Is £190 a reasonable charge to unblock a sink?

Hi all,
I had an issue with a clogged sink due to a build up of fat and grease so my property management agency arranged for the unblocking work. As it could well be partly my fault they say the landlord cannot cover the cost, fair enough.
They sent me the invoice the other day which has a ~£160 standard charge for the work and ~£30 for an Enzyme Treatment 1ltr bottle.
A quick check online tells me standard charges for unblocking a sink would vary between £40 - £100, of course depending on the circumstances but I had the contractor over for about half an hour so it didn't seem the work required any out of the ordinary heavy artillery (though they did mention electro-mechanical spring drilling and vacuuming the waste, not sure how costly that may be).
Has anyone had a similar job done and if so what's the standard charge you would usually expect to pay?
Appreciate any comments, hope this isn't too unclear or off-topic. Thanks.


  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,275
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    edited 15 February 2019 at 5:39PM
    Using the management company as opposed to calling out a plumber to sort it out yourself can make a huge difference. The housing association I used to deal with had a standard charge of about £200 where the problem was the tenants fault, regardless of how big or small the issue or how long it took to fix. If you know something is your responsibility you may be better off getting someone in yourself in future and leaving the management company out of it.
    What does your contract say?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Here are the relevant clauses from my contract:
    Tenant's obligations:

    to keep the drains, gutters and pipes of the Property clear and not to dispose of any harmful or noxious materials (such as oil, grease or corrosive substances) through the drains at the Property. This obligation means that if the tenancy is of a dwelling-house for a term of less than seven years and section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (referred to in clause 10 of this Agreement) applies, the Landlord has to do any clearance work required in order to keep the drains, gutters and pipes in repair, but does not have to do small jobs which a reasonable tenant would do

    To notify the Landlord or Landlords agent as soon as reasonably practicable of any defect, damage or disrepair at the Property which the Landlord or the Landlords agent is obliged to remedy and not to remedy or attempt to remedy it except in case of emergency or where there is immediate danger to human health
    As I wasn't sure whether I was entirely responsible for this and if I would get in trouble for getting it fixed myself, I notified the agency about the problem which ended with them arranging the work. They didn't leave me the option of getting another contractor to fix it, although as you say if I had anticipated this I could have resolved it without their involvement. Not sure if that would be seen as a breach of the second clause however...
  • Just to clarify, I've not poured in tons of grease intentionally but rather have disposed of small amounts of fat when cleaning dishes, etc :) I don't see this as an unusual activity of any sort and this is the first time I've had such a problem that I couldn't resolve myself via the usual means (standard commercial unblocking products).
  • dogshome
    dogshome Posts: 3,877
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    I'm afraid the answer is not to put fat & cooking oils down the sink

    This house a short section of sewer pipe with it's own trap, from the kitchen to the main pipe - Cleaning it out if it blocks is a filthy job - Having had to do it once, fat & oil are now never put down the sink

    Cooking trays are warmed on the hob so the fat can be wiped out a with paper towel which is disposed of in the waste.
    Cooking oil is collected in old coffee or jam jars, which also go in the waste
  • £190 is correct.

    It’s not just the half hour he spent with you.

    It’s the person in the office that took the call and arranged for an engineer to attend your house. It’s their boss, and the person in accounts that processes payments for operatives, it’s contribution to their phone line, gas, electricity, rent and overheads.

    It’s the hour the engineer spent getting to your house, it’s the diesel, its the cost of a van, tyres and depreciation. What’s left is profit of which a reasonable firm of plumbers are entitled to.
  • Makes sense, thanks all for the replies.
  • Jami74
    Jami74 Posts: 982
    First Post Photogenic Name Dropper First Anniversary
    It was probably about five years ago now that my sink got blocked. The letting agency tried invoicing me for £200 saying it was my fault and then accused me of lying when I denied putting rice down there (I don't even eat rice). I had the plumbers phone number so asked him and he said it was just general build up over many years. I'm now very careful about scraping plates and regularly use a supermarket sink unblocker.

    I've learnt with the letting agent not to bother them. If something needs fixing I either arrange it myself or live with it.
    Debt Free: 01/01/2020
  • tealady
    tealady Posts: 3,735
    First Post First Anniversary Mortgage-free Glee! Debt-free and Proud!
    I never use commercial sink unblocker.
    Washing soda (about £1 per bag) from the supermarket pushed into the plughole followed by boiling water keeps mine clear.
    Usually do it about once a month.
    Oh and I always mop up fat with kitchen paper before washing the dishes.
    Find out who you are and do that on purpose (thanks to Owain Wyn Jones quoting Dolly Parton)
  • Nasqueron
    Nasqueron Posts: 8,362
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Once fat is cooled I just pour it into the bin bag (ideally into a container) and throw it away. Chuck some drain unblocker down there every so often
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