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Who Is Responsible For Blocked Drains?

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Who Is Responsible For Blocked Drains?

Blocked drains are always unwelcome and are not always easy to sort out. That might be because whatever it is that is blocking them proves stubbornly resistant to all attempts to remove it. Should that be the case, it may also not always be totally clear who is responsible for dealing with the situation – after all, don’t we pay our water companies to maintain the sewers?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple, so this month, the team at Power Rod is going to be taking a detailed look at who is responsible for blocked drains and sewers.


Drains and sewers – the difference

We know that drains and sewers are both tools for removing our wastewater, but what’s the difference between them?

There are actually two kinds of drains – there are the usually visible pipes that divert rain and wastewater off your property and those, known as lateral drains, that divert it away from your property and into the public sewers.

The sewers, meanwhile, collect wastewater from a number of different properties and convey it to a treatment centre.


Aerial view of residential houses


Drains and sewers – who’s responsible for which?

The sewers are nice and straightforward. Because they’re used by multiple households, the cost of their upkeep is met by what you pay in your water rates. Essentially, anything that isn’t within the boundaries of your property is someone else’s problem, so, if there’s a blockage in the sewers, you’re not responsible for sorting it out.

However, it gets more complicated when it comes to the drains. If you live in a detached house, you’ll be responsible for maintaining and repairing all the drains that are within the boundaries of your property, because they’ll almost certainly be for your use only. That means that you’ll have to sort out clearing any blockages occurring there.

If you live in a semi-detached or a terraced house, on the other hand, there’s a chance – although it’s by no means a given – that you might share lateral drains with your neighbours. In this case, you again are only responsible for those drains that are for your exclusive use. The shared lateral drains need to be maintained or repaired by your water company.

For those that live in a block of flats, there’s good news, because you’re unlikely to have any responsibilities for any of the external drains. The freeholder or management company will be responsible for unblocking any drains that lie within the property’s boundaries.


How do I know if I have shared drains?

Your local water authority will always be able to advise as to whether your drains are shared or not, if for no other reason than that they will also need to know whether they are their responsibility or not.


If you need help with blocked drains, Power Rod are experts at identifying and fixing drainage issues with the very latest technology such as CCTV surveys and drain jetting. With no call out charges and 24/7 emergency services also available, we’re the number one choice in the Home Counties – including Watford, Aylesbury, Bedford, Stevenage, Milton Keynes and other areas. Contact us today for more information.

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