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to expect my neighbour to pay half the bill (re: blocked drains)

(39 Posts)
Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 18:55:10

Actually, I think they should pay the whole thing as they're blocking it, but anyway.

We share a drain with a neighbour and they run slow fairly regularly. We usually sort it with drain rods, but every now and then it's beyond our capabilities. I've just had the local drain unblocker people out as our drains were so blocked we couldn't use the toilets or have a shower. Again. This is the 2nd time in 6 months, about the 5th time in 5 years we've had to call someone out. At £60 a pop

Again, the drain is full of sanitary towels and wipes. We don't use any of these items. Our drains aren't great so we don't even buy that thick quilted toilet paper as it blocks the loos. The only thing that goes down our loo is toilet paper. It has to be them, I know it's not us and they're the only other ones on the drain run

We've spoken to the neighbour again and again about not putting anything down the loos as it just blocks them, but they don't seem to care. We're the first house on the drain run so we block up first. We have to clear it before they are affected so "it's not their problem"

I'm sick of it now, sick of being the mug who gets stung with the bill and sick of pissing about with drain rods every month

So, WIBU to send them a bill and threaten the small claims court if they refuse to pay it? I know it's not a vast amount of money to fall out over but it's not the first time and I doubt it'll be the last. Perhaps if they have to part with some ££££ they might stop flushing stuff that shouldn't be flushed

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 01-Jul-15 18:58:09

Any use?
www.problemneighbours.co.uk/problems-with-drains-who-responsible-for-what.html

Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 19:00:06

Thanks!

I'll have a look

UterusUterusGhali Wed 01-Jul-15 19:02:00

I'm not sure you can prove it's not your stuff tbh.

I've had this exact problem. It was a new build and the developer unblocked the first time. He and the guy with the rod shouted "ah hah!" At me when a clump of tampons came through whilst we were all peering down the hole. hmm

I pointed out I was still breast feeding the baby I was holding and so wasn't menstruating. grin

Maybe an official sounding letter to the neighbours might do the trick.

UterusUterusGhali Wed 01-Jul-15 19:03:38

Good link!

bostonbaby Wed 01-Jul-15 19:04:10

Dirty bastards
Post all the shit through their door

Hassled Wed 01-Jul-15 19:06:28

No useful advice just shared pain - we're the first in a run of three, and used to get blocked constantly. Mad Old Witch next door used to blame DD flushing sanitary towels, except DD didn't flush sanitary towels (there was once this insane conversation between the two of them - stop flushing towels/I don't flush towels/well stop anyway/ how can I stop if I don't? etc etc). Anyway, Mad Old Witch went and died 2 years ago, and we haven't had a problem since. I have no idea what she used to put down the drains (talc?), but the bloody money we spent on it was immense. I never thought I'd see the day I'd be there rodding other people's shit, but it was a monthly pasttime. Any chance your neighbours will die soon?

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Wed 01-Jul-15 19:06:29

I take it you pay council tax and there fore you should ring the council... its why you pay tax. They send the council drain people round and the lower bill is shared amongsts those who share the drain. So 5 houses, 5 way split and they collect it. Easy.

maddening Wed 01-Jul-15 19:09:28

It is only the councils problem for blockades beyond your property as far as I am aware.

You could suggest you go halves on drain insurance.

Damnautocorrect Wed 01-Jul-15 19:11:29

We had this, first house run of four drains our garden flooded with everyone's shit.
One house helped the same offered, the others (top of the hill) 'not our problem'.
Legally there must be a way

Hassled Wed 01-Jul-15 19:12:59

polly - it's your problem if it's within your property's boundary.

Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 19:23:44

Thanks!

I spoke to Environmental Health but they've refused to get involved.

The blockage is actually on my property.

The whole drain runs along from my neighbour, under my front garden, our drain connects to it, then it runs off into the main drain.

We looked into the drain insurance but decided against it. Our house (and next door) is rented so most of the stuff it covers (boiler, plumber, etc) is already dealt with by the landlord and the level of cover that included drain unblocking was quite expensive and worked out about the same per year as the £60 call out. so it didn't seem worth it. I'll definitely look into it again as we've had to call them out twice in 6 months.

