Tenant blocked drain


Our tenants have been in for a week now and have a blockage in the kitchen sink. They have asked us to get a plumber out to fix the issue but we believe it’s a fault of the tenant. Surely we will not be responsible for the plumber coming out to fix the issue if it’s been caused by the tenants. Are we able to bill the tenants if the plumber seems it their fault?

Yes you can bill if he deems it to be their fault. Warn them in advance

I don’t think any plumber would be able to pinpoint such an issue. It could be a buildup over time so unfortunately you will just have to stomach it.

Quite quick to block it in a week - was it the previous tenant? I would call the plumber & use it as an opportunity to explain to the tenants what you will & won’t pay for.

It’s our first tenant. We have lived in the property for 4 years and it’s never blocked. Rather strange they have been in a week and it’s blocked. They are very into cooking and wonder if they have got food stuck in it.

The only way to tell is take a bucket along , undo the waste trap and see what is in it 20 min job


Did you flush drains and gullets before they arrived?
Did you demonstrate this to the tenant?
Did you document as such on inventory?
Under statute plumbing / drains is/ are the landlords responsibility?
Do you have a clause in the contract that says otherwise ?

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Or maybe they pour fat down the drain?

I think the reality is it will be hard to prove who’s responsible. A plumber may ask what have they been tipping down sink and the answer may be obvious it’s them. Or what’s to say its not an accumulation of crud from the last x amount of tenancies?

LL will most likely have to take the hit but subsequent blockages will be down to tenant unless there’s a physical issue identified.

Had one flat (4 flats share same external drains) where manhole got blocked within a few months of tenant moving in. Drain engineer said cause was disposable wipes. Tenant claimed no knowledge, I then found out via that they have sister over weekly with a baby. No problems before or since.

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The plumber has just messaged me to advise the tenants have poured fat or lard down the train and that’s what has blocked it. Surely this will be the tenants responsibility to pay for?

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If it’s fat just buy some caustic soda
Put a few tablespoons followed by hot water and leave till it dissolves
It’ll cost you a fiver

Wear goggles and gloves and stand back

Plumbers already been and sorted it but charged £50. As it’s the tenants fault I will be letting them know


I would just say you will pay on this occasion but then state what the plumber stated. Still not sure how they managed to know the exact cause but anyway

when you remove a waste trap you can tell if it is fat or soap or hair. The big problem is if it gets into the drain

This is a red flag if it’s the first week of a tenancy.

You need to be very explicit with them about the problems of fat down drains. I have a Nigerian family in one rental and spotted fat in the kitchen sink plumbing when I was helping them put in a washing machine. They admitted that most of their cooking uses large amounts of oil.

I cautioned them about this and recommended a) that they should drain all fat off pans and plates into a sealable container (like a jar or bottle) and not put this down the sink but seal it and put it in the wheelie bin and that b) they should wash up with super hot water and run hot water down the drain after they empty the sink to prevent fat build up.

You might want to pass this advice to your Ts

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Thank you for your advice, the couple that have moved into the flat are a Nigerian couple and very into cooking. I will send the advice over to them. I have let them know any future issues will be a cost to them to repair


they should be wiping all the plates and cooking pans with a kitchen paper towel and binning it BEFORE washing up

That’s an option, yes.