How putting off everyday household chores could cost you £5,000

From taking the bins out to stocking up your wood burner: How putting off everyday household chores could cost you £5,000

  • Failing to fix a leaky pipe in time could land you with a £1000 fine
  • Untidy gardens can cost you £5000 and broken bins £500 if left undealt with 
  • You can be fined £300 for blowing smoke up your own chimney in some areas 

We all put off jobs around the house sometimes – but did you know some could land you with fines of up £5,000?

Regulations around building safety, water supply and waste management could see you slapped with unexpected costs if you procrastinate too much.

As well as hefty fines, you could also face paying for water damage to your own home or a neighbour’s home, or be liable for someone getting injured.

Leaky pipes

You can be fined £1000 for allowing your water fittings to be or remain in a defective condition

Not fixing a leaky pipe or tap could mean facing a fine of up to £1,000 under the Water Industry Act 1991.

If your water company has recorded a leak in your area, but cannot source the leak to their pipes, they can issue a legal notice to inform you of a potential private leak and your requirement to fix it.

The notice will issue a timescale and if you do not fix the problem, the company can carry out the works through a contractor and pass the costs onto you.

You can also be prosecuted for allowing your water fittings to be or remain in defective condition.

Not only this, but leaks can increase your bills through lost water, although most water companies do have a leak allowance to help reduce this.

It is always best to hire a plumber before leaks become a much bigger problem.

According to Checkatrade, the average rate for a plumber is around £50/hour.

Overflowing or broken bins

Leaving your bins damaged or overflowing could result in a fine of £500, as can littering while fly-tipping could cost you double that

Any damage to rubbish bins outside your house could end up damaging your bank balance.

Fines for overflowing or broken bins can be as high as £500 under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Instead of leaving them, you can just get in touch with your local council and order more before the problem escalates.

Be careful with your mess elsewhere too, as there are fixed penalty notices for littering, including food waste, cigarette butts and chewing gum, as well as fly-tipping and not cleaning up after your dog.

A crackdown on antisocial behaviour this year saw the maximum penalties increase: you can now be fined up to £500 for littering and up to £1000 for fly-tipping.

Some councils even have penalties if you don’t put the right household waste in the right bin – so make sure you check your own council’s rules.

Blocked gutters and drains

Drains and gutters can get very clogged, especially in winter, but the damage caused if left untended to could hit your pocket hard, let alone the charges from the council

Cleaning out the drains and gutters can be a chore that many put off, but if  left unmanaged, they can cause serious damage.

Built-up water can leak into your home, harm the brickwork or even lead to water damage in your foundations.

If damage is done to your neighbour’s property as a result of blocked drains, you could land yourself with hefty fines.

Under the Building Act 1984, if a local authority concludes that the drainage provisions on a property are insufficient then they can compel the owner to carry out works for ‘renewing, repairing or cleansing’.

If they fail to take action after being served the notice, the local authority can do it themselves and charge you for it.

Councils can also take action using the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 if the problem impacts the ‘amenity’ of a local area, with fines up to £1000.

By contrast, fixing a damaged gutter is priced at £120-180 on Checkatrade.

Broken fences and untidy gardens

A broken fence – or even an untidy garden – could see you coughing up thousands

Your local authority can require a repair if damage has left a building or structure in a dangerous condition.

If the owner fails to fix it, the council may do the work themselves and claim the money back from that very owner – with the potential for an additional fine.

If there is a dispute about who is responsible for the fence, make sure you check your house deed or the Land Registry.

There is also a civil duty of care to visitors to your property, meaning you are liable if they are injured because of your broken fence or other structure.

Repairs can cost thousands of pounds, so it is much cheaper if you keep up the maintenance.

You can even be financially penalised if your garden is so untidy that it is deemed a ‘statutory nuisance’, meaning it is affecting the neighbourhood and triggering complaints.

If the owner of the garden fails to comply with the initial letter, they can receive a £100 fixed penalty notice and then further fines of up to £5000 if this is not paid. 

Log burners

Make sure to check if you live in a smoke control area so you don’t face eye-watering fines for burning fuel in your home

The use of of burners and wood burning stoves could result in an on-the-spot fine if you are found to be in violation of regulations in your area.

Introduction of smoke control areas mean councils have the power to hit households if they are found to be breaking pollution limits.

However, a survey by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), found that half of households living in pollution hotspots are unaware they are subject to regulations on their fireplaces – so make you sure check.

In smoke control areas you are not allowed to release smoke from a chimney – and can be fined up to £300 if you do.  

You can also only burn authorised fuel, unless you use an appliance approved by Defra, and you can be fined up to £1,000 if you violate this rule.

Make sure you do your homework and work out whether you are allowed to use your fireplace and that you have the correct fuel to avoid these charges.

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