Who’s responsible for a blocked gutter?!

by Readers Question

9:36 AM, 30th May 2013
About 8 years ago

Who’s responsible for a blocked gutter?!

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Who’s responsible for a blocked gutter?!

Who's responsible for a blocked gutter?!Is there a definitive list of what is the landlord’s responsibility and what the tenant should be expected to do as routine care?

It’s pretty obvious on who’s responsibility most repairs fall on, but something like a roof gutter that gets blocked each year by falling leaves – as they do on every other house in the neighbourhood?

As the landlord in this case, I have arranged a handyman to go out and sort it, but it has left me wondering where the ‘line’ is.



Eric Shuster

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Tom Thumb

11:03 AM, 6th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Mike!

I have little doubt you'll be back to read this thread... 😉

Because I do like a good argument, I will answer your first - rhetorical - question too; no, I don't - in any shape or form whatsoever - believe in the existence of a divine being; if anything, I am one of those 'aggressive atheists' you read about. It ISN'T a case of it being 'provable' or not - you often CANNOT prove something DOESN'T exist, but you can certainly show that there is absolutely no reason TO believe - for no rational reason - that it might.

And I have read extensively on the evidence for evolution, and accept that it absolutely does fit - in every single way. Ergo, based on factual evidence, that's where my cookie crumbles.


Similarly, all I have been looking for on this whole thread is 'evidence' for people's claims on who is responsible. And all I have had in reply is "implied", "expect", "...the act but we definitely interpret it differently..." etc etc.

However, I have now pretty much come around full circle again... and it does seem very likely that is IS the Tenant's responsibility - so thank you for your contribution to this thread, which HAS helped!

And have a good hol... 🙂

7:27 AM, 12th June 2013
About 7 years ago

How depressing that people in the business of owning and managing property in this country don't consider it as a consequence of owning a property that nature blocks gutters and that they would rather stand back and argue the toss while the building decayed around their Feet. The gutters would clog anyway they don't clog because the tenant uses it. I don't know of many landlords that clear the gutters before the tenant moves in to demonstrate that all the landords liabilities are discharged prior to commencement. To have to scour tiny law cases rather than get on with it is truely depressing. Don't manage your buildings from a desk.. It is clear what the Act says so I hope most her take it on board. All legal cases have circumstances that often don't apply in all cases.

Mark Alexander

7:38 AM, 12th June 2013
About 7 years ago

@Geoff Hunt - I think you are saying it's the owner and not the tenant who is responsible for cleaning out gutters. If cutting grass, cleaning windows and vacuuming carpets is "acting is a tenant like manner" why isn't cleaning out guttering?

I do take your point in part, i.e. if the tenant isn't doing it the landlord needs to take action to prevent further damage. However, who should be responsible for costs? I think it is quite clear that it's the tenants, same as if they leave the property dirty, it comes out of their deposit to put it right.

Not sure I've seen evidence of the cleanliness of guttering on an inventory yet though so that might make things interesting if a case was taken to deposit dispute arbitration, which judging by the number of conflicting opinions on this thread, will happen sooner or later.

Tom Thumb

10:17 AM, 12th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Geoff.

Thanks for your comments.

You say "It is clear what the Act says so I hope most her take it on board." The whole purpose of this thread is to determine what the Act does say, because it's ANYTHING but clear. No-one on this thread has been able to cite with certainty what the Act says on this matter, however tetchy they've become over the matter (Hi, Industry Observer! 🙂 ). If you have the definitive answer, then PLEASE, for all our sanity, state it.

Even our Letting Agent considers this to be a 'grey area'. And I suspect the very last thing a Tenant OR Landlord needs is 'grey areas', because once you walk into that no-man's land, then similar tasks can also become issues for 'discussion'.

Is it really 'depressing' for me to want to know for sure? Really?!

10:39 AM, 12th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Eric

I do not know why you are getting so concerned. We include drainage and gutters etc, along with other general house keeping requirememts, in our tenancy agreements and tenant's T&C's. Tenant's accept this and we have had no problems to date why is this an issue with you? I assume there is no case history because no one is so high on principles to take the matter to court to set a precedent for a £50 gutter clearing excercise when there is already case history on general requirememts and housekeeping.

I think we all need to keep this thread in perspective and can only confirm our approach works for my Landlords.

Tom Thumb

11:54 AM, 12th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Thanks, Neil - that's helpful.

I don't think I've been overly concerned about the actual issue at the centre of this, but I have been somewhat bemused as not being able to have this seemingly simple question answered. Hence this loooong thread.

I'm pretty sure it has been answered now.

Many thanks to all 🙂

Patricia Barber

6:28 AM, 20th June 2013
About 7 years ago

The simple answer is check your tenancy agreement. This lists all the general responsibilities of tenant and landlord. Usually Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements (AST's) cover things like unblocking drains and keeping gutters clear. If this isn't covered, you may need to put this clause in next time you let - if you are using a letting agent this should be covered, if not you will need to look at the sort of tenancy agreement you are using to make sure you are fully protected.

11:47 AM, 20th June 2013
About 7 years ago

At the time the property is let the gutters should be clear and downpipes in good order, no leaks or obvious failings. The property should then be maintained in this condition by the tenant. If they are not clear and in good order at move in then the argument is if the tenant and landlord should proportionally settle the invoice. The situation would be different for a block of flats as the management company would be responsible for repairs in most cases.

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