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Neighbour Drainage and Guttering Issues

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 26 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Sewer Drain Guttering Blockage Repair

It’s nobody’s favourite scenario – there’s a blocked drain and you aren’t sure who’s responsible for it. There are three possible outcomes to this one, depending on whether the blockage is a drain, a private sewer or a blocked public sewer. There are actually strict definitions of all three, according to Public Health law, so hold your nose and try and establish which one is your issue.

What is a Drain?

A drain is simply a pipe that only takes drainage from a building or buildings within the same property boundary. It might be a drain for foul water like toilet waste or for surface water such as rainwater from the roof, but whichever it is, if it’s on your property, you are responsible for unblocking or repairing it until the point where it reaches someone else's property.

What is a Sewer?

A pipe becomes a sewer at the point where it takes drainage water from the private drains(and then lateral drains) groups of properties.

When it comes to any problems, the law generally requires owners or occupiers of the properties that use and connect to the sewer to repair any damage and remove any blockage that occur in drains within their own property boundary.

Your local Water Company is responsible for clearing blockages, maintaining and repairing public sewers. Before a 2011 law change, some groups of properties were connected to what were called private sewers - and the owners in that group of properties were responsible for the upkeep (including blockages) of those sewers. Since the law changed you are now only responsible for maintaining and clearing drains within your own property boundary.

How do I Know Who is Responsible?

Since the law changed, it has become clearer and generally works as follows:
  • Detached homes - Before 2011 you were responsible for maintaining drains up to the point where they met the main sewer pipe. This meant you may have been responsible for the drains under the pavement and possible part of the road outside your home. Since 2011, you are responsible for the drain only up to the point of your property boundary e.g end of your drive/front garden.
  • Semi-detached homes - Before the changes you and your attached neighbour were responsible for the drain up to the point where it met the main sewer (often under the road outside your properties). Since the 2011 changes, you are responsible only for the part up to your boundary with the adjoining house. If the drain runs across your property from your neighbour's before continuing towards the sewer then your responsibility ends at their boundary (the water company is responsible for the remaining part across your property) - so even though that part of the drain is within your property boundaries you are not responsible for it.
  • Terraced houses - Before the changes in 2011, each home was responsible for any part of the drain that crossed their property boundary before it reached the sewer. Since the change, you are only responsible for the part immediately before it connects to the drains of the other terraces in the row. So if the drain runs from one end of a row of terraces to the other you only need be responsible for the part of your drain before it connects to it (the water company is responsible for the rest of the drain).

Other Privately Owned Sewers

Some properties, particularly those in rural areas do not connect directly to a public sewer - those with a cesspit, septic tank or treatment plant have not been affected by the law changes and will normally have their own arrangements for blocked drains and maintenance.

Private Pumping Stations?

Some small groups of properties are not connected directly to a main sewer but via a private pumping station. Previously the owners were responsible for the pumping station, the pipes and the connection to the main sewer. This is going through a phased change and by 2016 the water companies will (in general) be responsible for maintaining the pumping station and the pipe work.

Blocked Sewer or Drain?

If you think there is a problem with a blocked sewer, contact your local water company. If they discover the blockage is actually within your drain (the part for which you are responsible), then you will have to take steps to clear the blockage yourself.

If Neighbours are Uncooperative over a Blocked Drain

Most drain un-blocking companies will invoice the person who called them out, no matter who is actually responsible in law for covering the costs. If you live in a terrace or semi detached home for example and discover the blockage is due to a neighbouring drain then you will have to approach them for payment. Your local council has powers to serve legal notices on anyone who fail clear a blockage under various Public Health acts.

What About Guttering?

Shared land also means shared responsibility for repair, and so if there are damaged gutters, it’s reasonable to share the costs of repairing them. If guttering and water egress drainage is shared between two properties (look at your deeds and it should say whether this is the case) there is normally a joint responsibility (and liability) for maintenance and repair.

