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Introduction to Drain Blockages in Rental Properties

Blocked drains are a common issue that can occur in any home, but handling them in a rental property involves some unique considerations. As a tenant, it’s essential to determine whether you or the landlord is responsible for addressing drainage issues, as dictated by the lease agreement and local property regulations.

Understanding these aspects is essential for anyone dealing with blocked drains, as it helps in identifying causes, recognising early warning signs, implementing preventive measures, and knowing what steps to take upon discovering a blockage. We’ll cover landlord and tenant responsibilities and provide tips for effective communication to resolve disputes.

Our licensed Marrickville plumbers have consistently delivered quality customer service and professionalism in resolving challenging drain blockages. Continue reading to learn what to do if you suspect a blocked drain in your Sydney rental, whether to attempt DIY cleaning or call a professional plumber, and how to prevent future blockages.

When is a Landlord Responsible for a Blocked Drain?

Landlords are generally responsible for fixing and maintaining drainage systems, including severe blockages, as stipulated in most lease agreements and the Residential Tenancies Act. This includes:

  • Blockages in main blocked sewer lines.
  • Clogs affecting multiple units or common areas.
  • Overflows discharging wastewater.
  • Blocked stormwater drainage systems.

Tenants are usually responsible for resolving minor toilet or sink clogs within their unit, including clearing obstructions or paying for repairs.

Our Marrickville plumbers can assess blockage responsibility between tenants, landlords, and local council duties, inspect and clear drain lines, and advise on preventing future clogs. Contact us for clear guidance on responsibility and to explore repair options for your blocked rental drains.

Common Causes of Drain Blockages

There are several common culprits behind blocked drains in rental properties:

  • Tree roots - Invading tree roots from shrubs or trees planted too close to pipes can cause blocked drains and enter joints, forming a dense mat.
  • Fats, grease, and oils from cooking can solidify in pipes, leading to blockages over time.
  • Accumulated hair in bathroom drains can bond and form persistent blockages.
  • Misflushed items like excess toilet paper, cotton swabs, and dental floss often lead to serious blockages.
  • Silt, minerals, and grit from compromised fixtures or old pipes can accumulate and create pipe blockages.

For minor clogs resulting from hair or toilet paper that go down toilet drains and are confined to one unit, tenants are typically responsible for repairs. However, if DIY cleaning fails, it becomes the landlord’s responsibility under residential tenancy laws to clear persistent blockages in the private wastewater pipes.

If you notice early signs of a blocked drain or experience slow drainage, get in touch with our team for an inspection and effective blockage removal.

When is a Tenant Responsible for a Blocked Drain?

As a tenant, you may be held accountable for a blocked drain if the clog is minor and confined within your rental unit, likely stemming from misuse of the plumbing system. This includes poor practices such as pouring fats or oils down the drain, flushing inappropriate items such as wipes or dental floss, allowing hair buildup, or neglecting to clear simple clogs.

Residential leases typically oblige tenants to maintain plumbing systems in reasonable condition, especially if blockages arise from misuse. You’re expected to practise preventive measures against small drain clogs where possible and make reasonable efforts to clear blocks before they worsen.

If persistent blockages don’t respond to over-the-counter cleaners, it’s time to seek professional help, indicating a more severe issue. At this stage, liability generally shifts to your landlord’s responsibility to appropriately investigate, repair damage, and resolve blocked flow to ensure clear drainage as mandated by plumbing regulations and residential tenancy laws.

As your licensed plumber and Sydney plumbing expert, we’re here to succinctly diagnose and ensure he fixed our clients’ blocked drains, while transparently communicating who holds responsibility — you or your landlord. Contact our friendly, local team for professional hot water drain assessments, safe and effective clog removal, plus tips to prevent future problems.

When to Call a Professional

It’s advisable to seek a professional Sydney plumber when DIY methods and usage changes don’t resolve a clogged drain. Persistent or recurring blockages in the water system of your rental unit indicate a severe underlying issue that falls within your landlord’s responsibility to properly address.

As licensed Marrickville plumbing specialists, we urge you to contact us if you encounter:

  • Multiple attempts at DIY drain cleaning and plunging fail to clear the clog
  • Drains worsen or backup despite temporary improvements
  • Gurgling from my hot water system drains or overflowing toilets
  • Unpleasant sewage smells coming from drains
  • Multiple drains are sluggish or completely blocked
  • Outdoor wastewater pooling around your home’s foundations after storms

Our Sydney plumber utilises specialised equipment and vast experience to manage severe clogs effectively, surpassing what other services offer. We swiftly identify and clear blockages, provide preventive maintenance, and guarantee long-term solutions.

As a licenced Sydney plumbing business in line with fair trading principles, we adhere to strict regulations and best practises to diagnose issues, communicate landlord/tenant responsibilities, complete necessary repairs by authorised specialists, and provide fair quotes to help mitigate costs.

Customers praise our effective plumbing solutions; address concerns promptly to avoid costly repairs and health hazards. Prompt action is crucial in upholding the health of your drainage system. Our Marrickville plumbing service is at your disposal, offering transparent, cost-effective solutions tailored to ensure your home’s satisfaction.


In brief, determining whether landlords or tenants are responsible for repairing blocked drains in rental properties demands attention to residential tenancy regulations. Address recurring blockages quickly, as they are typically the tenant’s responsibility initially but may become the landlord’s if DIY fixes fail to solve the problem.

Seeking prompt help from licensed plumbers can reduce health risks and prevent structural damage from prolonged blockages. Our team of drain specialists in Marrickville, Sydney has the advanced tools and expertise to quickly clear even severe clogs while communicating obligations to tenants and property managers.

Tenants should acknowledge their responsibility to prevent minor blockages through daily practices. If sinks or toilets become inoperable, landlords are obligated to facilitate specialist drain clearance and restorative repairs.

For reliable, upfront drain and plumbing services tailored to rental properties, contact our professionals at jobs@marrickvilleplumbingservices.com.au or call 1300 349 338.

Our 24/7 emergency repair services and convenient next-day booking for maintenance simplify the task of keeping your rental’s pipework and fixtures in excellent shape.

News & Information

Blocked Drain Landlord’ Responsibility?
Is a Blocked Drain the Landlord’s Responsibility?

When a drain becomes blocked, it is generally the landlord’s responsibility to arrange repairs as it relates to property maintenance. However, tenants may be liable if the blockage was caused by intentional damage or negligence on their part.

blocked drain ?
When does a blocked drain need immediate help?

A blocked drain requires quick response if you notice sewage backing up, foul smells, flooding or water damage. Slow drainage and gurgling sounds may also indicate an urgent issue. Don’t wait - call a plumber immediately if your blocked drain is causing property damage or health hazards.

Broken Tap Emergency?
Is a Broken Tap an Emergency?

While a dripping or broken tap does not usually constitute a plumbing emergency, it is still important to arrange repairs quickly to prevent water wastage and possible water damage from uncontrolled leaks.

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