A leak from a bath waste area is a problem for any homeowner; however for those that live in a residential block, it may be unclear as to whose responsibility it is to fix it. www.leaseholdersupport.co.uk suggests how to tackle the problem.
The bath waste area describes the waste outlet below the bath tub. A leak from the bath waste area can cause many problems when living in a residential block due to the fact that water may penetrate into the property below. Although there are many causes of a leak from the bath waste area, the most common causes are:
A washer may be missing from the bath waste assembly.
A washer may be out of alignment in the bath waste assembly.
The bath waste assembly has become loose due to the bath having become insecurely mounted, (the bath feet could have become dislodged or the bath was installed without first being fitted into a timber frame.
The waste pipe connecting to the base of the bath waste assembly may be out of alignment, worked loose or not having been screwed onto the right thread of the grooves in assembly.
The waste pipe outlet is not running flat or is running downhill, causing water to stay in the pipe which over time would bend the pipe, causing overstress on the bath waste joint.
The waste pipe outlet is fitted without sufficient fixings and heat from the hot water causes the outlet pipe to bend therefore overstressing the connection at the base of the bath waste assembly.
Solving the problem
For any leaks, it is necessary to establish what area of the building is affected, as assuming a bath panel is fitted, the leak may only become apparent when a damp smell is noticed or water penetration is visible in the property below.
Intermittent leaks in warm humid areas such as under a bath are often a case of dry rot and should be treated very seriously. Dry rot can spread very quickly and cause damage to the structure of a building.
Service ducts between flats can further disguise a problem as water may even by-pass the property immediately below and not cause a damp ingress until perhaps a horizontal pipe or timber is hit, the water may then travel into another dwelling via a bridging effect. The following questions may assist in helping to diagnose the problem:
What floor is your flat on?
Do you know if the bathrooms are situated one above another?
Is there a service duct?
In which direction does your bath waste leave your bathroom?
Do you know if any other flats are affected?
Is the leak constant?
Is there any water coming into your flat?
Does the leak occur at all times of the day or specific times?
When did you first notice any trace of dampness?
Has the dampness got worse since?
Have you contacted your neighbours to see if they are aware of any leaks?
Have your neighbours just used their washing machine, bath or shower?
If it becomes apparent that the leak is coming from a neighbours flat, then the occupier should be advised as soon as possible and they should not use the bath until it has been repaired. It is the responsibility of the occupier to repair any pipe that is solely used for the flat in question.
Who responsible for repairs?
As a leak from a bath waste area is most commonly confined to a single flat, it is the responsibility of the occupier to make any repairs. A good lease will reserve rights for the freeholder or Management Company to force entry into a flat in case of an emergency, the cost is then recharged back to the flat owner.
(Weekly, fortnightly or monthly)