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Shared drains

(14 Posts)
didireallysaythat Tue 10-Nov-15 07:56:38

Our drains leave our plot, join our neighbour's drains on their plot and then join the main sewer under the road in front. They recently blocked (it has happened before with the previous owners) and the neighbour (a plumber) cleared them out. Apparently roots from trees and the hedge between our properties have damaged the pipe so that it now runs uphill slightly which doesn't help. The neighbour suggested removing or reducing the hedge to help (although the damage is already done) but I'm not keen.

As I understand, because this drain is shared responsibility lies with Anglian Water (the neighbour I think was nervous about it being his responsibility). The drain pipe is apparently narrower than would be installed nowadays.

Can we ask Anglian Water to replace the drain at their cost (assuming the neighbour wants this too) ? Or do we need to wait until it blocks again and call them out then ?

Added complication is that services to both properties lie along the boundary as well, including TV/telephone cable which lies above ground. So excavations will need to keep this in mind.

Any one with experience with water companies and repairs ?

ShatnersBassoon Tue 10-Nov-15 08:05:09

As long as the blockage is occurring at a point where the drains are shared ie on or beyond the boundary with your neighbour and not before, then yes, you should call the water company for advice.

There's no benefit in waiting for another blockage as there's obviously a fault that will be easier to spot and solve without the added complication of standing sewage.

cherrrycola Tue 10-Nov-15 08:06:30

We're in a similar position with shared drains but no problems yet! I was under the understanding that the shared part of the drain was the responsibility of both houses not anglianwater. I seem to remember when I mentioned it to anglianwater when they visited they said if any issues ring your house insurer! Our neighbours are lovely but not sure how it would work in practice sharing costs if they weren't.

cherrrycola Tue 10-Nov-15 08:07:40

There is something on the anglianwater website I think about shared drains and responsibility.

didireallysaythat Tue 10-Nov-15 08:13:13

Thanks !

From the Anglian Water website I got the impression if its a shared drain its their problem. Our neighbour suggested it would cost £1000s to fix (I suspect he was nervous we would not offer to split the costs). Given he's a plumber I also suspect he doesn't trust Anglian to do a proper job...

I think I'll contact Anglian, get something in writing and then approach the neighbour and see if he wants to get it sorted.

With regards roots, I'm happy to keep the hedge height down if that will help with reducing roots but if the roots are already there I don't think it will make much difference. Someone digging up the pipe will probably impact the roots !

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 10-Nov-15 08:17:55

If you contact the council they send a standard letter out and mediate between neighbours. It may be shared by more than two of you. You do not need to be a council tenant. This is what you pay council tax for.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 10-Nov-15 09:53:41

Your neighbour may not know that the rules changed in about 2011, so shared drains are no longer his responsibility. The thought of paying thousands to replace a damaged drain is making him fear an official inspection, I imagine.

My old neighbour was also a plumber and was convinced he would have to pay for repairs to the shared drain along our row. He almost kissed me when the water man came out and told him thst what I'd been telling him was correct!

didireallysaythat Tue 10-Nov-15 14:32:33

Shatners I'd like to avoid being kissed by my neighbour if possible....

smile

SouthYarraYobbo Tue 10-Nov-15 14:37:06

We had a blockage recently. I was going to call a specialist but dh called Thames Water and they came out. We are in London and it seems the drain runs through about 10 houses finishing with our neighbours but it was Thames water's responsibility.

Icouldbeknitting Wed 11-Nov-15 09:20:23

As someone up thread said, it's a fairly recent rule change and you are responsible for the drainage up until it hits a shared drain after which it is your water company's problem. It's funny how all those companies that want to sell you drains insurance don't mention that. Every time it blocks get Anglian Water out to sort it because they see the history of blockages, if your neighbour continues to clear it they won't know that there is a problem.

You might need to print off the graphic that illustrates homeowner/water company responsibility and give it to your neighbour, my neighbours refused to believe that the whole van/camera/jet hose street performance was not costing me a penny.

jevoudrais Wed 11-Nov-15 21:49:06

Buy Home Serve insurance, and do it now.

Anglian Water wont install a new drain unless there are major issues, they will, however, come out an unblock it.

Our drain was 2/3 full of standing water/sewerage. We rang home serve at 5pm on a Sat afternoon and they were all set to come out then but we said Sunday morning was fine. Paid our £50 excess which was swiftly reimbursed because 1) the man just stuck a rod down and all was well and 2) it was a shared drain.

We have 4 or 5 man hole covers in total but they're all Anglian Water's responsibility because it turns out they are all shared. We made a point of getting the Home Serve insurance though and will probably have that forever just in case the issue is in our pipes and it covers other things too, its about £9 a month. I just check the drains I can access easily once a week and if there is an issue we will ring them, but so far so good touch wood.

jevoudrais Wed 11-Nov-15 21:51:41

Just in case some of the drains/pipes are your responsibility I would get the insurance and wait the 14 days before getting anyone out, then if there is an issue that is your responsibility, you're covered. If its their responsibility and none of it is yours, then cancel it. But I would definitely consider getting it ASAP.

didireallysaythat Thu 12-Nov-15 18:47:37

jevoudrais would the insurance cover unblocking a blockage on our neighbour's property ? That's where the issue it....

suffolkpunch85 Thu 12-Nov-15 20:11:45

Agree with jevoudrais, a water company won't change a pipe because it has blocked twice in the last X years- they have thousands of assets and have to prioritise their expenditure on them.

I would also advise that it would be pointless getting them out if its not blocked now- just call them (if) when it happens again

Is your neighbour putting fats/unflushables down the sewer as well- that won't help, especially if it is a small pipe

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