Next door won't contribute though, they won't even pay £30 for half of this bill

The landlord/letting agent don't pay for blocked drains, only damaged or collapsed drains - blockages with sanitary towels, etc, are entirely our responsibility and last time it happened we spoke to the letting agent and they wrote to the neighbour but nothing changed and I'm not sure there's anything else they can do

Fancyachangeinname Wed 01-Jul-15 19:24:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 19:36:39

Thanks!

Yes, our water company have said they will clear it for free if the blockage is on public land, not on private property.

It's just not bloody fair <stamps feet>. They just sit there watching us clear their shit out of our drains, never offer to help and refuse to contribute when we have to call someone out.

Our downstairs loo flooded last night as they were so backed up and next door just carry on merrily throwing stuff down the loo, knowing full well what happens

From that link it seems that all houses on a drain run should pay, but our EH refuses to get involved, so maybe we have to do a small claims court or something. There must be something we can do surely?

I'm proper fed up with it now. They make me really cross

TracyBarlow Wed 01-Jul-15 19:40:42

If the blockage is not on your property then it's not your responsibility. Link here

Deux Wed 01-Jul-15 19:44:18

Are you in England or Wales? If so the rules on who is responsible for shared drains on private property changed and these are now the responsibility of your water utility company.

See here if it helps. www.ccwater.org.uk/waterissues/currentkeywaterissues/privatesewersandlateraldrains/

We are on a shared drain with 2 neighbours and the last one before the drains meet the public sewer so we get blocked first.

Thames Water cleared ours foc even though it's a shared drain on private property.

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Wed 01-Jul-15 19:49:11

Drains were in rear garden. council do get involved but you pay. Only cheaper rate. and they ask neigbours to contribute. You need to ask.

Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 19:52:40

We're Southern Water.

I'll have to chase them again, I last spoke to them last year and they were adamant that it was a private drain. I didn't realise there had been changes.

Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 20:02:20

Ahh, OK, so DH has just explained why the water company and EH won't deal with it.

Apparently, we have a pumping station. Our houses are an add on to an existing housing estate. Our drains flow into a pumping station/sceptic tank, which, when the tank is full, pumps out into the main drains.

So there is one drain which runs along under our and next door's front garden that we both join to, which then connects to the sceptic tank. We have a manhole in our front garden, if you lift it you can see a T junction. The blockage is always at the top left bit of the T if that makes sense.

We've lived here years and I had no clue we had a sceptic tank blush

ShakesBootyFlabWobbles Wed 01-Jul-15 20:07:33

Shared drains that meet the mains sewer - even on private property - were adopted under the Government's sewer adoption legislation with effect from Oct 2011. The homeowner is responsible for unshared pipes on their own property.

Your water board's video is here:

www.southernwater.co.uk/sewer-ownership-changes

Thames Water has their video by type of property which may be easier as you choose which one is relevant to you (it is all the same national legislation so would be the same rule for all water companies]]:

customerhelp.thameswater.co.uk/app/answers/detail/a_id/398/session/L3RpbWUvMTM0MDg3NzA4Ny9zaWQvb0JTOEdOX2s=

Do note that the water companies use subcontractors and they are not always right telling you where the responsibility lies, so if you think the subcontractor is wrong you should call the water company while they are onsite for them to both discuss.

The estate where I live used to have unadopted drains that have since been adopted so I have been through this several times with subcontractors. Now that it has been a few years it seems to have settled down.

If you have a shared drain running down the side of the house, that would not be adopted until it either reached your boundary or the main shared sewer (i think)

ShakesBootyFlabWobbles Wed 01-Jul-15 20:07:57

Ah typed too slow, cross post!

Clutterbugsmum Wed 01-Jul-15 20:26:41

So who is responsible for making sure the septic tank is regularly emptied and maintained.

Songofsixpence Wed 01-Jul-15 20:32:35

It doesn't get emptied. Once it reaches a certain level it pumps out into the main drain

The tank is in my neighbour opposite's back garden, which explains why I've never noticed it blush

Our landlord is responsible for our share of the maintenance I guess (he owns our house and next door). There's nothing about it in our tenancy agreement.

Our bits of the drains are still our responsibility though

GloGirl Wed 01-Jul-15 20:40:55

I'd telephone Shelter and confirm your LL responsibilities, no way I'd keep paying my money if it wasn't my land!

bostonbaby Wed 01-Jul-15 21:05:24

I'd dump the lot on their front lawn

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