A common question we receive from our domestic drainage customers is “who is responsible for unblocking a drain?”
The reason it’s important to know the answer to this question is because if it’s your responsibility, then you have to front any drain unblocking or repair costs. If the responsibility lies with your local water authority however, than you’re in luck, as you won’t have to pay a penny!
How can I find out if I have a shared drain?
A quick call to your local water authority (If you’re living in the South East UK, this will most likely be Thames Water or Southern Water). They will be able to advise you whether your blocked drain is a shared drain.
If it’s shared, they will send out a drainage engineer to address the issue. If it’s not a shared drain, then you will require the services of a professional London drainage company, such as Flo-Well.
Why is it important to find out if I have a shared drain?
In 2011 the law regarding the responsibility of drainage and sewer networks changed. However, many people are unaware of these changes and are spending on drainage services that they are not actually responsible for.
In simple terms, you are no longer responsible for private sewers that you share with another property, or for the drains that lie outside your property boundary, but you still maintain responsibility for the drains located within your property boundary.
Confused? Hopefully, the image below will help clear things up!
I live in a detached house, what are my shared drainage responsibilities?
If you live in a detached house, it’s unlikely that you share drains with your neighbours (but be sure to check your property paperwork to make sure). Therefore, you will be responsible for the drains up to the property boundary (purple line in image), and your local water authority are responsible for any blockages or repairs within the public sewer and lateral drains (red line in image).
I live in a semi-detached/terrace house, do I have any shared drainage responsibilities?
If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, you are only responsible for the drains within your property boundary that are not shared. As we mentioned earlier, a quick call to your local water authority will help you find out whether you share a drain with your neighbours.
If it turns out that you do share a drain with a neighbouring property, then the water authority will be responsible for the shared drains as well as the lateral drains.
I live in a flat/apartment, what are my shared drainage responsibilities?
If you live in an apartment complex or flat, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise, your management company will be responsible for any drainage problems within the property boundary, and the local water authority for the drains and sewers outside the property boundary.
Who is responsible for a private sewer?
If you have a private sewer, you will be responsible for any maintenance or repair costs. If the private sewer serves adjoining properties, all owners will jointly be responsible for any costs.
Your local environmental health department can order you to unblock or repair a private sewer if it’s not properly maintained. If you don’t undertake the work within the specified time period, they may carry out the work themselves and send you the bill.
Questions? We’re here to help!
If you need assistance with a blocked drain, or perhaps you’ve started to hear strange gurgling sounds coming from your toilet, our team are standing by to help and are more than happy to help answer any of your drainage questions.
Remember, for professional drain unblocking in London, contact the drainage experts at Flo-Well Drainage and Plumbing today!