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Drains: Incorrect info given on property information form. WWYD?

(9 Posts)
essentialnest Fri 26-Jun-20 13:04:48

We moved into our semi-detached home nearly 2 years ago. The previous owner filled in the standard property information form. One of the questions asks whether the drains cross neighbouring properties, to which they answered "no" (rather than"yes" or "don't know" which would have triggered further queries). Since then we've found out our main foul waste pipe runs under our elderly neighbour's conservatory, after which is joins her sewer pipe and is then routed through her front garden to the public sewer.

It think this negatively affects both of our properties. Recently our pipe needed to be unblocked and maintained, and the work needed access via our neighbour's garden. This was fine as we have a good relationship, but a more difficult future neighbour could deny access. Also, if a future neighbour wanted to replace the ancient conservatory with a modern extension (highly likely) they couldn't do it without impacting our sewer pipe.

The property information form does say that sellers who provide false information may be liable for compensation. Should I go back to our conveyancing solicitor about it? And if so should I do this now, or wait until a problem arises?

It's perhaps worth adding that the previous owner lived here for over 20 years, so it's hard to understand how she couldn't have known which way the drains travelled.

OP’s posts: |
Ragtime69 Fri 26-Jun-20 13:09:34

I would go back to your solicitor now rather than wait.

EL8888 Fri 26-Jun-20 13:10:49

I also vote go to the solicitor now that you know this information

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 26-Jun-20 13:19:25

The moment the drain leaves your property it becomes the water companies responsibility as the diagram below shows.

MulberryPeony Fri 26-Jun-20 13:25:05

I don’t believe a neighbour can refuse access for maintenance.

aowjakdb Fri 26-Jun-20 13:27:07

I went back to our solicitor as false information was supplied on the form and they said realistically there was very little they could do.

Kittytheteapot Fri 26-Jun-20 13:31:19

I know for a fact that your neighbour could not refuse access. As previously noted, when a drain leaves your property it becomes the water boards responsibility to maintain and if it runs under someone else's property before it reaches the main, the water board have the right to access it in the best way they think fit.

It wasn't always so. We had a major dispute with our neighbours who would not allow their drive to be dug up when our drain was blocking repeatedly. The problem was resolved from an access point in our garden, but I take great pleasure now in knowing that the law has now changed and, if we have further problems, the neighbour's drive doesn't stand a chance.

As for your previous neighbour not knowing where the drains went, why should she? I have lived in multiple properties and never given the drains a thought. You only find out where they are when you have problems.

emmathedilemma Fri 26-Jun-20 13:31:46

@lonecatkitten is correct that it is not your responsibility beyond your boundary and the water company would have rights to access if required. The bigger issue is really for your neighbour who risks having her conservatory floor dug up if there's ever more serious repairs needed. It's likely that they've built over it without knowing.

PigletJohn Fri 26-Jun-20 13:47:07

...or without caring.

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