comment

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