Talk to your neighbour before you organise anything, once you’ve checked the deeds to make sure you’re in the right. Most neighbours will be reasonable, especially if you have the deeds to back you up, and a polite request should be all you need. If they refuse, you have no choice but to get the work done and then request reimbursement of their share in writing. If they still won’t play ball, you’ll have to get down to the county court – but the law is certainly on your side…

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My property is on a hilly corner plot. On the boundary is an open gully which allows water to run down the road (about. 150 metre run) into a small drain. This gully carries leaves and road grit which subsequently blocks the drain causes the water to funnel off onto the pavement or into my garden where the boundary was eroded. As my garden is quite hilly this caused the earth to erode and the muddy water ran into my drive, blockingthe rainwater soak away . I have tried rodding the drain but the blockage continues causing deep water on my drive running towards my front door. Who do I contact or consult on this matter as I feel this is not my responsibility to ensure the road drainage functions properly.
Rosie - 26-Nov-19 @ 4:43 PM
Hello I live in a semi detached house and on the detached side my neighbors rain water is running into my property because they don't have a soakway.i have a soakway and I asked them if they could get a soakway or do something to stop there rain water coming into my property.but they refuse to do anything about it what should I do ??
Jay - 8-Nov-19 @ 11:52 PM
My terraced neighbour recently had work done without consulting me on his front gutter. The builders took out and replaced part of the guttering above my front door without my permission. The work is poor and has been completed with mid-sized guttering and now there is water pouring off my roof down in front of my front door. The builders are refusing to come back to correct their work. Where do I stand? Who is liable to pay to get this put right?
Seadog - 5-Nov-19 @ 4:33 PM
I live in a semi detached home, my neighbours ( not attached side) built a kitchen extension and have joined their flashing to the guttering on my garage wall, without permission. The guttering is now blocked and the water having no where to flow away has settled on my garage roof and rotted the wood causing leaks / holes in my roof. Am I within my rights to ask the neighbour to remove the guttering and provide their own drainage system ?
Coxy1 - 3-Nov-19 @ 7:12 AM
Hi I’m not as young now I’m finding it too hard to keep draines unblocked from plnes cars in my drive windows don’t open for them they come in door windows I’m so fed up I don’t talk to neighbour as she is trouble the tree is in her garden what can I do please thanks wendy
Wendy - 27-Oct-19 @ 1:57 AM
Hi We live in semi detached house and attached garagewith neighbour with shared rain water drainage.now she is blaming on us that due to this rain water your water come to my side whichdamage her garage.
Darsh - 26-Oct-19 @ 7:47 AM
We have a link detached house.On our side we have a garage with a shared wall at the boundary with the neighbour.On the neighbour's side, there is a covered alleyway around 1m wide.This has a sloping roof cover, which drains directly onto our flat roof garage, from where water drains into a downpipe within our garageWe've had a few problems with them recently and now they are suggesting that we are obliged to accept water from their lean to roof because we have a shared garage wall.Is this true? Also, they suggest we have to keep the down pipe cleared at our cost.If they have a right to use our drainage system, are we entitled to ask them to share the cost of any clearing work. Thanks for any advice
Matt - 2-Oct-19 @ 12:57 PM
I'm in need of some advice please :'-( My neighbour has been harassing me to have a drainage system fitted to my side of the shared driveway. He claims that rainwater from my side flows to his side and is damaging his house. I've checked my solicitors/surveyors documents from when i bought the property and there's NOTHING that states that there's ever been a problem with drainage or flooding on my side or surrounding areas. All the drains around my house are unblocked and are in working order. He claims that when the shared driveway was laid 18 years ago, whoever put it down covered the only drain on my side and that's when the problem started. (Bearing in mind he has only been living in his house for 12 years, so how would he know that?) There is no proof anywhere that suggests there was ever a drain which was covered by the shared cemented driveway anyway(?!?!) I can't say I've EVER seen flooding, pooling of rainwater or anything like that in the 2 years I've lived here, around my house or his.I asked him why this has just become a problem after all these years...to which he answered, 'I've only just found out i can take action against you to sort this out. When you bought the property, you bought the problem!'. Trouble is, he's now threatening me with either me forking out thousands of pounds worth of building work to have a drainage system fitted to my side, or he's going to get his solicitor involved :( I'm so worried! I can't afford to do anything!! I have already emailed my solicitor regarding this issue. PLEASE HELP :( :( :( :(
