Safe drinking water

Question from April updated on 22nd August 2014:

Is the landlord obliged to ensure the tenant has safe drinking water? Rural property. Tank water collected from the gutters/drains.

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), landlords have an obligation to ensure the premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair, and are responsible for ensuring the premises complies with all the relevant health, safety, and building regulations that apply to the premises. If the premises does not have a reticulated water supply, landlords are also required to provide an adequate means for the collection and storage of water. A supply of potable water (i.e. water that is fit for drinking) is a requirement of the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947. Where the water supply is through tank water, the landlord has an obligation under the Act to ensure the tank water system is maintained. If there is a problem with the tank water system, the tenant should notify the landlord in the first instance. Information regarding water supply, including tank water, can be found on our website: To discuss your situation further, or for information about landlord/tenant obligations, you can visit the Ministry’s website (, or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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