Who pays the repair costs for unblocking drains?
To find out whose responsibility is it to repair blocked drains – property owner, council or tenant, a plumber should be called to identify the root cause and location of the blockage. If the blocked drains are in your property, it is your responsibility or your tenants.
However, there are a lot of grey areas and there should be ample evidence to pinpoint which party caused the damage. If the blockage is outside your property, your local council is responsible. Contact your local plumber, they can tell you who is responsible for the blocked drains and claim the expenses from council if needed.
Common reasons for blocked drains
- Fats, oil and grease
- Flushing wet wipes (even if they are biodegradable, don’t flush them down the drain)
- Sanitary pygiene products like tampons, pads
- Plant and tree roots
- Storm damage
- Hair and soap scum
- Broken pipes
- Objects like toys, electronic waste
- Poor pipe installation
- Accumulation of sediments
- Coffee grounds
Inside the house
Who pays for repairing blocked drains – Landlord or Tenant?
It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the property is in a safe and liveable condition. However, once the tenant moves in, it is the responsibility of both tenant and property owner to maintain the house in a good condition.
Tenants are responsible to keep the property clean and ensure it is in the same condition as when they moved into the property while the owner is responsible for the structural aspects of the property.
When is the landlord responsible for blocked drains?
The property owners are responsible for blocked drains if:
- Damage is caused by the landlord
- Pipes have been poorly maintained
- The blockage is due to wear and tear and it is not anyone’s fault
When is the tenant responsible?
The tenant is responsible for blocked drains if:
- Damage is caused by the tenant
- Negligence of the tenant e.g. blocked pipes due to clogged hair, foreign objects, wet pipes or sanitary pipes
- If the damage is caused by the tenant, they will have to pay the cost for clearing the drain and any expenses incurred for repairing the drains
In case of any dispute between the tenant and landlord:
- The landlord might need to show evidence that the pipes were in good condition when the tenant moved in and regular preventative maintenance was being carried out.
- If you are a property owner, contact your licensed plumbers in Brisbane for CCTV Drain Camera inspection. Our plumbers can use water jetting to remove blockages quickly and pipe relining to fix broken or damaged pipes.
- Landlords can include clauses in the lease agreement indicating what items cannot be flushed. Also, communicate to the tenants that you have the pipes inspected regularly and if there is any damage, they will have to foot the bill.
Outside the house
Council: It is the responsibility of the council to maintain the sewer and stormwater pipes on council land. If any blockage is in the council’s mains, contact your local council to get the issue resolved immediately.
Property Owners: Property Owners are responsible for the sewer pipes and stormwater pipes on their property and up to the council connection point.