Man hole drain installed wrong, 2 blocked sewage outlets

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    Man hole drain installed wrong, 2 blocked sewage outlets

    Hi all,

    I am a residential tenant who has been in this quite new house for just under 2 weeks now.

    Firstly, I understand that I am responsible for keeping drains in good repair and if they were to become blocked, that I am to clear them myself. No problem, I have drain snakes, plumbing rods etc.... it's our poo, I'll clean it.

    2 toilets, the main bathroom and master en-suite have been incredibly slow to drain and obviously a little backed up since the first day of our arrival. Assuming it was a mild blockage we put the usual chemicals down the loo. Over the next week it just got worse. Finally this weekend we bought a set of drain rods to tackle the ugly end of the problem.

    We cant believe this! The man hole base clearly has the manufacturer bung left in place where both toilets drain into the manhole. Here is a link to the manhole base I am talking about:

    http://www.twsplastics.co.uk/store/i...hole-base.html

    Of course we have phoned and emailed both the estate agent and the landlord about this. We have explained very clearly to them what the issue is. We are told it is OUR problem and they will not pay any bill to have it rectified.

    Meanwhile, the toilets which were both brimming to the rim in properly broken down (chemicalled) sewage porridge has finally gone down after about 48 hours. What concerns me is where to?! Could it be in the walls? The laundry underneath these bathrooms has been stinking with it.

    A couple plumbers let us down over the weekend and I am currently awaiting a APHC registered plumber to come round. I figured that if the landlord denies responsibility and I have to make a claim, them it needs to be a trustworthy accredited plumber that reports on this.

    There was apparently some work carried out on the property just before we moved in and the landlord insists that all the drainage was checked out thoroughly. This is why he is so adamant it is not his problem.

    As a good tenant, I am quite dissapointed.

    please tell me I am right that this particular issue is not something I should be having to deal with.

    I have reported the defect, I have tried all I can to rectify it, and I am now having to do all I can to make sure the problem doesnt become worse.

    As there are many landlords here, I am asking you what is the best way I can deal with this problem and recoup costs. I thought the owner would have given me the contact for those who did this so called good work for him so at least he could recoup the costs but he isnt even entertaining that idea!

    Do we move straight back out and sue him for the 6 months rent we just paid upfront plus damages? We are talking £1000/month here

    #2
    I think it best to wait and see what the plumber says. Drain layouts can seem confusing, and have confused me on occasion.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

    Comment


      #3
      It's not your job to fix builders mistakes.

      You are happy to unblock drains blocked by you, but you are not
      responsible for incorrectly fitted items.

      so you go into the house, and you can't get into a bedroom because
      a door has been fitted the wrong way round ( door opens the wrong
      way, as hinges on wrong side or whatever )
      It's NOT your problem to fix it.

      Go back to the agent and say - "Stop telling me lies"
      I did not fit a drain junction with no where for the water to leave
      the grounds of the house.
      Fix it now or the house will become uninhabitable, via swerage and
      the council will slat a 28 day enforcement notice on you, and take you
      to court . and if they don't, I will.

      Good luck

      R.a.M.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Brighter-Technology View Post
        The man hole base clearly has the manufacturer bung left in place where both toilets drain into the manhole.
        Have to say this does seem unlikely - are you sure you're seeing what you think you are? If the toilet outflows were definitely 100% blocked off, then they would be just that, and nothing at all would ever have flushed down since they were originally installed. "A little backed up", as you put it originally, simple wouldn't begin to describe it.

        Could you be looking at the wrong manhole, for example?

        I would wait for a pro to take a look and see what they say.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Brighter-Technology View Post
          Firstly, I understand that I am responsible for keeping drains in good repair
          No, this is clearly the landlord's statutory obligation as per s.11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

          Comment


            #6
            The vast majority of drain blockages are from the user putting inapproriate waste down the plug-hole. The cost of rectifying this type of blockage lies with the tenant - although see above for the repsonsibility to carry out the works.

            In this case, based upon what has been put, it sounds like there might be something fundamentally wrong with original installation.

            Regardless, the LL needs to be acting to ressolve it. If the house is 2-years old then the LL may have a claim against the NHBC or the developer to rectify it. This, however, has no bearing on your LLs duty to you.

            As you have paid a big chunk in advanced rent you may find, in practical terms, the LL un responsive.

            You need to give them time to act, but if they do not then you need to contact EH as this could turn into a public health matter - the man hole may over flow which is not good for the community.
            There is always scope for misinterpretation.

            If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

            Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

            Comment


              #7
              I had a similar problem recently tried rodding it but kept hitting what I thought was a rat trap (Or similar). Had it camera surveyed - was a broken drain pipe that had snapped as it came out of the wall. Local drain chap charged £400 to replace the snapped drain, including camera survey etc.

              If it was me, I'd get the drain camera surveyed.

              Whatever happens, the landlord is responsible to ensure that the drains work as per S 11 of the L&T 1985 (see italics below). If you've put stuff down that you shouldn't and that's blocked it they may seek reimbursement as a result of your negligence, but ultimately the burden of proof is on them, and the responsibility to ensure it is fully functional is with them.

