Latent damage and fair play – Hair today, blocked tomorrow

Blocked shower drain with human hair

Latent damage is a little-known concept.  So, what is it?  In short, it is damage that occurs later than caused. Confused? Let us explain.

Hair today, blocked tomorrow

Latent damage is damage occurring later than physically caused.

A shower tray drain-pipe, for example, blocked by a previous tenants’ long hairs, may not become immediately apparent. Months after new tenants have arrived they may experience slow or blocked drains.

Hence the play on words: hair today, blocked tomorrow.

Blocked shower drain with human hair

Blocked shower drain with human hair (Leydon Lettings: Property Inspection)

Benefit of the doubt

Unless the drains are cleared between lets; we cannot be certain which tenant, if any, caused the blockage. ‘Unblocking charges’ should not be demanded from current tenants, unless certain they are the ones responsible!

‘Benefit of the doubt’ is the fair-play approach we have adopted towards our tenants since Leydon Lettings was founded over 30 years ago.

Latent damage – prevention and protection

During our students’ summer vacations, it is advisable to inexpensively prevent all obvious sources of latent damage.

Issues to look out for:

Unblocking washing-machine filters and unblocking: shower, bath, basin and kitchen sink-drains.

Common causes of blocked drains are: hair, soap, razor-heads, cotton buds, hair clips, colour catcher sheets and wet wipes.

It is wise to check outside gulleys too! Gulleys can easily become blocked with grease, or leaves.   Landlords could speak to trades-people and ask them to possibly inspect any washing machine s’-bends when connected to kitchen-wastes.  To prevent latent damage simply pour ‘drain-clear-fluid’ down all drains in all houses.

Landlords are advised to establish a checklist table with signatures as to who has conducted the clean and when. Responsibility for blockages are immediately established when such action is taken to prevent them.

Leydon Lettings, without such pre-emptive action, has no choice other than to accept any such claims as latent damage. We refund any charge to the tenants that they may have paid to remove the previous tenants blockage.

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About the author


Formerly a student living in a rented room my vision focused on excellence. Letting phenomenal student houses soon became more than a day job - more a way of life.

Continuing to look after our tenants I subsequently also founded what is widely recognised as a phenomenal student lettings agency.