Blocked drains: Who is responsible?

Blocked drains: Who is responsible?

Blocked drains can cause a whole raft of problems, including flooding, slow drainage and low water pressure. Having working drains is vitally important for all properties. But if drains are blocked, whose responsibility is it? The answer to this depends on what kind of drain it is.

Types of drains explained

In order to establish who is responsible for dealing with a blocked drain, we first need to understand the kind of drain it is.

A drain is a pipe that takes water and waste away from a building. Any blockages within this kind of drain are the responsibility of the private property owner. This means a property owner or landlord needs to arrange their own drain unblocking.

A lateral drain is a section of pipe that carries water away from a property to a sewer. These may often be shared between several properties and run from outside a property’s boundary, under a public pavement or road. The responsibility for this usually lies with the water company that provides your service.

Understandably, people confuse drains and sewers. A sewer is a network of pipes that carry sewage from drains to treatment points. Most of these are privately owned, although according to Citizens Advice, some are private and some are unadopted and you could still be responsible for these.

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How do I know if my drains are blocked?

Tell-tale signs of blocked drains include flooding, slow drainage in your property’s sinks and showers and water or waste appearing in unexpected locations outdoors. A bad odour, a gurgling noise from your drains and sewage backup in a sink or toilet are other signs. A blocked system may also allow just one facility to drain properly at a time.

To understand where a blockage is and ascertain whose responsibility it is may involve the use of a CCTV drain survey. Special cameras can be sent into drains to really understand what is happening there and identify problems. If the problem is within drains on your own property, then it will be your responsibility to remedy. If you are searching for ‘CCTV drainage surveys Kingsbury, for example, always look for qualified professional drain surveyors such as to carry out the work.

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Blocked drains can be highly problematic and stressful, so keeping them clean through regular cleaning or jetting is also recommended.

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