From the 1st of October 2011 the ownership of drains and sewers in England and Wales will change. Some homeowners will see little difference in terms of who owns the drain, but for others it could mean that a significant portion of the drainage within their property boundary is now the responsibility of the water or sewerage company.

Drain changes for terraces

Terraced properties usually share a drain which passes under the boundary of a number of houses. Before the drain ownership changes come into effect on the 1st of October, it would have been the responsibility of all the homeowners who shared the private sewer pipes to pay for a repair to a sewer. All homeowners would of course be responsible for their section of sewer until it connected to the private shared sewer. The homeowners would also be responsible for repairs to the private shared sewer until it connected to the public sewer, so they may have had to pay for repairs to the pipe even if the fault was not on their own property.

When the changes come into force, the sewerage company will now be responsible for all the private shared sewer, from the point it leaves the first connected property’s boundary. This means that homeowners only have responsibility for the sections of drainage pipe on their property before it connects to the private shared sewer.

It’s worth noting that if your property was built before 1937, the shared private sewer is already the responsibility of the sewerage company.

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