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    • Alexandra93
    • By Alexandra93 19th Apr 17, 4:50 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Alexandra93
    Flushable wet wipes nightmare
    • #1
    • 19th Apr 17, 4:50 PM
    Flushable wet wipes nightmare 19th Apr 17 at 4:50 PM
    Hello,

    I have been renting a flat for nearly 2 years. Last year there was a plumbing incident which caused some heavy damages to the flat below. I used to flush flushable wet wipes in the toilets. It apparently clogged the toilets below and it also caused some water leaks out of the drain. This is the water leaks which caused some damages to the flat below.

    The landlord paid for the damages and asked me to stop flushing wet wipes. I stopped flushing wet wipes but the same problem happened one month ago. The drain was leaking and it caused the same damages to the flat below.

    The plumber found some wet wipes when he cleaned the drain. Therefore my landlord is accusing me to still flush wet wips and wants me to pay for the damages. I disagree with my landlord. I have 3 points:
    1) I deny flushing wet wipes. I stopped doing it after the first incident.
    2) I believe that the drain was not totally cleaned after the first incident. Some wet wipes
    stayed inside the drain and later caused the second incident.
    3) I believe that the quality of the drain is very bad. A clogged toilet should not cause some water leaks if the drain is normally built. It is either too old or badly designed or both. And I believe that the bad quality of the drain is responsible for the damages.

    I have not yet presented my arguments to my landlord. But let’s assume that he doesn’t agree with me and that we cannot find an agreement. The damages are a bit below £5,000.
    What is the next step if I cannot find an agreement with my landlord? What do you advise me to do?
    Thanks in advance!

    PS: all the wet wipes which were flushed were labelled “flushable”. I never had any trouble with them in my previous flats. But I learned since that incident that the lable “flushable” should not be trusted!
Page 1
    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 19th Apr 17, 4:58 PM
    • 1,226 Posts
    • 3,595 Thanks
    Penitent
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 4:58 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 4:58 PM
    If you're right about 2), doesn't that still mean you're responsible, as it's your wet wipes that caused the "incident"?
    • Grenage
    • By Grenage 19th Apr 17, 5:01 PM
    • 1,135 Posts
    • 1,059 Thanks
    Grenage
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:01 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:01 PM
    If you ceased to flush the things down the toilet when it was requested, I would stick to my guns; 5k is quite a pop.
    Last edited by Grenage; 19-04-2017 at 5:16 PM.
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 19th Apr 17, 5:09 PM
    • 9,157 Posts
    • 11,510 Thanks
    hazyjo
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:09 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:09 PM
    Which other properties' loos feed into the same drain? Could be another, not yours at all.


    Jx
    2017 wins: Opera tickets; film preview; lipstick; Ideal Home Show tickets + afternoon tea & bottle of Champagne; 2 cases of NKD; notebook; bath rack; books; film Premiere; Broadchurch DVDs; lipbalms; hamper (food/wine/Echo Dot/Jo Malone goodies)
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 19th Apr 17, 5:18 PM
    • 2,570 Posts
    • 3,531 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:18 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:18 PM
    Even the people who clean the sewers suggest that people don't flush wet wipes down the toilet because they don't break up. Toilet paper disintegrates in the toilet and the drain. Wet wipes can get all the way down a sewer and still remain in one piece. There has been a lot of public information about the problem of wet wipes blocking sewers. The fact that the wet wipes don't break up is what causes them to block drains and sewers and it can be a serious problem. So unless your drain takes waste from other flats as well the wet wipes that have caused the latest problem are still because you flushed them down the toilet. Which makes you responsible for the latest problem.
    • always_sunny
    • By always_sunny 19th Apr 17, 5:30 PM
    • 3,092 Posts
    • 3,287 Thanks
    always_sunny
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:30 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:30 PM
    PS: all the wet wipes which were flushed were labelled “flushable”. I never had any trouble with them in my previous flats. But I learned since that incident that the lable “flushable” should not be trusted!
    Originally posted by Alexandra93
    It also depends on amount, I think most brand advise not to flush more than one or two to avoid clogging but it's best to have a sanitary bin in the bathroom (like those used in Greece, with no see content) to avoid the problem.

    Re the issue, even if you have stopped there might be a build up and if it's determined that the sole cause of the leak is the flushable wipes you may need to come to some agreement with the LL if their insurance doesn't cover it.
    Expat with an EU passport
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 19th Apr 17, 5:35 PM
    • 9,157 Posts
    • 11,510 Thanks
    hazyjo
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:35 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:35 PM
    Even the people who clean the sewers suggest that people don't flush wet wipes down the toilet because they don't break up. Toilet paper disintegrates in the toilet and the drain. Wet wipes can get all the way down a sewer and still remain in one piece. There has been a lot of public information about the problem of wet wipes blocking sewers. The fact that the wet wipes don't break up is what causes them to block drains and sewers and it can be a serious problem. So unless your drain takes waste from other flats as well the wet wipes that have caused the latest problem are still because you flushed them down the toilet. Which makes you responsible for the latest problem.
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    The OP was talking about ones labelled 'flushable' - okay, so they're obviously not as flushable as the brand makes out, but the fact they stopped using them once they found this out surely means they're not liable. It's not the standard wet wipes that most people now know not to flush.


