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Who is responsible?

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336 views 1 replies latest reply: 10 October 2015
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Tenant

I am a tenant of a rental property for  4 years now, living alone and never had an issue with the landlord or late payment. Everything has been like clockwork. Now it seems that part of the driveway appears wet and spongy so I contacted the landlord ASAP. It’s being checked over the next few days, possible blockage or burst pipe. I am worried as my contract States in respect of drains…. Blockages the tenant would be responsible would be “flushing inappropriate things such as nappies and sanitary towels down the toilet”. Now I’m a lone male, I don’t flush any of those but I have used flushable wipes. The more I read online everyone says flushable wipes are not flushable!!! If this bears fruit am I responsible?! I would have no way to pay a possible huge repair bill. I’m a bit gutted two fold, that anything is even damaged and that it could be my fault. I pride myself on being a good tenant.

any advice?

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Administrator

Hello

I don’t know much about drains but my experience of flushable wipes is that they’re more likely to block the toilet than to cause something like this. If it’s a burst pipe then it’s certainly nothing to do with you.

If the cause is found to be flushable wipes, and only flushable wipes, then yes it is your responsibiltiy and unfortunately you are probably likely to have to pay for it. However, be wary because landlords will always try to make tenants pay for anything they can, so even if the landlord says it’s all your fault, it isn’t necessarily the case. I certainly wouldn’t go to the landlord and admit to the flushable wipes.

The best approach is probably just to wait and see what the results are of the check that you mention is being carried out. If the landlord comes back to you and asks if you have been flushing anything down the toilet I would be wary of admitting to it. Not because you shouldn’t admit to it if it’s your fault but because the blockage could be a combination of things but if you admit to even one of them then the landlord will try to make you pay for all of it.

Ask for a copy of the inspection report and if there’s any suggestion that you should pay the cost then I would get someone independent to have a look at the problem to make sure it really is your fault. For example, if the pipes are very old and in bad condition that could also have contributed to this situation so the entire cost should not be yours to bear. If you do end up having to pay for it then arrange the work yourself so that you know you’re getting the cheapest price for it – or make sure you’re involved in the process of the landlord hiring someone. If they’re not paying then they won’t be interested in getting the best deal. If the bill is huge then it might even worth making a claim against the manufacturer of the wipes to recoup your loss – as long as the wipes are advertised as flushable.

Yes, it’s important to be a good tenant but landlords often take advantage of this so protect yourself too.

Alex 

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