Drain Repair, Unblocking and Maintenance

Drain Repair

Whose Responsibility Is It?

Many people find themselves in a dilemma when it comes to drain repair and maintenance:.  Is it their responsibility or the local water company’s?  Considering that there are so many drains, pipes and sewers interconnected throughout a household, drain responsibilities can often cause confusion. If you understand when it’s your responsibility to maintain, repair, or unblock a drain and when it’s the water company’s, you can save time and money.

To know when it is your responsibility to fix a drainage issue and when it is the water company’s responsibility, you need to understand whether the drain is a private or a shared drain (public sewer). We have outlined who is responsible for shared drains UK wide, private drains, and water company-owned drains and sewers below, no matter where you live.

What is the importance of this?

If you are responsible for the drains, then blockages and repairs must be paid for by you.  When the drains are the responsibility of the local water authority, then there’s no charge.  This is because the authority must perform any repairs.  As a result, knowing this is quite important.

Explaining drain responsibility.

Please click on this link here to see a diagram that illustrates how different types of property affect drain responsibility.

Detached houses

In the case of a property without shared drains, the homeowner would be responsible for the drains up to the property boundary (purple), while the local water authority would be responsible for blockages in the main sewer and lateral drains (blue).

Terraced and semi-detached houses

If you share a drain with your neighbour, the water authority will be responsible for the shared drain and lateral drains (blue).  Your responsibility only extends to the drains on your property that are not shared (purple).

What is a lateral drain?

Drains that carry wastewater away from your home are called lateral drains.  You’ll find it outside your property boundary, often underneath a public pavement or road and connected to the public sewer there.  Until 2011, lateral drains were the homeowner’s responsibility, but now they are the responsibility of the local water authority.