Who's responsible for drain repairs?

Rachel Greene-Taylor
Written by: Rachel Greene-Taylor
Posted on: 1 September 2015

Don't let drain repairs drain your bank account!

It doesn't take long to notice blocked drains. Toilets that won’t flush properly will win your attention pretty quickly. Of course you want the problem fixed right away, but don't rush to pay for expensive repairs unless you have to. Changes to the law mean you're only responsible for your own drains.

What's changed?

It used to be a legal requirement for homeowners to maintain shared 'private' sewers within their property — as well as some drains outside the property boundaries.

However, as of October 2011, things have changed. Water and sewerage companies are now responsible for these repairs. But don't expect them to shout it from the rooftops!

For more info, check out what the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs are doing with the water and sewage services in your area.

What are you responsible for?

Your drains, and your drains only! No matter what anyone else tells you, you're only responsible for the drains used by your home. Even if your drain meets a neighbour's, you're only accountable for your part of the drain.

It's always a good idea to insure your property and cover private drains with home insurance.

What are water companies responsible for?

Drain cover with ‘Manchester' stamped on it

Drain cover with ‘Manchester' stamped on it

"No matter what anyone else tells you, you're only responsible for the drains used by your home"

How do you report a blocked drain?

If a blocked drain is causing problems you can contact your council's environmental health department to find out who's responsible for its repair.

It's also a good idea to contact your water company. You can find this out by visiting the Consumer Council for Water website.

And that's all there is to it. There's really no need to let your drains drive you insane!

Our Magazine sections


Our Magazine sections


directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?
Close ×
directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?

Things you need to know about Over 50s life insurance:
Premiums stop after your 90th birthday but you still enjoy cover for the rest of your life. In the first year, if you die from natural causes we will refund any premiums, or if you die as a result of an accident, we will pay your cash sum. After the first year regardless of the cause of death we will pay your cash sum. Depending on how long you live, the total sum paid in premiums may be more than the cash sum payable on death. If you stop paying your premiums before the end of your policy your cover will stop 30 days after your missed premium and you won’t get anything back. This isn’t a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made. Inflation will reduce the buying power of your cash sum in the future.

Close ×