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  • Legal FAQs

    Blocked sink drains

    Has anyone had experience of dealing with blocked sink drains?

    Last year, a tenant kept putting bits of food waste down the sink (I saw this myself when I made the initial attempt to unblock it). A further 3 visits were needed by plumbers and an unblocking company before the problem was resolved, by which time the tenant had left. It cost me a lot of money.

    A similar thing has recently happened with another property, (unbeknown to me as the agents organised it, although this time the report appears to absolve the tenants), again costing me money, not cheap.

    I was led to believe, after reading an article in a property magazine, that the tenant is liable to pay for blocked sinks and drains.

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    IT all depends upon what the problem is. If you get a professional in to unblock the drain ask them what the cause was. If its down to the tenant  putting things down that they should not them its their fault. If its something more structural then its down to you.

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    s11 of LL & T Act 1985

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/11

    - says landlord is responsible  """"

    11 Repairing obligations in short leases.

    (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),

    (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, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and

    etc etc    """""

    However, clearly, if LL believe T was cause of blockage then LL is at liberty to invite T to pay & if T fails to do so to attempt recovery of costs from deposit or via small claims.  And issue s21, should he wish to, for no reason at all.

    Appreciate others may interpret the law otherwise:

    See also from Mssrs Shelter..

    https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/hous...t_act_1985

    In your circumstances Mark I'd invite T to pay, if he didn't I would fix it (unblock) then send bill to T, then deposit or small-claims if he didn't pay, and issue s21.

    I wouldn't wish to engage with the council over not repairing drains & possibility of s21 thus being invalid, retaliatory eviction & all that...

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publication...dance-note

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    Tenants are required to behave in a 'tenant like manner' irrespective of any repairing or maintenance obligations.

    Stuffing food down a sink without a waste disposal unit is clearly NOT behaving in a 'tenant like manner'.

    Tenant is therefore liable for the bill.

    In fact the tenant is clearly an idiot and needs to be advised that idiotic behaviour will be charged for out of the deposit if the tenant refuses to pay the bill for the issues they have caused.




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