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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have been leasing a tea room for the last 3 months. I took

Customer Question

I have been leasing a tea room for the last 3 months. I took over from a previous person and I have a lease from the landlord. As far as I am concerned it is new lease.
The drain outside has now blocked and I cannot open the tea room. It appears that the water from the sink/dishwasher etc goes (illegally I think) into the same drain as the rain water and into a soak away. The plumber has found 18 metres of blockage (mostly fat) and says the whole system appears defective.
The landlord says (1) I am responsible for all blockages (2) I am responsible as the fat must be mine as I am the only unit with food preparation. (3) As I "took over" the lease from the previous leaseholder ( though I think it is a new lease), I am responsible for the previous leaseholders actions.
Questions ...
(1) What can I do ?
(2) Is it my responsibility to sort it out, when the drain is outside my area and full of stuff I didn't put in it (but I cannot prove it 100%)?
(3) As the drain system does not comply with building regs ( I am pretty sure), am I still responsible ?? Surely the landlord should have ensured a legal working system of drains ??
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : What does your lease say please?
Customer: The lease says "counterpart/under lease". The landlady ( not landlord, oops) is in possession under a superior lease. The lease itself says it is between x ( the landlady) and the 2 lessors ( right word ?). It then has 2pages of interpretations ( ie explanations), a map , then it has "grant" and says it grants the lease. Then it has " rights excepted and reserved" , whiv
Customer: To continue ( think I sent half an answer already)... Rights reserved and excepted which seems to be the right to use the tea rom. It refers to "service media", but all in context of only landlady being allowed to " connect", "develop" , reroute" etc the "service media" . It also mention right of entry. The bits about utilities and insurance may be relevant. It says tenant will pay costs of " supply and removal of elec, gas, sewage and telecommunications " etc . However it makes no mention of tenant being responsible for badly ( illegally) built drains or drains outside the property or that the tenant is responsible for previous tenants errors. The lease is 16 pages long so I can only do a summary. It may be a standard one for all I know.
Customer: Any chance of continuing tomorrow as it's a bit late ?..
Alex Watts : Do you have a full repairing lease?
Customer: Not sure what full repairing lease is. There are 33 different headings in lease, but most relevant seems to be under " common items" that says " tenant shall pay landlord fair proportion of costs payable by landlord for the maintenance , repair, lighting, cleaning, renewal, of all service media, structure and other items not on the property but used or capable of being used by the property in common with other land " . Even if this this means I/ we are responsible for some costs, I still wonder if we should pay for the remedy of a fundamental error in not putting in proper drains in, in the first place. It's as if we rent a house with half a roof and when it rains, the landlord asks us to pay for finishing the roof off. Moreover, the problems of blockage were caused (99percent at least) by the 2 previous tenants.
Alex Watts : Does it say anywhere it is a full repairing lease?