A property with a drain or gutter in disrepair can cause significant problems for the tenants living there, with a high chance of further damage to the property. It is imperative that tenants inform their landlords of any damage or problems noted with drains or gutters at the property.
The most common issues faced are blocked drains and leaking gutters. Both are an inconvenience and can lead to more complicated issues that have the potential to damage the structural integrity of the building.
A drain can become blocked by several different means, for example, broken or blocked pipes, flooding or even tree roots encroaching on the sewage system. Disposing of improper materials down the sink or toilet can also lead to blockages.
There are a number of undesirable side effects of a blocked drain. Often the first sign of blockage, water resurgence, can lead to flooding, damp, mould and can damage any nearby belongings beyond repair.
Alarmingly, blocked drains risk leaving tenants exposed to raw sewage which is a major health risk. The smell alone will have a compromising effect on the quality of life of those living in the property, as well as harmful bacteria being released into the environment.
Water that is blocked in pipes can become stagnant and a breeding ground for bacteria, contaminating the water. Should contaminated water enter the body, be it ingested or through skin contact, the ensuing viruses and bacteria can result in a number of unpleasant and often serious diseases such as e-coli.
Problems with a building’s gutters usually arise as a result of blockages or structural damage. Items such as leaves, twigs and other debris can result in gutters becoming blocked and incapable of doing their job of channelling water away from the property and into the surrounding drains. Other defects such as cracks or breaks in the guttering can also create problems.
If the faulty guttering prevents water from draining properly form the property it can easily fall into a further state of disrepair. Leaking water can cause damage to the roofing, potentially leading to subsidence or dry rot. Furthermore, a build-up of water along the sides of the building could result in flooding, damp and mould.
A tenant has the responsibility to inform their landlord of any signs of damage or disrepair amongst the drains and/or guttering of the property as soon as possible, this is so that further disrepair can be prevented. The landlord is then expected to rectify the disrepair within a reasonable amount of time. Ideally this would be 2-3 days.
However, if a landlord fails to carry out repairs or adequately bring about a solution to the problem after receiving notice from their tenant, the tenant may have a potential claim for disrepair against them.
If you think you have a claim you should contact a specialist housing solicitor. At LAWTEC Solicitors, our dedicated housing team are well-equipped to deal with all kinds of disrepair matters including all problems arising from damaged and/or blocked drains and gutters. They can advise you on what actions can be taken and how much – if any – compensation you may be entitled to.
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