Who is Responsible for a Blocked Drain – Tenant or Landlord?

Row of terrace houses

If you’re renting a property, it is important to understand who is responsible for looking after and maintaining each aspect of the property to avoid any unexpected bills or charges. Drainage can often be an overlooked, yet costly aspect of a property, especially when issues are left unaddressed. Therefore it’s a good idea to brush up on your knowledge when it comes to who is responsible for blocked drains in a rented property.

What happens if you leave a drain blocked?

Drains which have become blocked can cause further damage if left untreated. Debris can build up within pipes and cause your home to be at a higher risk of flooding or causing permanent damage to pipework and the property’s drainage system. Read more about drain unblocking and cleaning.

Do I have a blocked drain?

A blocked sink, toilet or drain will often emit foul or unpleasant smells and water may drain slower than usual. This is usually how people recognise their drain is blocked. Blockages in your drains can occur when fat, oil and grease mix in the pipes as well as objects like wipes and sanitary products.

You can often avoid blockages by only flushing the 3ps (pee, poo and paper) and always putting items such as baby wipes and nappies in the bin. Even if a product’s packaging states that it is flushable, it’s still wise to discard it in the bin rather than the toilet to avoid blockages and fatbergs from forming.

Are blocked drains my landlord’s responsibility?

Blocked drains are not necessarily a landlord’s responsibility to fix. A tenant is responsible for repairing clogged or broken drains inside the boundaries of the property.

If you suspect there is a blockage in your drains, you should inform your landlord straight away. It is a tenant’s responsibility to inform the landlord about any blockages, damage or leaks that could cause a flood or any further damage. This ensures damage can be quickly and efficiently fixed and prevented.

For blockages outside of your property, such as those in the road, pavements or sometimes in-between two properties, it is usually your utility company who is held responsible for fixing it. Your utility company will usually maintain the pipes and sewers that are shared by several properties and exterior drainage, outside of a property’s boundaries. If you are looking for more information on who is responsible for fixing wastewater pipes and drains visit our wastewater responsibility guide.

Where the drains in a property are shared or communal, such as those in flats or apartments, the responsibility falls on each tenant to resolve the issue if one becomes blocked. See our handy guide which explains who is responsible for each type of drain blockage, including a tenants, landlord or utility company.

Make sure to refer to your individual tenancy agreement for specific information on your responsibilities as well as your landlord’s. If you are still unsure about what problems you are responsible for in your home, you can read more about flooding due to a blockage or check if your septic tank needs emptying.

Here at UKDN we offer a fast and cost-effective 24-hour service for unblocking residential and commercial drains and sewers, nationwide. If you think your drains could be blocked and causing problems to your property, get in touch with UKDN today by filling in our contact form or alternatively, you can call us on 0333 344 2937.