What Are My Plumbing Responsibilities As A Landlord?
As a landlord you have a number of responsibilities regarding plumbing within the property. Moreover, you have responsibilities and tasks you should undertake at different times.
Who Is Responsible For What?
The government website gives a quick definition of who is responsible for what:
“The landlord is responsible for:
- clearing blocked sewers, drains and external waste pipes but not road gullies or waste pipes blocked by tenant misuse
- boilers and hot water cylinders
- pipe work, radiators, fittings and valves
The tenant is responsible for:
- stoppers and chains for baths, sinks and basins
- replacement of wash basins, toilet bowls and toilet seats (except where damaged or discoloured through wear and tear or by faulty installation)
- replacement of baths, sinks and drainers (except where damaged or discoloured through wear and tear or by faulty installation)”
However, with so much going on in terms of plumbing and pipework within a property, let’s look at this in more depth.
Legally, a landlord must provide tenants with clean running water and sanitation, including pipework and drainage. So, all properties must include at least a working toilet, a shower or bathroom and at least one sink for washing up.
Sinks, Baths & Toilets
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords to maintain drainage pipes and other pipes and is therefore responsible for repairs to sinks, baths and toilets. BUT the tenant becomes responsible for the repair if they caused the blockage or damage to the pipes, sink, toilet, shower or bath. However, if the damage to any of these is caused by general wear and tear, then the responsibility remains with the landlord.
Pipes & Drains
Any leaks in internal pipework are usually caused by cracks or a loose connection. In these cases, the responsibility lies with the landlord. External pipes are either the responsibility of the landlord or the water board. You should familiarise yourself with what is yours and the water boards responsibility for your property.
The landlord is responsible for clearing sewers, drains and external waste pipes, but not if they have been blocked by tenant misuse.
Boilers & Radiators
As a landlord, you are legally responsible for having the boiler (and any other gas appliance in your property) serviced annually by a Gas Safe engineer. The engineer will then provide you with a Gas Safety Certificate for you property.
You are also responsible for radiators, pipework, fittings and valves. Again, however, if the damage is caused directly by the tenant, then responsibility for the repair falls with them.
The Timing of Repairs
Once a tenant reports a fault to you, it is your responsibility to provide them with a reasonable timeframe within which the repair will be made. What constitutes a reasonable timeframe depends on the severity and urgency of the issue. Any issue that makes the property unsafe or uninhabitable is classed as urgent and should be dealt with within 24 hours. Examples of these are ceiling leaks, flooding, burst water mains, blocked toilets.
Other, non-urgent repairs should be dealt with within 14 days and responsibility for these will depend on the cause of the problem and what the rental agreement says about repairs of such faults.
Before The Tenant Moves In
Prior to a new tenant moving in, you should ensure that all plumbing issues within the property are addressed to ensure that the property is in a safe and liveable condition. Here’s a pre-tenancy plumbing checklist for you to use:
- Pipes – Check for corrosion on metal pipes
- Drains – Remove any obstructions from the gutters and drains. A pre-tenancy drain clean and inspection will provide peace of mind.
- Taps – Check for any drips or leaks
- Sinks – Make sure water is draining properly
- Baths/showers – Replace the seals if necessary and look for signs of damp
- Boilers and hot water cylinders – Check that everything is working as it should be. Don’t forget your annual service
- Radiators, fittings and valves – Make sure the radiators are working properly. Bleed if required
- Accessibility – If one or more of your tenants is disabled or has mobility issues, you may be required to make reasonable adjustments such as the installation of bathroom handrails
When The Tenant Moves In
You’ll know this from owning your own house, but you should ensure that your tenant knows where the mains water turns on and off and the location of any stopcocks in the property, as well as the location of the gas meter and how to turn off the mains gas supply at the property.
At this point you shall also ensure that it is clear on their contract what will and will not be your/their responsibility. You should also explain specific things that will be their responsibility to correct throughout the tenancy, and point out the potential issues, such as not putting food down the sink.
So there you have it, our guide to your responsibility as a landlord when it comes to plumbing and heating. If you need an experienced and reliable plumber and gas engineer who works with a number of landlords across Sheffield and Chesterfield, then get in touch today on 07917 776549.