Who is Responsible for Blocked Pipes in Sydney Rentals?

Blocked drains in rental premises are a complex issue. Because a blockage can cause significant damage to a home, it’s important to understand who is responsible for organising and paying for repairs. 

This article clarifies, for both Sydney investors and their tenants, when a blocked drain is the property owner’s responsibility and in what circumstances a tenant needs to act to fix blocked pipes in their rental property.  

Understanding the Tenancy Agreement or Lease

For Sydney rental homes, NSW Fair Trading is the government body that provides information and regulatory guidance to tenants, real estate agents, and landlords about their respective rights and responsibilities. According to NSW Fair Trading, while a property owner must ensure a home is maintained so that it’s fit to live in, tenants must keep the home reasonably clean and free of damage. 

A plumbing problem, such as a blocked drain, whether in a sink or sewer, is a repair that either party could be responsible for, depending on what caused the damage. If the tenant is found to have caused the blocked drain, they are responsible for paying for it. If it’s due to general wear and tear or due to a lack of maintenance, the landlord is responsible. 

However, it is the tenant’s responsibility to notify the landlord or property manager, such as a real estate agent, as soon as they notice a plumbing issue before it causes further damage. 

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For the Tenant: What to Do For a Blocked Drain in Your Sydney Rental 

Unless it’s an urgent repair, the tenant must gain written permission, including an agreement on who will pay or request property owners repair the problem themselves, before any work occurs.

If the problem does require emergency repairs, the tenant should contact the agent or landlord as soon as possible. 

What qualifies as an urgent repair?

Home plumbing issues that qualify as urgent repairs include:

  • A blocked toilet
  • Burst pipes
  • Blocked pipes that are causing flooding and damage to the home.

Steps for tenants when they notice blocked pipes

  1. Try to contact the homeowner or real estate agent as soon as you have noticed a problem.
  2. If you can’t contact the homeowner or agent, or they do not carry out repairs within a reasonable amount of time, you should:
  • Check your tenancy agreement to find the details of the nominated emergency plumber.
  • Arrange and pay for the work to be completed.
  1. If you weren’t at fault for the need for urgent repairs, contacted the landlord or agent or made a reasonable attempt to do so, or if repairs weren’t completed within a reasonable time, send receipts to your landlord or agent for reimbursement.

For the Landlord: Advice for Homeowners on Blocked Drains

NSW Fair Trading handles thousands of complaints from tenants each year, about a third of which relate to maintenance issues. A regular maintenance inspection of the home’s drainage system will ensure any potential problems can be rectified before they damage your investment. For example, a blockage in toilets, sinks, or the shower can see water back up through the plumbing and cause water damage to the kitchen or bathroom. 

Therefore, as a landlord, it makes sense to protect your investment with regular maintenance and inspections that will help you avoid unnecessary expenses. 

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Don’t Wait For a Plumbing Emergency – Use Pipe Relining to Protect Your Rental Investment

Negligence on the part of the landlord can see plumbing issues persist, meaning tenants can’t enjoy their home or use it as intended. Plumbing issues can make showering and cooking difficult, they can cause water damage within the home and even cause the backyard to collapse as dirt washes away around cracked or leaky pipes. 

If pipes continue to clog, consider relining them to ensure their longevity. Pipe relining allows you to repair the damage to plumbing systems before it becomes a more serious issue. Doing nothing may mean paying for costly excavations. 

Digging up the yard to replace pipes is a huge expense that can devalue your investment and make it unappealing to tenants. However, pipe relining is a no-dig, no-mess way to ensure your pipes continue functioning as they should for many decades to come. 

Read more about how pipe relining can increase the value of your Sydney home here

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Stop a Clog Becoming a Drain on Your Finances

The responsibility for repairing blocked pipes depends on who caused the clog — the tenant or landlord. As a landlord, you should ensure the plumbing is in good working condition by conducting a regular maintenance inspection. You might even consider providing a tenant factsheet within a tenancy agreement that outlines how to keep pipes free of blockages. 

As a tenant, you can read about when a blocked drain requires immediate attention here and learn more about how to avoid a drainage system clog. Remember, if the tenant causes the blockage, you must pay for repairs.  

Blocked Drain? Call Us Out to Your Sydney Home

Whether it’s a sewer pipe or stormwater drain, when you need help to fix blocked pipes, The Relining Company are the plumbers to call. Not only can we clear the clog, we can stop it from happening over and over again with our state-of-the-art relining services. Call Steve on 0488 885 166 for a free consultation today.

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