Leaking cistern - whose responsibility to repair?

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    Leaking cistern - whose responsibility to repair?

    I recently noticed that there is a constant stream of water from the cistern into the toilet bowl. This is a real concern for us as we are on a water meter! I emailed the landlord to notify him and I asked him to repair it i.e. get a plumber.
    He replied saying he doesn't think this is anything new, he doesn't think it's ever been a perfect shut off. He said he isn't inclined to call a plumber for this sort of thing and in this instance this should be in our remit. He asks for our understanding in this, saying he is trying to find a reasonable balance on such issues.
    In my opinion this seems unfair. We have not caused this damage and this fault is costing us money in higher water bills.
    Can anyone advise how the law stands on this issue? Is he correct that we should pay a plumber to fix this?
    Many thanks!
    Last edited by SeriousSignet; 14-10-2016, 18:30 PM. Reason: Error

    #2
    Remind him it's his responsibility:
    Housing act 1985 s11(1){b)

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/11
    (b)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences,
    - he might argue it is in "proper working order". If so mention you plan to invite council to do a HHSRS survey

    Be aware Thatcher's 1988 Housing Act section 21 permits a landlord to evict a tenant for no reason at all.

    That it is not a new fault is irrelevant: e.g. What if the boiler/heating/hot-water hadn't worked for 3 years? Still his problem. Or a hole in the roof
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      #3
      Hi theartfullodger, thanks so much for your reply! I appreciate it.
      The thing is, this leaking cistern isn't a health or safety issue as neither of these is compromised.
      I suppose we could argue that a worn seal causing a leak is not "proper working order".
      Last edited by SeriousSignet; 14-10-2016, 19:57 PM. Reason: Error

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        #4
        I agree with you that I found his reposnse, that it's an old issue, irrelevant

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          #5
          I would fix it as landlord.

          However, you should be aware that the law is not so straightforward - there is legal discussion to the effect that a tenant would be responsible for this sort of stuff (Lord D) - a tenant is supposed to deal with a dripping tap and a blown lightbulb, and this is really a dripping tap. Lord Denning in a Court of Appeal case set a precedent that minor, routine repairs (specifically a dripping tap)is Ts responsibility (whether they fix it themselves or otherwise).

          However I would not want tenant fiddling with my fittings. I am not sure that I agree with artful that Housing act 1985 s11(1){b) does unambiguously cover dripping taps or changing light bulbs ..... ( the **supply** of water/electricity is not interrupted)

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            #6
            if it has never shut off properly then his plumber didnt do the job properly to begin with, therefore landlord's respnsibility

            What sort of cistern is it - I assume its a modern, low level push button type thing as these tend to cause more problems than the old fashioned ones with a handle. It may just need a washer

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kcqm_FVI_Fc

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              #7
              10min job to carefully replace ball cock & valve assembly or bend valve arm down slightly to prevent cistern overflow into bowl. Well within the scope of a competent owner-occupier or T acting in a 'T-like manner'.

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                #8
                Originally posted by mariner View Post
                10min job to carefully replace ball cock & valve assembly or bend valve arm down slightly to prevent cistern overflow into bowl. Well within the scope of a competent owner-occupier or T acting in a 'T-like manner'.
                It may not be that type of cistern, though and the modern push button type can be trickier to install and not within the scope of a competent owner occupier. If a plumber installed it and it's been leaking ever since that is an argument for saying it's not within the competence of a non plumber.

                Meanwhile OP I suggest you find your stop cock and at least turn the water off when the house is empty or overnight.

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