NurseHague - 22-Sep-19 @ 1:14 PM
I'm in need of some advice please :'-( My neighbour has been harassing me to have a drainage system fitted to my side of the shared driveway. He claims that rainwater from my side flows to his side and is damaging his house. I've checked my solicitors/surveyors documents from when i bought the property and there's NOTHING that states that there's ever been a problem with drainage or flooding on my side or surrounding areas. All the drains around my house are unblocked and are in working order. He claims that when the shared driveway was laid 18 years ago, whoever put it down covered the only drain on my side and that's when the problem started. (Bearing in mind he has only been living in his house for 12 years, so how would he know that?) There is no proof anywhere that suggests there was ever a drain which was covered by the shared cemented driveway anyway(?!?!) I can't say I've EVER seen flooding, pooling of rainwater or anything like that in the 2 years I've lived here, around my house or his.I asked him why this has just become a problem after all these years...to which he answered, 'I've only just found out i can take action against you to sort this out. When you bought the property, you bought the problem!'. Trouble is, he's now threatening me with either me forking out thousands of pounds worth of building work to have a drainage system fitted to my side, or he's going to get his solicitor involved :( I'm so worried! I can't afford to do anything!! I have already emailed my solicitor regarding this issue. PLEASE HELP :( :( :( :(
NurseHague - 22-Sep-19 @ 11:47 AM
We live in a Victorian mid terrace house and we are hoping to have a system put in to empty our cellar from water, when there is heavy rain. The problem is where to dump the water, when it's pumped out. There is an old drain pipe at ground level at the front, between me and my neighbour which looks as if it once was connected to the roof gutter. Could this go out under the pavement to the main sewer in the road?
ianb - 18-Sep-19 @ 5:59 PM
Hi, I am a tenant in a mid terrace property. All the houses have kitchen extensions with the typical slanted roofs (like an upside down V) The rainwater from both sides of my kitchen runs into drain pipes in my yard. However, my neighbour on the other side has the rain water from his kitchen roof on my side running into my yard where there is no drain. My question is this...Is my neighbour responsible for the rain water that comes off his roof, and should the drainpipe be on his side of the wall? In other words, Is it my neighbours responsibility?
Betsy - 8-Aug-19 @ 2:55 PM
I live in the middle of three terraced , left hand side built a extention the full height of my house, which blocks all light out . On the wall outside all the pipe work and sewage pipes are in my backyard which constanly leak making the walland ground greenwhich have constanly been dripping , thats what I see when looking out my dining room window. I rang the council and no planning application was ever put in placebut because this situation as been for a lot of years they have got away with it, where do I stand on this hoping to sell property soon i know this will devalue my home . Any advice will be appreciated .
ange - 30-Jul-19 @ 5:04 PM
I live in a terraced property with a kitchen below a bathroom out the back like an extension but original to the property. Half of the roof of the bathroom drains to a gutter above next doors one storey kitchen. Am I responsible for this gutter or is it my neighbour as it is above their property? There is no gap between properties we share a wall.
Jocky72 - 2-Jul-19 @ 9:14 PM
I am in a semi bungalow with the neighbour from hell! I can only paint the fence on my side the colour she chooses as they put in the fence, for example. At thefront of the house is a single downs pout and drain, they put in a small wall yrs ago and I'm not allowed to put anything in front to stop ppl walking past, how do I know where the boundary line is as I want to put up a small fence and right them off as bad neighbours? Thanks
The Mac - 26-Jun-19 @ 11:15 AM
We have an internal drain in our conservatory (previous owners built the conservatory but left drain in same place). We are at the end of the row which means our water waste (only serves for sink/washing machine waste - not sewage) has to pass through 2 neighbors before entering the main drain. This has now become blocked and after numerous efforts to unblock has remain blocked. Please could someone advise that as this is over more than one property we can have someone out to unblock without charge, as I believe a new law is in place which covers such situations?
Dean - 27-May-19 @ 9:17 AM
Hi. We live in a semi detached and noticed recently that some birds have been trying to get into our roof. We've had a roofer out and on one of the photos taken it looks like from next doors new roof they had done last year, the bit that diverts rain water into the shared gutter is under our tiles and its going behind the facia into our roof. The felt under our tiles is rotten so is it our neighbours fault with their roofer who fitted their roof that's causing our problem? We don't really get on with our neighbours so how do we approach it? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
Lancsass - 9-May-19 @ 9:32 PM
