Maybe you have a good relationship with your neighbours, but that relationships can often be put to the test by life’s little problems. There is one thing that can provoke many disagreements between neighbours and that is who is responsible for drainage – a problem that you probably don’t think about until the worst thing happens and the drains system become blocked.
Who is Responsible for a Blocked Drain?
The responsibility for a blocked drain will depend on the location of the sewer or drain blockage. First, you have to find out if the blockage is on a public sewer or a private drain.
Private or Public?
The pipes that are within your home make a drain system. When a drain from your property connects to a drain from another property, it becomes a sewer.
A sewer is made of the drain from your property and drains from another property. It can be private or public, and the responsibility for resolving problems in case of blocking depends on the type of sewer. Still, it’s not as easy as you might think to know which is private or public, so you will have to make some tests.
A public sewer is a sewer which is the responsibility of the sewage company, which is usually a local water authority.
When a sewer has been taken over by a water authority, the maintenance, cleaning and fixing of any blockages is their responsibility. The local water authority must have plans for all the sewage they are responsible for.
If you own a property and if you use a drain, then it’s a ‘private drain’, and in that case, if it gets blocked, you are solely responsible for fixing the blockage, and you’ll have to pay for all costs of a private contractor like Blocked Drains Brighton.
If your property and properties of your neighbours all share the same pipe than it’s a ‘private sewer’. In case of blockage of a private sewer, every household should share the charges for clearing the blockage. If there’s a doubt over who’s responsible and who is guilty of the blockage, it is the best to contact your local Environmental Health Officers (EHOs).
If there is still no agreement and the sewage system is still closed, the EHO will hire a private company to clean the sewage whose costs will be shared by all involved sides, the so-called ‘works in default’.
What Should You Do If Your Sewer or Drain Is Blocked
Contact your local EHO if you’re not sure which type of drain or sewer is blocked. They can come to your place and locate the problem and give you tips what to do next. Also, they can tell you is it only your responsibility or responsibility of your neighbours as well.
If you are sure that the blockage is in your private part of the drain, you have to lift the inspection chamber, if that is possible, and check if there’s any backed up sewage. Also, it’s good to check with the neighbours and find out if they have been affected at all, no matter if the blockage is 100% in your pipe.
If the property is yours and if you can’t unblock the drain yourself, you will have to engage a specialist drain clearance company. In case that you rent your property, it’s the owner’s responsibility to call them first. If the landlord does not do this, just call EHO, and they will deal with them on your behalf.
What if My Neighbours Refuse to Pay Up?
You need to share your costs if you find that the blockage is in a common sewage system and that it is a shared responsibility. But there are some people who will refuse to pay for the unblocking costs. If negotiating with such neighbours does not help, first call EHO. They have experience in this kind of situations and can help you to solve the problem.
If there really is no progress and the work is not finished, let alone paid for, EHO can issue a notice on all persons involved – but keep in mind that it will increase costs because they don’t do anything for free.