Blocked Drains Outside Who Is Responsible

Many problems can make your ideal home unpleasant, and a blocked drain is one of the biggest concerns of homeowners. The smell of blocked drains can be unpleasant, but they can also negatively impact so many aspects of your everyday life.

So, given the difficulties caused by a blocked drain, there is an acceptance that this issue must be resolved quickly. However, the issue for many people is who is responsible for fixing a blocked drain.

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This guide aims to give you an overview of the different types of drains in and around a home, and who is responsible for drain repairs.

What Is A Drain?

Most people are familiar with drains, responsible for drawing waste and water from premises, and all the property contained within the premises boundary.

Outside drains

What Is A Lateral Drain?

A lateral drain carries out the critical task of taking wastewater from your premises to a sewer. Typically, lateral drains lie outside property boundaries, commonly found running beneath a road or public pavement.

Lateral Drain

Where Is The Drainage Blocked?

At times, where the blockage occurs is crucial, especially with a shared drain which carries wastewater from many properties. All the owners will likely have some responsibility, even if the owner of the property where the blockage occurs faces most disruption.

In some cases, where a lateral drain is shared between several properties, lateral drains might sit beneath a property.

What Is A Sewer?

A sewer holds waste and water from various drains in a small area. It might be you have a septic tank or cesspit connected to your property.


Know The Local Sewerage Companies And Who Your Sewer Serves

Most sewers are publicly owned, with responsibility falling to a water company, and they are responsible for maintaining these sewers. If you benefit from the services a sewerage company provides, you will likely pay a monthly or annual charge.

If the sewer is available for a number of properties, all homeowners are jointly responsible for the maintenance costs.

There are also privately owned sewers, with these owners bearing the cost and responsibility of removing waste and in maintaining sewers and lateral drains.

Does It Matter If There Is A Public Sewer Or Private Sewer At The Property?

With a public sewer on a property, the sewerage company responsible for the public sewers have a right to access your premises to maintain the sewer. The company should have a code of practice detailing their behaviour and actions on private land, and homeowners can request a copy of this from the sewerage company.

Homeowners Carry Responsibility For private Drains

With a private sewer, maintenance is the responsibility of the homeowner. Still, in most cases, they will enlist the services of an expert to review and manage their sewer.

Who Deals With Blocked Highway Drains?

If you ever need to enquire about who owns a drain, you can undertake a drain survey. This work involves reviewing sewer maps and liaising with local authorities to determine who is ultimately responsible for this style of work.

This will also provide information on road gullies, and the areas covered by relevant water bodies, such as Yorkshire Water or Thames Water.

Get Help To Deal With A Blocked Drain

No matter where you live, there will be a water company who will likely be required to maintain public drains and drain covers. Failing that, the local authority should have responsibility, so feel free to contact your local council on this issue.

When the drain is within the property boundary, the property owner is responsible for maintaining or repairing these drains.

There Is Responsibility For Shared Drains Too

For lateral drains, shared with a neighbour or other property owner, the local water company holds responsibility for maintaining and repairing these matters.

Who Deals With A Private Drain Cover And Private Drains?

If there are private drains, drain covers or even private sewers within a property boundary, the property owner is responsible for them.

Dealing With A Pipe Blockage In A Rental Property

For rental property, the landlord’s responsibility covers significant repair and maintenance work at the property, which includes resolving blocked drains. If there are less-pressing drain issues inside the home, such as a clogged toilet or sink, the tenant will likely have to resolve these matters.

Please Refer To Your Tenancy Agreement

As with most matters concerning renting property, the landlord and tenants should refer to the tenancy agreement. This document should contain detailed information on whose responsibility repair work is, and who to contact regarding blocked drains.

Also, be mindful many landlords use a management company or a letting agent, so they might have responsibility for pipes, drains and all related matters.

Tenants Should Contact Landlords As Soon As They Find A Problem

If you have any doubts, concerns or questions, please contact your landlord as early as possible.

Tenants should feel encouraged to report drainage issues to landlords as soon as possible, as this is also in the landlords' best interest. The sooner a problem is reported, the more likely it can be resolved quickly, and more affordably.

How To Better Manage Your Drains - Take Responsibility

While it is essential to know who maintains and repairs drains, home owners can be proactive to prevent blockages at their property. Taking care of your pipes and ensuring there is a satisfactory flow through your pipe will dramatically lower the cost of pipe and drain maintenance while minimising the likelihood of blockages.

Preventing A Broken Drain

Prevention is the best cure, especially when it comes to drainage and water flow around your home. A few simple changes or extra steps at home can make life easier in the long term.

Follow These Tips To Save Time And Money Later

The following tips are helpful in preventing a blockage in your pipes or drains:

  • Using a drain guard to all plug holes in your home reduces waste dropping into your drain
  • Using commercially available drain cleaner helps preserve the condition of a drain
  • Pour hot water down your drain every week, ensuring oil flows through your drain as opposed to becoming clogged
  • Be on the lookout for warning signs such as leaks or nasty smells, which might indicate there is a problem with a drain
  • Be mindful in disposing of beauty products , wet wipes and sanitary items, as these can cause blockages

The more you can do to minimise drainage issues the better, regardless of who holds responsibility for clearing drain pipes.

Avoiding Problems Is Always More Effective Than Repairing Them

While it is possible to fix a pipe or public drain, it is easier if you don't have to repair them in the first place. This goes for any issue, but is certainly the case when it comes to drainage matters.

Taking better care of your drainage solutions remove the need to repair them.

Determine Who Carries The Financial Cost

We know the costs of pipe maintenance and repairs can be expensive, which is why it is vital to ascertain responsibility. There isn't one single answer when it comes to repair and maintenance of pipes and drains.

Sometimes it will be a local water company, or perhaps even water and sewerage companies. It could even the county council or local authority who is responsible for sewers and drain issues.

Most people would rather not fix sewerage and remove wastewater themselves, even if they hold responsibility. This is why knowing a local professional to contact to fix sewerage, drainage and pipe blockage matters is a great comfort for property owners.

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