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Maintenance of shared drains


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I am a tenant of a downstairs flat in a house which consists of two flats, one upstairs, one downstairs. The neighbours from the flat upstairs told me that they and my landlord are joint owners of the house. However my tenancy agreement (assured shorthold tenancy) is signed only between me and my landlord, the neighbours from the flat upstairs are not party to it.

The two flats share some drain pipes which meet at one point and then descend down an outside wall until the drain hole in the ground. The pipe stops short of the drain hole. (Sorry I don't know the technical terms for all these things!). The drains have become blocked a few times in the past and the neighbours upstairs have cleared them. Sometimes I did too when I was the first to discover the problem. The neighbours every time complained that my landlord never does anything to maintain the drains. It is true, my landlord lives abroad and will not do anything. Now however the neighbours have changed the tune and have written me a letter, claiming that it is
responsibility under the tenancy agreement (they actually said "the responsibility of the occupier of [my flat's address] as specified in the lease" but I think that's what they meant).

My tenancy agreement does state that "The Tenant will keep the drains gutters and pipes on the Property clear". My interpretation of this clause had been that it only applied to any pipes and drains that belong the the flat I am renting, but not to any shared pipes and drains, even though they are technically on the Property, i.e. in the backyard of the downstairs flat.

I would be very grateful for any advice as to whether I am responsible for cleaning the shared drains. Many thanks in advance for your help.

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  • 1 month later...

I would point out to the new upstairs owners that the pipes are shared and demonstrate this. Logically it would be fair for the duty or cost of clearing the pipes to be shared.

I would also write to your landlord saying that you are not happy with this arrangement and can he contract someone to clean the drains with him paying.


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  • 3 weeks later...

You can get this sorted vey easily for £60. Go to www.n-l-c.info. Once you have signed up to full membership you can use them as many times as you need over a one year period. I am a landlord and use the all the time. Their website is not the easiest to navigate though. Click on the 4th box on the left "services". Let me know how you get on. Bet you have this sorted inside 7 days.

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