Are your tenants complaining about your drinking water?

August 26, 2012

Landlords Insurance

As a responsible landlord, you should be aware of your legal obligation to provide a safe environment for your tenants.

That may apply to the provision of safe water supplies.

If your tenants start to complain about the drinking water in your property, you may be obliged to take urgent steps to investigate the position and perhaps to call in expert advice.  If you fail to take appropriate action with respect to any potential safety issue, you may be putting at risk your landlords insurance cover.

In the case of water, your tenants concerns are most likely to come into one of the following categories:

  1. strange smells from the water;
  2. cloudiness or other apparent pollutants in the water, even if it is generally clear;
  3. odd tastes.

Of course, the problem may be a combination of all three.

There are many potential causes of these problems in the water supply and the good news is that in the vast majority of cases they are likely to be trivial and harmless.

For example, if there has been some work locally on the water mains it may have disturbed sediments leading to a short period of cloudy but harmless supply.  Your water company will normally have advised you of this in advance where possible.

One of your first courses of action should be to contact your water services provider and ask for their assistance.

More rarely, the problem may be attributable to pollutants entering the supply in your property itself.  In older properties this might happen where plumbing is ancient and where it may have been significantly altered over decades on a DIY basis.

For example, there have been cases discovered where the heating system has been unintentionally linked into the domestic water supply.  A potentially dangerous situation given that heating systems may contain anti-fungal and anti-corrosion agents that are toxic.

In some older properties there may still be lead pipes involved in the domestic water supply and the dangers of these are well-known.  You should be very clear that your property contains no such pipework and should not hesitate to ask a plumber for advice if required.

The bottom line is that tenants’ complaints over water quality should be taken seriously and dealt with immediately.

You may find more information on the government’s website*.




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