Who has responsibility for which drains?

When you’re a property owner, issues around drains can be a real headache. This is particularly the case if you’ve inherited an old system which is no longer entirely fit for purpose and prone to blocking.When issues with drainage do occur, the first thing to ascertain is who has responsibility. The person or body with that responsibility will be obliged to fix it and will usually bear the cost of doing so. Therefore, it’s important to have this clarity before you move ahead with any work.

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Drains do fail after years of operation. So, if you find that a drain you’re responsible for is continuing to fail and block, it might be worth looking at drain lining Oldbury as a way of reinforcing your drain and making it fit for purpose for the longer term. Find out more here: www.wilkinson-env.co.uk/sewer-repairs-drain-lining-concrete-cutting/drain-repairs/drain-repairs-oldbury/.

Detached houses

If you live in a detached property without any shared drains, you’ll be responsible for the drain up to the property’s boundary. Beyond this boundary, blockages in lateral drains and the main sewer will be the responsibility of the local water authority.

If there’s any question about this, the government has a useful resource here:. This is because the law changed in 2011 to make water authorities, rather than private customers, responsible for public sewer repairs.

Semi-detached or terraced houses

If you share a drain with your neighbour, the shared drain and the lateral drains are both the responsibility of the water authority. Only unshared drains are the responsibility of the property owner.


If you live in a block of apartments or flats, the drainage responsibility up to the property boundary is held by the management company. Again, the water authority is responsible for the drains that go beyond this boundary.

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Do you have a shared drain?

The best way to find out is to contact the local water authority for your area and they will be able to provide advice. If there’s a blockage or issue on a drain that they are responsible for, they will also come and fix it.