Drain maintenance and pipe repair checklist for landlords


Drain maintenance and pipe repair checklist for landlords

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Blocked or broken drains aren’t just a nightmare for tenants who have to deal with nasty smells and even nastier bacteria. They’re also a headache for landlords.

Follow this checklist for tips on how you can avoid the issue and how to unblock drains if the worst happens.


Ask your tenants to keep the drains as clear as possible, and give your tenants some drain maintenance advice to help keep everything flowing properly:

  • Consider providing hair catchers for the showers and baths in the property, and ask tenants to empty them regularly to stop hair building up in the pipes.
  • Ask your tenants to avoid pouring leftover cooking grease and fat down the drain. You could even give them a specific container to catch the grease in before throwing it in the bin.
  • Make sure all outdoor drains are covered to prevent leaves and other material entering your drainage system.

Ask your tenants to keep an eye out for slow water flow or patches of damp near pipes, and tell them to let you know if they think there’s a problem – these can be early warnings of a blockage.


Stay on alert during periods of heavy rain and storms. If there’s a problem with the main drainage pipe at your property, or you need a pipe repair, a lot of extra water could back things up inside.

Consider taking out a specialist insurance policy, such as Landlord Emergency cover, to cover the cost of repairing damage to your drains and plumbing system but excludes rainwater drains, soakaways or pipes that your water supply or sewerage company are responsible for.

When researching Landlord Emergency policies, check whether there’s an excess attached. Some insurers don’t charge an excess and don’t limit how often you can claim.

If you already have Landlord Emergency cover, make sure you know how to claim. How fast will your insurer send out an expert to resolve the problem or carry out a pipe repair, and what do you need to do to start the process?

If you’re going away on holiday or live far away, find out whether your tenants can report an emergency on your behalf. If they can, and you’re happy to let them liaise with your insurer, then you’ll need to give your insurer your tenants’ details and confirm they have your authority to report the emergency on your behalf.

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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