We've just noticed birds trying to get into our roof so we've had a roofer out to look at the hole in the facia. On one of the photos taken the bit that diverts rain water into the gutter from next doors new roof they had done last year is under our tiles and behind our facia and the felt is rotten under the tile the roofer removed. If it's what's causing our problem what do we do? Don't really get on with our neighbours so how do we approach it? All help welcome. Thanks.
Lancsass - 9-May-19 @ 9:25 PM
We moved into our home in May 18. Everyimte it rains, rain pours over the front gutter and down into our front garden which has subsiquently caused damp in our front room.The problem is cause by a join from our neighbours cast iron guttering joined to our plastic one, the join is on our side of a semi-detatched property. We had tradesmen come to look in the summer who advised a sealant might be of some use (could be useless given the problem is her guttering is much wider than ours so water is spilling over the top) & it was suggested her guttering would need replacing to resolve the issue. She's since advised she wont do this, as she believes this would de-value her house without it, as an original feature. She doesnt seem to care that the damp is de-valuing and damaging our home. Where do I stand on this? Can I simply extend our guttering so it pushes the (her) problem onto her side?
Esknce87 - 13-Mar-19 @ 6:23 PM
Hi I live in a mid terrace townhouse which consists of a flat roof. The material used for the roof is torch on felt. The building has 6 houses which is served by a single gully at the rear of the properties. Every other house has a internal down pipe for the rain water, so in total there are only 3 including mine. I had my roof re-felted 5 years ago and recently had another leak. It appears I'm taking water from both My immediate neighbours (left/right) including mine. I have checked the deeds and it clearly states its a shared responsibility in terms of the gully/downpipe. However my neighbours are ignoring the problem andthe fact that I am taking all their rain water. On the other hand They have suggested that the roof should be cleaned once a year and they are happy to contribute. My concern is, since gully/downpipe is shared responsibility can I legally serve them notice and proceed with the works and the reclaim the cost? Or can I block the gully to my boundary wall, prahaps raise my roof? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated Thanks in advance
Dobbs - 6-Jan-19 @ 4:57 PM
Hi, Who’s responsible for rain water which comes of a neighbors roof? Could anyone advise me on who has responsibility over a down pipe which is erected on my neighbours property, it’s clearing water from there extension. The pipe and water then comes into my garden, over the boundary. Should the pipe be erected in there garden or mine? Thanks in advance!
Jumbo shrimp - 6-Dec-18 @ 7:28 PM
I live in a semi detached property my neighbours had a porch built a few years ago and we believe that they removed their own guttering down pipe and joined their gutting to our downpipe and now the down pipe on our side is constantly getting blocked with leaves and water builds up and flows down both our walls causing damage to the internal walls they have said to us to clean the down pipe but I believe that originally our houses had a downpipe each before they did a porch extension , I have had a look at our deeds but couldn't seem to find anything about guttering if it's shared or not, could anyone help me out on this matter.Thank you
Haych - 2-Dec-18 @ 8:09 PM
Im having my drive refurbished and after taking up the exsiting block paving and a little flower bed area on my drive, the driveway company found a lot of water flowing under a wall that divides my drive from my neighbours. The water is coming through under the concrete footings for the wall and is where my flower bed was. They also have a flower bed on their side of the drive. The company then found a drain on my neighbours drive which is positioned right by the wall close to their house which is taking the surface water off the drive and away from the house towards the flower beds. They say this is what is causing the water to come into my property as there should be a soakerway under my neighbours drive to stop this happening but is failing. After to speaking to my neighbour they are telling me that this water is coming from the top of my road, which is on a slope, all the way down through to my property which i found a little far fetched. The water would need to travel through 10 other houses drives to reach mine. Any help would be appreciated.
Barry - 2-Dec-18 @ 11:00 AM
Im having my drive refurbished and after taking up the exsiting block paving and a little flower bed area on my drive, the driveway company found a lot of water flowing under a wall that divides my drive from my neighbours. The water is coming through under the concrete footings for the wall and is where my flower bed was. They also have a flower bed on their side of the drive. The company then found a drain on my neighbours drive which is positioned right by the wall close to their house which is taking the surface water off the drive and away from the house towards the flower beds. They say this is what is causing the water to come into my property as there should be a soakerway under my neighbours drive to stop this happening but is failing. After to speaking to my neighbour they are telling me that this water is coming from the top of my road, which is on a slope, all the way down through to my property which i found a little far fetched. The water would need to travel through 10 other houses drives to reach mine. Any help would be appreciated.