              I would be minded to report said agent to their professional body (if any). To also tell you that you're liable when the law states otherwise could constitute fraud if they knowingly tried to pass the buck. In any event suggests complete incompetence.

              I do tend to agree though, these types of man holes will have bungs to block up unwanted drainage holes but these will need to actually be put in and don't come pre-installed. I've met some pretty stupid builders, but surely thats a bridge too far!?

              (1)In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor—

              (a)to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
              Please note, all of the above assumes you're on an AST.
              [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                I think it best to wait and see what the plumber says. Drain layouts can seem confusing, and have confused me on occasion.
                Yes, I am no plumber or drainage expert and after it's now been looked at, it seems that this particular manhole inlet probably should be blocked off but it still isnt good news at all.

                I got an APHC approved plumber to inspect. He has inspected both toilets and also the drainage of the sinks in the two bathrooms. The sinks and showers are draining properly, and the downstairs toilet which obviously drain sewage on a different set of pipes are draining properly. In his professional opinion, there is an internal blockage that can not possibly have been caused during our tenancy. Unfortunately, it is also his opinion that the blockage is where the sewage from both toilets join and that it will be serious work to rectify including the removal of both toilets and the bathroom tiling to be able to access the problem.

                I rang the council for some advise and quite correctly I need to put the details in writing. I got the previous email chain started by my husband and wrote a lengthy addition to it to the letting agency.

                Just what you need when just moved into a house, a week before Christmas!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post

                  If it was me, I'd get the drain camera surveyed.
                  Excellent idea! Thanks

                  My email was a very hard hitting one and the agent is on his way immediately. I did have to threaten section 11 and inform them I have the council on their way to inspect but seems to be doing the trick so far. Somehow I don't think it's an easy fix one way or another though

                  Comment


                    #10
                    This is just charming! What part of we have only been here 2 weeks and that the loos were INCREDIBLY slow to drain to start with dont they understand!!



                    Hi xxxx.

                    As you know I am away on holiday. I'm really sorry to hear of your problems.

                    However, I always want to ensure my staff are responding quickly, and constantly monitor my email for emergencies like this.

                    After visiting the property, My client (Paul xxxx) has clearly instructed me not to pay or instruct any work, as he is sure the fault has been caused by you, stating the previous tenants never had a problem, and everything worked fine for over a year.

                    Paul is my client, and as the agent, my responsibility is to pass this message on to you, as it is to pass your messages onto him.

                    There is nothing else I can do.

                    Paul has visited, as well as xxxx.

                    Therefore if anyone's instructing dynarod, it needs to me you.

                    However, If you are told there is a more fundamental problem (ie dynarod cant fix it) by all means pass this onto me, and I will relay to my client.

                    Regards and I hope you get this sorted.


                    James





                    ... So do we start ripping tiles off the wall? The most unfortunate part of this is that the access to all the pipework has been boxed and tiled in.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I wouldn't start ripping off tiles. Maybe Dynorod can remove the wc's to insert a camera or drain snake.
                      To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I wouldnt rip off tiles


                        The landlord have instructed the letting agency to do literally nothing.

                        in my understanding, the LL is supposed to rectify the problem, and then if it is something proven to be caused by us, the tenants, he can then seek to recoup the costs.

                        That's right isnt it?

                        Instead, by the end of tomorrow, I will have had 4 days straight battling, and trying to sort it myself, and then be a minimum of £145 lighter to Dynorod. This is also 2 day i could have been working.

                        Right now, I could cancel Dynorod, wait for council/environmental enforcement. But that would be a 28 day enforcement notice, and a very smelly Christmas.

                        So I am forced to pay for the work but am thinking this will end up in court and we will be moving again very shortly.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Even if you owned the property and wanted to claim on Ins, the Insurer would require the householder to first show blockage was prob caused by an insured risk.
                          Whilst you are correct & LL should repair and claim from Ts if due to Ts fault, last time I did that, spending £500 to expose all external pipes to find blockage caused by compacted disp nappies, Ts refused to pay anything
                          Consider DR an investigation cost, recoverable from LL if you are not to blame.
                          Inform LL via LL that you will employ a specialist contractor to determine the cause and if his written report shows blockage not your fault, then the inspection charge will be deducted from future rent.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by mariner View Post
                            Consider DR an investigation cost, recoverable from LL if you are not to blame.
                            Inform LL via LL that you will employ a specialist contractor to determine the cause and if his written report shows blockage not your fault, then the inspection charge will be deducted from future rent.
                            But what's likely to happen is that a contractor will find a blockage in the pipe caused by a wodge of baby wipes/dinky toy/nappy/whatever:

                            Originally posted by mk1fan View Post
                            The vast majority of drain blockages are from the user putting inapproriate waste down the plug-hole.
                            The tenant will say 'wasn't me; it's been blocked since I moved in 2 weeks ago'; and the landlord will say 'it was fine before you moved in'. It's probable that the inspection/unblocking operation won't be able to pinpoint the time the blockage occurred. Stalemate?

                            Comment

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