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Who is Responsible for Clearing Blocked Drains?

When there’s a drainage issue at your property, figuring out exactly what the problem is and how bad it’s gotten is the most stressful part. Blockages can be persistent, but who is responsible for getting blocked drains cleared? There are a few factors that determine when a clogged or broken drain is your responsibility and when it isn’t, and it’s helpful – and prudent – to know where responsibility lies before taking action.

Where is the drain located?

The location of the drain is the easiest way to know whether or not clearing it is your responsibility. Typically, drains that are within your property boundary are your responsibility, so for a drain which is taking wastewater directly away from your home, you’ll need to contact a drainage repair company to resolve the issue.

You are also responsible for the general maintenance of drains connected to your home, so when damage or a blockage occurs, it’s up to you to get it fixed. However, if the blockage is located in a lateral drain, then clearing and repairing the drain will be the responsibility of the water company.

What is a lateral drain?

Lateral drains are classed as drain pipes which connect up to the public sewer network. While they are connected to your private drains, the lateral drains are usually found outside of your property boundary. A blocked lateral drain won’t be your responsibility to clear – instead, that will fall to your water company.

What if the problem is in the sewer?

An inspection might find that the problem actually lies in the sewer system, not your drains. First, let’s clarify: what is the difference between a drain and a sewer? A drain takes wastewater directly away from your home. Water from sinks, baths, showers and washing machines all travel through private drains running through and out of your home. Sewers are usually publicly owned and maintained by your water company. Sewers channel wastewater from your drains and the drains of your neighbours.

If your drains are being affected by a major blockage in the sewer system – which falls outside of your property boundary – then the clearance and repair is not your responsibility.

Landlord vs tenant

In the case of a blocked drain which affects a rented property, the answer can usually be found in the tenancy agreement. Usually, the landlord will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the structure and exterior of the property, including drains and drain pipes.

Minor blockages inside the property – such as a clogged sink – can usually be resolved simply by the tenant. If the issue seems easy to fix with a home remedy, then a landlord probably won’t need to be involved. Should the issue recur not long after you’ve unblocked the drain, then this is indicative of a larger issue in the drainage system. This, as well as with major blockages in an exterior drain pipe, will likely be the landlord’s responsibility to clear and repair.

In any case, communication is key between tenant and landlord – or tenant and letting agent – so making them aware of the situation from the start should lead to the correct outcome.

Professional drain repair and drain maintenance

A blocked drain can be a nasty headache, particularly if it keeps recurring. Should the repair of a blocked drain be your responsibility, you’ll need to enlist the services of a professional drain repair company. Using the latest technology and equipment, your drainage issue will be quickly identified and resolved in the most appropriate and efficient manner.

ClearFirst Drainage provide comprehensive drain maintenance and drain repair services throughout Derby and the surrounding areas. From rapid response repair to indepth CCTV surveys, we deliver a prompt service to domestic and commercial customers alike. To find out more, simply contact our friendly team today.

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