    If you can reach the plumber who first came out, see if you can get him to guarantee that there were none left in the drain/pipe somewhere (mention it may go to small claims court or whatever). If he can't, I really don't see how it can be your problem. Your LL's word against yours I suppose. If other properties use the same drain, the liability is even less yours.


    Jx
    2017 wins: Opera tickets; film preview; lipstick; Ideal Home Show tickets + afternoon tea & bottle of Champagne; 2 cases of NKD; notebook; bath rack; books; film Premiere; Broadchurch DVDs; lipbalms; hamper (food/wine/Echo Dot/Jo Malone goodies)
    • G_M
    • By G_M 19th Apr 17, 5:49 PM
    • 40,100 Posts
    • 45,793 Thanks
    G_M
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:49 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:49 PM
    I wonder about these 'leaks'.

    Drains don't leak unless they are cracked or broken, and wet-wipes (flushable or otherwise) don't crack drains.

    Overflow? Yes. Leak? No.

    But this may be a matter of terminology. OP, is English your 1st language?
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 19th Apr 17, 5:56 PM
    • 557 Posts
    • 362 Thanks
    saajan_12
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:56 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 5:56 PM
    If you agree there were wet wipes found the second time, there are 3 possibilities:
    1) You continued to flush wet wipes
    2) You ceased to flush wet wipes but they were the old ones still in the system
    3) You ceased to flush wet wipes but they are originating from another flat which feeds that same drain.

    I would argue that with (1) or (2) they are still your wet wipes regardless of the timing, and hence your responsibility. The fact that the LL chooses not to charge you for the first incident doesn't mean you weren't liable for the damage caused then / by those early wet wipes. Its not upto the LL / plumber to advise you not to flush them, if your (well meaning) actions still caused the damage.

    Of course if (3) is the case then you are not liable but you should be able to find this out easily.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 19th Apr 17, 6:04 PM
    • 15,622 Posts
    • 39,091 Thanks
    FBaby
    Not covered by insurance?
    • Alexandra93
    • By Alexandra93 20th Apr 17, 3:00 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Alexandra93
    Not covered by insurance?
    Originally posted by FBaby
    I don't know, it is a good point. I will ask the landlord.
    Do you know if it is legally bound for my landlord to pay for an insurance building?
    And would it be illegal for him to ask me to pay for the full damages if the insurance covers a part of it?
    • always_sunny
    • By always_sunny 20th Apr 17, 3:22 PM
    • 3,092 Posts
    • 3,287 Thanks
    always_sunny
    I don't know, it is a good point. I will ask the landlord.
    Do you know if it is legally bound for my landlord to pay for an insurance building?
    And would it be illegal for him to ask me to pay for the full damages if the insurance covers a part of it?
    Originally posted by Alexandra93
    If you're in a flat (as you mentioned) highly likely the flat has insurance. Pretty much all flat are leasehold (in England) and the lease require to have insurance of some sort (wether LL directly or the freeholder).

    Whether the insurance covers the flushable wipes issue it depends (I'd say no), also more likely will make the premium go up.

    See similar threads: http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?72586-Blocked-drain-who-is-responsible
    Last edited by always_sunny; 20-04-2017 at 3:25 PM.
    Expat with an EU passport
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 20th Apr 17, 3:59 PM
    • 5,408 Posts
    • 5,100 Thanks
    davidmcn
    If you're in a flat (as you mentioned) highly likely the flat has insurance. Pretty much all flat are leasehold (in England) and the lease require to have insurance of some sort (wether LL directly or the freeholder).

    Whether the insurance covers the flushable wipes issue it depends (I'd say no), also more likely will make the premium go up.
    Originally posted by always_sunny
    Even if insured, the insurance company could potentially pursue whoever caused the problem i.e. the tenant.
    • fed up and stressed
    • By fed up and stressed 20th Apr 17, 5:04 PM
    • 1,519 Posts
    • 3,321 Thanks
    fed up and stressed
    Even if insured, the insurance company could potentially pursue whoever caused the problem i.e. the tenant.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    I suspect they would as the OP has admitted negligence.
    Spelling courtesy of the whims of auto correct...


    Pet Peeves.... queues, vain people and hypocrites ..not necessarily in that order.
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 20th Apr 17, 5:31 PM
    • 3,544 Posts
    • 3,121 Thanks
    Hoploz
    It would be interesting to know whether the management company notified ALL flats sharing the drains to not flush wipes. It could be someone else is at it as well.

    I agree though that it sounds likely there are general maintenance issues causing leaks, rather than the drains backing up due to a blockage.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 20th Apr 17, 8:42 PM
    • 40,100 Posts
    • 45,793 Thanks
    G_M
    Not all insurance policies would cover a blocked drain. In fact I suspect most would not.

    A buildings insurance policy might or might not cover damage to drains (eg roots growing through an underground drain), but a blockage? Caused by negligence? I doubt it.

    One can buy stand-alone insurance for plumbing, drains, central heating etc, but only a minority of people take out such policies.

    And even if there IS valid insurance policy:

    * the insured party would have to pay an excess (£50? £100? £400?), and face increased premiums next year

    * the insurance company could stillpursue the negligent party to reclaim the cost
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