Who is Responsible for Unblocking an Outside Drain in Essex?


So, you have discovered you have a blocked drain. Maybe there is an unpleasant odour or the water is draining away slowly. You want to act quickly so that you can get the problem solved before it becomes worse. But there is one problem. You are not sure if the outside drain is your responsibility.

Often, people get confused when it comes to outside drains. It is not always obvious at first whom it belongs to. Here is a guide that can help you identify whether you need to take action or contact someone else.

Drains On Your Property

If you find a drain that is on your property, the chances are you are responsible for it. Namely, this is going to apply if you are the owner of the property. So if the drain is within the boundary of your property, you will be the person that has to get drain cleaning professional services to solve the problem. If you are not sure where your boundary is, it is important to look at your title deeds. These will allow you to see and work out whether they are the drains that are your responsibility.

It is possible that if you live in an apartment complex, you will share the responsibility of the drain with another property owner. It is best to discuss the matter with them so that you can both come to a conclusion on the best action to take. In this situation, you will share the cost.

Drains Near Your Property

That might be drains located near your property that you are not sure of. But, the general rule is that if the drains are on public land, this will not be your responsibility. If there is a problem, a water company must solve the issue. Again, checking your property boundary will be essential and can clear any misunderstandings.

It might be the case that the water company is not aware that the drain is blocked. In this case, if you can identify the company, you can always inform them so that the blockage does not cause you any grievances. 

Drains on Rented Property

Imagine that you rent an apartment or flat where several people are living in the same building complex. The drains outside become blocked. Who is going to be responsible for having them unblocked? Well, your best course of action is to contact your management company. Often, it is them that is responsible for the drains and maintenance of the property or they can inform someone that is. It is unlikely that a renter will have responsibility.

Note that you might be responsible for an inside drain that becomes blocked in your apartment or flat. This is particularly true if you have been reckless and put something down the drain you should not have. But, if you do not cause the problem, you can inform the landlord and they can take care of it.

Drains on Public Roads

Is there a drain overflowing or smelling bad and is it situated on a public road? While this can be inconvenient and unpleasant, this is not going to be your responsibility to do anything about it. The drain does not belong to you and therefore, it will not be you that has to arrange the unblocking services. Again, as long as it is not within your boundary, it is not going to be your problem.

It will often be the water company that is responsible for that drain. You might want to give them a heads-up that it seems blocked and this can help them to get it fixed quickly. After all, it affects you; whether you are walking past it every day or it is near your house, it can be unpleasant. Hopefully, they will respond to your email or phone call and this will resolve the problem.


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