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Blocked toilet - landlord or tenant responsible?

(48 Posts)
LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 20:32:43

I've just had a row with my tenant over a toilet that's got blocked in the house I rent out.

They called asking for an emergency plumber to be sent out immediately. When I suggested that it was the kind of problem they could reasonably be expected to sort out themselves using a plunger or drain unblocker fluid, the husband got very aggressive, telling me I will get no rent and to get someone round NOW, before hanging up on me.

They have been good tenants so far in that they have always paid their rent on time, but the second anything goes wrong they call me and expect me to send round an expensive tradesman immediately. I have done so when the problem was the boiler and there was a leak in the roof, both of which I obviously had repaired as soon as possible. But the blocked toilet strikes me as their problem as it's been blocked by something they (or their child) has put down it. The toilet was installed about a year ago so I doubt it's developed a fault yet.

So who's right, me or them?

smokinaces Thu 10-Feb-11 20:38:34

as someone who has rented on and off in the last 12 years I can only give my opinion really.

I would say if they have tried to unblock it themselves and its failed, then it is down to you to organise the plumber. however if it proves to be something that they have done (e.g. blocked by kids toy) then they should expect to reimburse you.

I rent council now, but anything like that I try and fix myself and dont expect any help from my landlord unless it is a bigger problem than me.

belledechocchipcookie Thu 10-Feb-11 20:40:56

I've never asked a landlord to unblock a toilet. I rarely ask them to do anything except if it's a boiler problem.

traceybath Thu 10-Feb-11 20:41:45

Difficult to tell - could be them or could be a drains issue.

If its the only loo then I think you do need to get a plumber out tomorrow.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 20:44:55

It doesn't sound like there's an issue with the bath/sink etc draining, so it would appear that something they've put in it (too much loo roll, sanitary towel, baby wipes, toy, very large poo) has caused the problem, which I don't see why I should pay for.
His aggressive and threatening attitude is not helping me see this objectively, either.

lalalonglegs Thu 10-Feb-11 20:48:05

I'd pay for it but ask the plumber to explain what he thinks caused the blockage. If it is something that is down to them (some people use weird amounts of loo paper, some women still throw sanitary towels down the loo hmm) then I would warn them that this is what has caused the blockage and the next time it happens the cost of fixing it will be down to them. If possible, get the plumber to write on the receipt the cause if relevant.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Thu 10-Feb-11 20:48:38

I would say it is the tenant's responsibilty as it is more than likely something they have done which is the cause.

Have you checked your tenancy agreement? It probably won't have anything specific about a toilet blockage, but it may say something about minor repairs.

AnnMarlow Thu 10-Feb-11 20:48:52

We rent and our toilet blocked a while ago. DH fiddled around with it and it was fine.

If it didn't unblock I would probably contact the agents to explain the problem although I wouldn't expect the landlord to pay - I know they use certain tradesmen and would ask them to organise one of them and assume we would pay them back.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 21:02:59

Oh yes, thank you god.

I've just read the tenancy agreement and under 'tenant's responsibilities' it says they are responsible for "clearing stoppages in any sink or basin or toilet or waste pipe ... if they become blocked with the tenant's waste" blah blah.

Case closed.

blueberryboybaitonSafari Thu 10-Feb-11 21:05:34

We rent out a property and were told if the blockage in indoors or found to be with items of tennant's use then they pay outside or main drains we pay.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 21:28:04

I've just had the tenant on the phone ranting and raving and threatening to get the work done and deduct it from the rent. This was AFTER I explained that under the terms of the tenancy agreement they signed, they are responsible for fixing the problem.
Right now I just want them gone and am very tempted to give them notice angry

belledechocchipcookie Thu 10-Feb-11 22:11:20

Are you allowed to deduct this from the deposit?

He sounds incredibly unreasonable. It's a hassle not having a loo but he's doing his self no favours.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 22:14:09

We're allowed to deduct unpaid rent from his deposit, but it's more hassley these days.
He's always been a bit of an arse but I figured that as long as they paid the rent on time, I could live with that. No longer.

belledechocchipcookie Thu 10-Feb-11 22:19:19

You don't need stress like this but the next tenant may be worse. It depends on whether you can put up with the arsehole or not.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 22:36:42

No, if we chuck them out, we're selling up. I've had enough of being a landlord. We only did it in the first place out of necessity, because we wanted to move but couldn't sell. The market's improved since then.

belledechocchipcookie Thu 10-Feb-11 22:39:55

Give him notice that you are selling, don't mention he's a tosser though wink

Best of luck.

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 22:51:16

Oh, but it's so tempting. 'Dear tenant, I hate you, now get the f*ck out of my property' grin

Thank you.

belledechocchipcookie Thu 10-Feb-11 22:52:38

grin Wouldn't it be sooo nice!

Is he usually a twat?

LyraSilvertongue Thu 10-Feb-11 22:57:41

Yep, from day 1. Although we've managed to be polite to each other most of the time. Doesn't seem to think they should do anything for themselves, that I should sort out every little problem. I'm not his frickin mother.

belledechocchipcookie Thu 10-Feb-11 22:59:45

Ahh, one of those 'I pay you rent...' The agency that 'look after' where I live do nothing except for the boiler service/break down. It's shit but I wouldn't call them for a blocked loo.

WimpleOfTheBallet Thu 10-Feb-11 22:59:50

Did you ascertain the seriousness of the problem before suggesting they try to fix it?

WimpleOfTheBallet Thu 10-Feb-11 23:01:16

Lyra...if the blockage is further down then it would be your could be a problem from further down the should go over and check it out before nt helping them.

expatinscotland Thu 10-Feb-11 23:03:22

We had a continually blocking toilet.

They kept paying, even though they knew the cause: their drains were ancient and all met and turned under their driveway and flowed out (no septic tank, no shared sewage) into a loch.

They had planted ivy and clematis all over the walls of the house and garage.

Plumber knew right away this stuff was growing underground and forcing the rotting pipes apart.

Even with landlord digging up the slabs and such himself, it was £2500 worth of damage.

So I think if it's not caused by something they did, landlord pays.

I agree with lalalonglegs, you need the plumber to tell you what is causing it.

CointreauVersial Thu 10-Feb-11 23:03:52

Are you sure the blockage is in the waste pipe? Our loo blocked, and I tried for ages to fix it, but over the next few days it became clear it was the main drain, not the waste pipe as such.

I'd sort out the plumber if I were you, that way you can find out exactly what the problem was, and if it's down to the tenant then tell him so.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 10-Feb-11 23:03:54

tell them to buy some drain rods and give them a months notice...fuckwits.

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