When it comes to leased properties, one often asks about clogged drains—whose responsibility is it? Is it the tenant’s or landlord’s duty? Does it fall under repair or maintenance? And who pays for it? 

Clogged drains can be a bit tricky as it’s highly dependent on the scenario and the possible causes. Ideally, the landlord is responsible for making sure the residential property is up to par with living standards. Legal standards may vary per country but generally, residences are expected to be hygienic and safe. However, it is the tenant’s obligation to maintain the facilities of the rented property and ensure that nothing gets damaged. 

Who’s should pay for a blocked drain? 

To find out who is responsible, more often than not, a plumber should be called in to diagnose the root cause of the blockage. From there, he can pinpoint which party is liable. However, this may be easier said than done and has a lot of gray areas.

Generally, the landlord is in charge of the repairs if:

  • There is natural wear and tear of the plumbing.
  • General upkeep.
  • It is nobody’s doing.

On another hand, the tenant will be asked to pay for the repairs if:

  • An obstruction was done intentionally and unintentionally (e.g. debris or items fell into the drain).
  • The said damage was brought by other actions.
  • Negligent usage.

If renters are proven to be at fault, they have to pay for all the expenses. In addition, they need to have the debris removed and repair the plumbing system. 

Common drain issues  

Food debris: More often than not, it is easier to dunk leftover food from the plate to the sink. Resist that urge! Substances such as fruit and vegetable peels, rice grains, and pasta pieces can quickly fill pipes and can cause problems in the long run. 

Cooking oil and grease: Oils and grease may be liquid but can turn into huge chunks of solid that can hamper water from going through. Hence, these should always be thrown into the trash. This goes the same for butter and spreads like peanut butter and chocolate. 

Coffee grounds: Grounds may look harmless but can clump together over time as they don’t break down in the water. They also stick to existing sludge and fats that can turn into huge chunks of dirt. Always throw them out or use it as a soil fertilizer. 

Produce stickers: Ever washed fruits and vegetables while the sticker goes into the sink? This can lead to issues. Dispose of them properly as most labels don’t dissolve in water. Since they are also sticky, to begin with, the labels can adhere to the pipes and limit the amount of water that can go through.  

Undegradable tissue wipes: Though these may look soft, wet tissue wipes are not dissolvable in water. Flushing them may pose future problems not only for the renter and the landlord but also for the environment. Even brands that claim that their wipes are flushable can block the sewerage.  

Feminine sanitary products: Always use the bin when disposing of toiletries and feminine care items (e.g. cotton balls, cotton buds, pantyliners, pads, and tampons). Its components are also not water-soluble, and some are made of plastic. Needless to say, these items can seriously congest the plumbing system.

Proper waste disposal: This is always a must to prevent mishaps and inconveniences in the future. Some substances such as abrasive chemicals may not be safe to be thrown down the sink. When unsure, throw items in the rubbish bin or contact your local government to find the correct information. 

Both parties play a role

Generally, both parties are responsible for maintaining plumbing works. Lessors are required to turn over a well-maintained property with functional plumbing. Renters are then obligated to keep it the same state as it was when they first moved in. In the event of a clogged drain, a plumber can be called to identify the root of the problem. In turn, the party who will be liable to pay for the repairs will most likely be identified. 

And remember, proper disposal practices can prevent future problems. Maintenance is more manageable than damage. Also, if plumbing issues are unattended to, more severe problems such as safety and sanitation concerns can arise in the future.

Need help with a blocked drain?

Ideally, you’d like your plumber to be able to minimize repairs and save you money in the long run. Whether you need urgently need your blocked drain repaired or just have a minor issue, you should contact Master Flush Plumbing as we can get the job done fast.