Barry - 1-Dec-18 @ 10:15 PM
I have a drain on my driveway which has no connection or services from my property it's only use is for the discharge of foul/sewer waste from the next door neighbors upstairs bathroom. After traveling via this drain it then continues back under their drive towards the main sewer pipe in the road. Prior to the existing encumbants and not knowing the above information I paid to have it unblocked as raw sewage was spilling onto my drive. The Dyrorod people then advised that the drain was not mine. Since the current neighbors have been in residence it has been necessary to replace the cover for fear of the rusted out one collapsing no reimbursement was received. When I had my drive retarnaced it was necessary to pay to have the drain raised three inches again no contribution was forthcoming . At this time I am having my drive once again refurbished and similar costs will occurs. Do I have a right to request that they relocate this drain which is located at the edge of my driveway along the edge of theirs.
Smudge - 5-Nov-18 @ 3:33 PM
Hi I hope someone can give me a some advice on our matter. We are planning to build an extension with the planning permission. This will create a deadend for the rainwater of our neighbors. Instead of flooding our drive and using our soakaway, their garage will get flooded with their rainwater. Our houses are build on the slope and the water flows into our property naturally but not after we extended. So we are the opinion our neighbors should be responsible for their own rain water disposal and perhaps instal their own soakaway. We even suggested to pay for material but their seems to think, we have to house the soakaway in our garden and pay for it.... what’s your opinion? And how do I go about it without falling out? Is there an authority or company, that can give me advice? Tia
Nusch - 12-Oct-18 @ 9:05 PM
Hi I live in a ground floor (Tyneside) flat with one flat above me, my upstairs neighbour's down pipe is in my back yard and it is damaged resulting in some of his toilet waste running down the outside of the pipe. As you can imagine the smell is awful and I don't use the yard. I have spoken to my neighbour on a number of occasions, he has told me he will sought it out but has done nothing and more than 2 months have passed. I also have damp in my spare room as a result of a leek in my neighbours bathroom, again nothing has been done to solve the problem. Do I have any options to force my neighbour to resolve these problems he is causing detriment to my property and I'm unable to use my backyard? Thanks Andrew
Andrew - 11-Sep-18 @ 5:43 PM
Our neighbour has built a substantial extension which has no guttering. The water runs off the extension on to his 'car port ' roof. The carport / garage is built on the boundary of the two properties and also has no gutter. As a result, all of his rainwater comes into our drive which is within a few meters of our house. The neighbour has said he'll put a gutter up but hasn't. The council say this is a civil matter and they don't get involved in matters like this. So basically, we will have to pay to take him to court - this seems very unfair to me!
EvenSteven - 5-Sep-18 @ 7:45 AM
Taibur1972 - Your Question:
I live in a semi-detached house & the down pipe from the guttering lies on my neighbours side (the rainwater drainage system). Today my neighbour came and told our builders to seperate the rainwater guttering for our extension from the existing, as our builders were working on the new extention guttering connecting to the existing. Is this allowed and what can I do?

Our Response:
You need to discuss this with your neighbour, possibly the water company and maybe an expert (surveyor etc). If there is no issue with additional water inflow from the extension, your neighbours should allow the connection. If the exisiting guttering/downpipe drain will not cope, you may need to make alternative arrangements. Seek professional legal advice if you cannot progress this between you.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Aug-18 @ 9:52 AM
I live in a semi-detached house & the down pipe from the guttering lies on my neighbours side (the rainwater drainage system). Today my neighbour came and told our builders to seperate the rainwater guttering for our extension from the existing, as our builders were working on the new extention guttering connecting to the existing. Is this allowed and what can I do?
Taibur1972 - 26-Aug-18 @ 6:27 AM
Oggy - Your Question:
I live in a basement Flat new neighbour above keeps watering plants etc on fire escape making water run down my walls doors and windows. Have tried blocking everywhere I can but she is now hosing down the walkway. I can't go into my yard every evening as water continually dripping on me for at least one hour. What do I do?

Our Response:
Have you talked to the neighbour about this?
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Aug-18 @ 11:08 AM
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