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There may come a time when you discover a supply or soil pipe is crossing from your neighbour’s property onto yours, which then leaves a number of questions to be answered. For example, “What happens if there is a blockage?”, “What happens if the pipe needs repairing?” or even “When there’s a neighbour’s drain pipe on my property, who is responsible for it?”.
To help you answer these questions and to give you more peace of mind about the pipes around your property, we at Coastal Drains have prepared this quick guide on sharing drains with your neighbours. Read on to learn more, or get in touch with us if there is a drainage problem on your property that you think we can solve.
If your property shares a public sewer connection with a neighbouring property, it’s likely that you will have a lateral drain running somewhere close to your land. This is a soil pipe which may run over the boundary line between your properties, acting as a drain for both yours and your neighbour’s homes before taking waste away to the nearest treatment facility.
In some cases, there may also be a shared supply pipe running between yours and your neighbour’s properties. These carry water to your property, rather than away from it, providing your household with fresh drinking water.
If there is a problem with a drain pipe somewhere around your property, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine who has the responsibility of fixing it. In the past (back before October 2011), this used to always be the homeowner. However, this has since changed, so now residents and property owners are only expected to pay for maintenance and repair work on drains that fall within their property boundaries.
This means that if there is a drainage pipe that has stopped working on your land, you will have to pay in order to make sure it’s unblocked or repaired as needed. These are your private drains and you are free to contact any professional service you like in order to ensure the work is done to the highest standards.
The only exception to this rule will be if you have a lateral drain running underneath your property. Neither of you are responsible for getting lateral drainage pipes fixed. Instead, this task will fall to your local water company, so all you will have to do is report that there is a problem.
If you find that your private supply pipe has become blocked or damaged, it will be your responsibility to ensure that it gets repaired. However, if the supply pipe is shared, it will be down to both you and every other property owner who uses it to make sure that it’s fixed. If you have only just moved into your property the former owners may have had an agreement in place as to how costs would be split, so we would highly recommend checking up on this as soon as possible.
Whether or not you’re responsible for drain repair work where the damage was caused by tree roots all depends on who owns the tree. Legally, your duty of care is to trees which are growing on your property. This means that if the tree in question falls outside of your boundary lines, it won’t be your responsibility to pay for the repair work. The task will only fall to you if the tree is yours.
If there is a problem involving tree roots invading drains on your property, your property may be covered under your home insurance policy. You’ll have to get in touch with your provider in order to find out if this is the case and to discuss details.
If you own a rural property that uses a private sewer system, such as a septic tank or sewage treatment plant, you may find that there is more than one property using it. Even if the tank is entirely your own, there is a chance it will be found on your neighbour’s land. Conversely, you may also find that one of your neighbour’s systems is on your property.
When the septic tank is shared between properties, you will have to find out if there is any particular legal agreement covering access and determining responsibility. We would also suggest that you do everything you can to remain civil with the owners of surrounding properties, to help prevent any issues regarding who gets access and who doesn’t.
If you own a tank that happens to be on someone else’s land, you will need to contact your solicitor and speak with them about legal agreements for access. They should be able to help you further.
If you’ve been having problems with a soil or supply drain on your property and you know it’s your responsibility to get it fixed, Coastal Drains is here to help. We have an experienced team ready and waiting to carry out work on a variety of issues, whether you have a blocked drain or an entire section of waste pipe has collapsed.
We can even help if you don’t know where the problem is by carrying out a CCTV drain survey, so the problem can be taken care of in a short amount of time. If, in the meantime, we discover it’s not your responsibility to get the problem fixed, we can also provide advice on getting in touch with your local authority.
We’ll be ready and waiting whenever you need us, and our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so please don’t hesitate to call or send us an email when you need a specialist service to get your pipes flowing again. We’ll be there as soon as we can be to help you out, and our use of state-of-the-art equipment means that we can finish quickly, with minimal disruption to your day.