Who should pay for cat litter leak damage?

Who should pay for cat litter leak damage?

9:47 AM, 31st August 2016, About 8 years ago 13

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I am looking for some advice please, I received a call whilst on holiday from the letting agent for the flat below mine saying they had to get the police to break into my flat, a locksmith to unlock the lock on the door and a plumber to put the water off as I had a leak flowing into the flat below and they weren’t able to get a hold of me or my tenants.cat litter

On the report I received from the plumber it stated that cat litter was being put down the toilet and it had blocked the pipe and ended up in the flat below. The invoice was for £300.

Should I pay this or should the tenant be responsible for this bill ? The tenant was previously informed that pets were not allowed in the flat and as far as I knew she didn’t have any.

Your words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated.



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Neil Patterson

9:49 AM, 31st August 2016, About 8 years ago

Hi Tricia,

That is a new one even for us!

Common sense would tell me this is tenant damage and could come off the deposit, but I would like see what others say.

Abbie Philpott

14:17 PM, 31st August 2016, About 8 years ago

If the tenant was indeed informed (especially if it's written in the lease agreement) that they are not allowed to have any pets in the property, it's more than obvious that they should bear the costs for any damage. Moreover, it's quite stupid to throw away the cat litter in the toilet, who would do that honestly?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

14:38 PM, 31st August 2016, About 8 years ago

Definitely down to tenant damages.

Pleased to hear The Police managed to FLUSH out the culprit who caused such a CRAPPY situation. Let's hope your relationship with your tenant doesn't GO DOWN THE PAN when you break the news.

Why should landlords have to deal with this SH1T?

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:18 AM, 1st September 2016, About 8 years ago

Years ago we had a very vociferous Italian tenant (no relevance to her being Italian, but it's to give some flavour to the story), shouting down the 'phone about a blocked toilet and how she 'pay a lot of dee money' for the house - turns out she was putting nappies down the loo. Being soft, we paid the plumber, but £300 is a lot of money and this is entirely the tenant's fault. Whether you pay it or they pay it, is a matter of balancing out how it will affect the tenancy. It's about human relations really. Tenants get really mad often when they screw up and are expected to pay for their mistakes - so it might make the tenant think about leaving which could cost you more.

I'd be inclined to maybe pay it, keep a note on the file, make sure that the tradesperson has written what the cause was and then whenever the tenancy ends, claim the amount back from the deposit.

Adrian Jones

10:53 AM, 1st September 2016, About 8 years ago

If cat litter was the problem and pets are not allowed, clearly the tenant is responsible.

I'm amazed the police broke in to check the problem and then a locksmith to unlock the door. I have to say this sounds a little strange.


11:15 AM, 1st September 2016, About 8 years ago

Sorry but this doesn't add up. If cat litter, or whatever, blocks a toilet waste it will become evident when the toilet is flushed and doesn't clear. It will only leak if it is continually flushed and overflows the pan. If you weren't there and the tenants weren't there is this a "toilet trained" cat who did the flushing?


11:19 AM, 1st September 2016, About 8 years ago

I agree with Adrian, doesn't sound right unless the locksmith was called to patch up the door. As for the blockage, it is then tenant who should be made responsible to pay for all the damage so caused, due to his own stupidity, by throwing cat litter down the pan, as said Mark, I have cats and love them but one must think of the consequences of throwing cat litter down a pan. I also deter my tenants to have any animals especially the big ones like dogs because they can do far greater damage to a property than poor little cats. So I do allow my tenants to keep cats if they must, dogs are absolutely no no, one tenant had sneaked a dog in when I found out he said it was his mothers dog who is visiting him. tenants are big liers.

I had a similar situation where police had to break in three doors as water had started to leak below, they called police just in case someone having a shower or a bath had collapsed. the damage cost me around £400.00 but I took it off the tenants, as their carelessness caused it, ironically, I had a leak in my own house when I plugged the bathroom sink and started filling it with water at a very tiny flow, the idea was if should I forget to close the tap, then hopefully the water will overflow from the overflow hole of the sink and not flood the bath room, and guess what, my sink's overflow hole must have been blocked up and my bathroom flooded all over and water started to drip through the ceiling below! (Yes it is a kind of stupidity, but I took a calculated risk) I had to fill that sink slowly for a reason I can't go into, but it back fired on me.


13:03 PM, 1st September 2016, About 8 years ago

Thanks everyone for your help, I am speaking with the tenant this afternoon and I will be aiming to deduct the bill from their deposit. Just to clarify they don't have a super cat who uses the loo. I was on holiday and the tenant was in London for a few days but her cousin shares the flat with her and he works shifts & I think he sleeps during the day and doesn't answer the door then works nights so no one could get a hold of him. The letting agent for the flat below brought the police to witness the locksmith unlocking the door then securing it & then they sent in a plumber.

Adrian Jones

14:47 PM, 1st September 2016, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "patricia mcmanus" at "01/09/2016 - 13:03":

Good luck Tricia, let us know how you get on.

By the way it sounds like you don't use a letting agent, might be worth leaving a key with the agent for the downstairs flat.

14:00 PM, 6th September 2016, About 8 years ago

Lord Denning 1954 case law still stands as far as I know. It's been discussed here before I think. Basically if it's due to something being put down the pipe then it is Tenant responsibility. If it is due to wear and tear of the pipe during normal use then it's landlords responsibility.

I think Landlords and Agents automatically fix a lot of things that are clearly Tenants responsibilities. Maybe it's because we are such nice people.

Denning said: ‘The tenant must take proper care of the place. He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, where necessary, and also the windows. He must mend the electric light when it fuses. He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste. In short, he must do the little jobs about the place which a reasonable tenant would do. In addition, he must, of course, not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see his family and guests do not damage it: and if they do, he must repair it.’ and ‘if the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time, or for any reason not caused by him, the tenant is not liable to repair it.’

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