Frozen Water Supply - Who's Responsible?

Folks, Does anyone know who is responsible if there is no water supply to a rented house?

Here’s the situation.
I rent a house in the countryside.
It’s a bungalow, built in the 1970’s according to the landlord.

Tonight the water, both hot and cold water have stopped flowing from the taps.
All taps are no longer functional.

I don’t know if it’s a council water supply problem or a problem with the house.

I know for a fact that the water supply on the house side is not as it should be. That’s for sure. i.e. the main water supply pipe that leads to the kitchen has been installed by amateurs or incompetent professionals an is an unprotected above ground supply entering the kitchen through the gable wall of the house with no insulation.
It is fully exposed to the outside cold weather (recently about -10C (the house is on relatively high ground (about 75m above sea level))).

Who is responsible for the water supply being stopped?
Who should I contact?
Thanks for any help on this issue.

Would the first thing to do not be getting a plumber to come out and do an assessment, this would be charged to the landlord and then take it from there.

I would contact the landlord, Tell him to sort it, If he is unable to sort it within a reasonable period (no more than 24 hours) then I would call an emergency plumber and deduct the cost from the next months rent & submit a receipt.

Council responsibility normally ends at property boundary. After that it is Landlord’s responsibility so I would ask landlord to sort it and let him worry about whether he can stick it to the council.

I have exactly the same problem no water at all.
The water supply acc to landlord, is ‘roof water’ and when this runs out we can connect to the mains outside.

Until I read this I had been thinking of it as a kind of ‘act of God’ problem. The landlord has supplied us with a huge barrel of water and will supply more as we run out.

Landlord brought his brother in to look at the pipes and I saw him on a ladder outside. I think the problem is the same as W’s with incompetent plumbing.

The landlords brother said he would tell the landlord what needed to be done (but wasn’t specific apart from saying BIG JOBS) and landlord would have to do it once the weather improved as nothing could be done until then.

The pipes that let water out from the upstairs sink and shower are also blocked coming down through the ceiling and dripping from the centre light fitting.

The landlords brother seems to have stopped that but again says that it can’t be fixed until the weather changes.

Re: “Frozen Water Supply - Who’s Responsible?”…

Answer: Mr Jack Frost - you should sue him :unamused:

Assume by this reply that you think nobody is responsible and that by asking the question we are being unreasonable.
However, there surely are times when incompetent plumbing/pipe work is unable to stand up to weather conditions that competent plumbing/pipework would have been able to withstand.

This is not the first hard winter and it is reasonable to make such enquiries when you are paying rent.

Three way thing in my view.

Council’s responsibility is to get the water to the property.

Landlord’s responsibility is to make sure the plumbing system is fit for purpose to provide water for heating, bathing, cooking and eating.

Tenant’s responsibility is to take care of the house such that it doesn’t get damaged by carelessness or misuse.

In the house I rent the external supply froze last January, possibly council problem, who didn’t help a tuppenny damn, just instructed to wait for the temp to increase! I kept the heating on so no pipes in the house were damaged. Landlord may have had the responsibility to ensure pipes were adequately insulated (they weren’t, but I kept a close watch on them to prevent freezing). I do think ithe tenant’s responsibility is to turn the heating on to prevent pipes freezing. Not doing so is careless.

Legally I haven’t a clue where the responsibility ends. But if I were a landlord I’d be fairly annoyed if tenants left the heating off for weeks and all the pipes froze.

Water has a freezing point, when you have a sustained period below freezing things start to freeze believe it or not :wink:

WTF is the landlord supposed to do? Next you’ll be ringing him to complain about the snow & you want it removed :laughing:


I agree with some of this. From point of connection at boundary to the house though is the landlords responsibility.
If plumbing is properly completed in accordance with BS 6700 then I’d say that it would take a lot lot more than these few weeks of freeze to prevent the adequate water supply.

Anyhow, contacted that agent who told me that some 20 or so houses, including his own, were without water today. Fair enough. But I pointed out to him the issue with the outside pipe being frozen and that this was not a good thing. After more of the 20 houses (read we’re all in this together lark) he eventually informed me that he would contact the landlord. The landlord is due anytime now. Not sure if we’re going to be able to resolve it. Good news that a thaw (temporary I believe) is on the way on Saturday.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions.

We’ve been out gathering snow and melting it on the oven to enable us to flush toilets and brush teeth.

Another example of poor building standards in Ireland.

Properly insulate all plumbing so it doesn’t freeze.

My mate is renting a house where the pump from the well is in an outside garage. He was without water for a week or two last winter when it froze.

Then this winter when the first cold spell was forecast the landlord, fairplay to him, sent around an electrician to install an infra red lamp to stop it freezing again.

It was then much to my mate’s surprise that the supply froze again. He went out to see what the problem was and immediately saw that the electrician had located the frost stat that controlled the lamp directly beneath the lamp! How do these guys pass exams? :angry: