Landlord guide to drainage and plumbing obligationsMake Text Bigger
Plumbing, drainage and leak questions are very common for readers of property118 so we thought this article from the Drain Doctor would be useful:
Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords are obliged to make basic repairs to a property, particularly those that relate to drainage, pipes and other areas of plumbing. Importantly, the legislation makes it clear that landlords are not permitted to pass on the costs of this kind of repair work to their tenants.
With that in mind, private landlords need to be aware of the repairs they are responsible for and how they can best maintain the plumbing in rental or leased properties.
What are the landlord’s obligations?
Landlords of private rental properties are responsible for completing most major repairs in the home. That includes:
- The structure of the property, including the walls, roof, windows and doors
- Sinks, baths and toilets
- Internal pipework and wiring
- Sewers, drains, guttering and rainwater pipes
- Heating, hot water and radiators
- The safety of gas and electrical appliances
Generally speaking, your property must comply with the following requirements to avoid the risk of an enforcement notice from the local authority:
- All parts of the house should be in good working order and a reasonable state of repair.
- Emergency repairs such as leaking roofs, failed central heating, burst water pipes and faulty electrical installation should be attended to within 24 hours wherever possible. You should also give tenants important information such as emergency contact numbers and instructions about how to turn off the water, gas and electricity supplies.
If you have a disabled tenant, then you may also be required to make reasonable adjustments such as installing handrails in the bathroom.
Tenants’ responsibility for blocked drains
Any minor repairs, such as changing light bulbs and fuses, are the responsibility of the tenant. The tenant should also fix or replace anything they break. Similarly, if the tenant blocks any drains, waste pipes or gullies through misuse, then it is their responsibility to have them repaired.
When should repairs be made?
If a tenant contacts you to inform you of a fault, then you should tell them when you expect the repair to be made. This must be within a reasonable timeframe. What constitutes a reasonable timeframe depends on the severity of the fault.
Urgent repairs – If there is a serious issue that affects the safety or habitability of the property, then it is the responsibility of the landlord to make the repair. Urgent repairs should be attended to within 24 hours whenever possible and include:
- Blocked toilets
- Burst water mains
- Ceiling leaks
- Any other plumbing fault that makes the property unsafe
Non-urgent repairs – The responsibility for non-urgent repairs will depend on the rental agreement and the reason for the fault. It will include things like leaking taps and blocked drains. This type of fault should be repaired within 14 days.
Landlord maintenance tips
1. Check the property’s pipework
It’s important that landlords conduct a thorough audit of the property’s plumbing with a pre-purchase or homebuyers drain survey. They should also check the integrity of fitted appliances before the start of every new tenancy. This will ensure everything is in good working order and identify any jobs that need to be done.
2. Educate tenants on drain health
It’s well worth spending five minutes of your time talking to tenants about what they should and should not be putting down the drain. This can be communicated verbally or in a tenant information pack. You should also explain that any blockages caused by non-biodegradable items in toilets and sinks will be their responsibility to fix.
3. Opt into a plumbing maintenance plan
Plumbing maintenance plans involve regular check-ups and maintenance to not only ensure optimum performance, but also that any issues are identified before they become problematic or expensive to solve. You can customise a plumbing maintenance plan to meet your particular needs and save you money over the long-term.
4. Install and update grease management systems
With up to 70% of drain blockages caused by the build-up of fat, oil and grease, an effective grease management system can help to reduce the risk of a blockage and the expense associated with plumber callouts.
5. Have an emergency plumbing plan in place
Do you have the number of an emergency plumber you know will provide a reliable, cost-effective 24-hour call out service? If not, find out more about our emergency plumber service today.
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