Going down the Drain?

Going down the Drain?

11:16 AM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago 11

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When carrying out the end of tenancy inspection on a student let, I encountered a completely blocked drain outlet from the kitchen and bathroom. This was so bad that the adjacent paved area of the yard had been flooded which had left a congealed mat of fat and there was a watermark and crud on the wall and pipework.

I have always encouraged my student tenants to report any minor defect before it develops into a crisis, so this was a shock. Now that the property is unoccupied, it seems certain that the problem is serious, as the residual water has not drained away.

As we are between tenancies I need to get the drain cleared, however, the departing tenants deny that it is their responsibility and I cannot reach an agreement with them regarding retaining the drainage contractor’s costs from their deposit.

Apart from this problem, the tenants have left the property clean and I will be returning the balance of their deposit in full.

Has anyone had a similar experience and perhaps taken the issue to arbitration by Mydeposits. Surely this sort of neglect does not fall into the normal wear and tear category?

Best wishes
Johnonothing



Comments

by Martin Riddle

11:52 AM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

Deposit organisations will usually always go with the tenants with disputes. The only thing that stops this is quality evidence.
How long have the tenants been there and have they reported a drain blockage problem? When you appoint a contractor get them to give an opinion as to the cause. Is there any history of blockages? Photos and videos are always good but of little use in this situation. The bottom line is in the X number of months no problem was reported, so a reasonable assumption can be made in that the drains were working so the blockage was there fault. Some adjudicators would say this sometimes happens to drains so it a landlord problem. Who would be a landlord!!

by Helen

13:21 PM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

I agree that if it went to arbitration the tenant would probably win. Drains are a sticky issue (excuse the pun.) I am a tenant as well as a landlord and the drain in my rental house got blocked. My landlord refused to do anything when I reported it and said I had to pay. I used a very strong drain unblocker and then managed to get a big fatberg out myself with a stick. So it is worth trying it yourself first.
One of my rental properties had a drain issue too. It is a 3 storey Victorian conversion so it could have come from any of the 3 rented flats in the building. There had been random smells on and off since I bought the place 5 years ago. I decided to bite the bullet and paid almost £1000 to get the drains properly blasted. There was a horrible accumulated mess in there. I felt quite relieved afterwards that the problem had been finally sorted and would not need to be addressed again for many years.
It is worth telling all tenants (and putting it in the contract) that they are not to put any kind of wet wipes or toilet wipes down the toilet. Even if they say they are disposable they are not.

by peter-sharples@outlook.com

15:07 PM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

Usually students leases contain a clause that they are responsible for the drains and any damage that need redress will be at their cost I would not give them back their deposit and would have pictures of before the lease started and when they left.

by peter-sharples@outlook.com

15:08 PM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

Usually students leases contain a clause that they are responsible for the drains and any damage that need redress will be at their cost I would not give them back their deposit and would have pictures of before the lease started and when they left.

by Seething Landlord

15:46 PM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by peter-sharples@outlook.com at 10/08/2021 - 15:07
I think you will find that nothing in the tenancy agreement can override the landlord's statutory duty to maintain the drains.

by alan bloodworth

15:50 PM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

Your esponsibility as a landlord is to provide the necessary drainge facility, the tenant then must use it in a tenant-like manner, ie responsibly. You are not responsible for what the tenants discharge there. If they have caused the problem then they have to sort it out and/or pay the bill. Take loads of photos and keep diary notes, copies of emails etc.

by silversurfer2017

20:38 PM, 10th August 2021, About 2 months ago

Just pay up and put notes in your diary to make regular personal inspection in future!

by Smartermind

7:32 AM, 14th August 2021, About a month ago

This reminds me that many years ago when we lived in a rented flat, the toilet became blocked. I got the landlord to unblock the toilet... and it turned out to have been blocked by a dinky car which had been put in there by my then 5 year old son! Oops!

It is worth taking note that where a property shares drainage with adjacent properties, including roof guttering, then the property that is downstream of the shared drainage can get the water utility to unblock drains free of charge. Our house is in such a position and we have had United Utilities unblock our drains twice, both times free. They are reluctant to do this, but are obliged to do so.

by Jonathan Clarke

4:55 AM, 18th August 2021, About a month ago

You will win if you have evidence evidence evidence. Think of it as a murder scene and crawl all over it for clues. Become a private investigator I matched up the food waste found in the waste pipe to food in their kitchen cupboard. Take videos and photos .Interview the suspects. Children can innocently drop mummy in it sometimes. Incentivise your plumber to act as your evidence gatherer and produce them as your expert witness. I`ve never had a blocked sink in my own house in 30 years because i only put water down it. I don`t see why others cannot do the same . People put other stuff down because they are lazy and inconsiderate if they don't own the property they live in . If the bill is £300 to fix it`s worth paying yourself £50 for an hour to investigate it and you can then make/ save £250.

by silversurfer2017

8:07 AM, 18th August 2021, About a month ago

You can't pay yourself, there is no point as it is not tax deductible. If you do the job yourself you save the cost of the plumbers bill but f you are 20% tax payer it costs you £240 after tax, if you pay 40% tax it will cost £180 after tax. I always look at the net cost to me of any repair work. I recently had a quote on a managed property of £200 for applying decorator caulk inside all the window frames. About 1 hour's work. No brainer for a DIY job. I already had a caulking gun and 99p for a tube of white decorators caulk from Screwfix was the material cost.

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