The subject of drains is not one that excites most people buying a house. But Conveyancing Solicitors know that problems do arise because the ownership of drains is often far from clear. It is therefore very encouraging that the Government has published its proposals for most such private drains to be adopted by drainage companies.
Homeowners do not usually worry about drains until something goes wrong – and then they may find out that the drain pipes connecting their property to the public sewer system run under adjoining properties and are not maintained by a drainage company or the local council. Instead the drains within each property are the responsibility of each house-owner. Difficulties can arise in finding out exactly which properties are connected to the drain, and in getting an owner to remedy a defect which is causing problems for other owners.
Where one owner has to have a blockage cleared or get a broken pipe replaced, they may ask the owners of all other properties connected to the same run of drains to contribute to the cost. However the owner who pays for the work will have to find out which other properties are connected to the drain, and then in getting contributions from the owners of those properties. And if it is necessary to replace a complete run of drain pipe then all owners will have to share the costs, which can place a considerable burden on home-owners.
The government’s new proposals will effectively transfer all these shared private drains into public ownership, so that if any faults arise in future then the local drainage company will be responsible for carrying out any repairs. This should make things easier for house-owners when drainage problems arise in future.
If a property is directly connected to a public sewer, the drains within the property boundary will remain the responsibility of the owner. Also at present pumped drainage systems, septic tanks, and similar arrangements will not be affected and will remain privately owned.
Fascinating stuff, eh? As I have outlined above, until the politicians act, ignoring this issue can still be very costly. This underscores the necessity of finding a Quality Conveyancing Solicitor, willing to go that extra mile.
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