Monthly Archives: August 2011

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By Terry Rogers

Public and private sewers

Yorkshire Water sewerYou may not know that there are two types of sewer – private and public.  Responsibility for them is different and it’s expected to alter from October 2011.  We’ve created this page to explain the changes and what it means for you.

Subject to government approval, from October 2011 we’ll take responsibility for 22,000 kilometres of private sewer pipes, on top of the 33,000 kilometres of public sewers we already look after.  This is fantastic news as it provides greater clarity and takes the cost of maintenance and costly repairs away from the homeowner. 

Which pipes are the private sewer pipes?

The difference between a public sewer and a private sewer is a legal difference rather than a practical difference, but there are some general rules that usually apply.

  • The pipe that only serves your property is known as a drain, and is private.
  • Unless your house was built before 1 October 1937, the pipes taking surface water and waste water away from your property and neighbouring properties will be private.  See diagrams below.   
  • The sewers in the roads will generally be public sewers, which typically we’re responsible for.

Who’s responsible for the sewers?

A private sewer is currently the joint responsibility of the owners/occupiers of the properties that drain into it. This responsibility continues up to the point where the private sewer (including the connection) joins a public sewer, where we become responsible for maintenance and repairs. This means that customers can sometimes be responsible for repairs outside their property boundary.

Whether your property was built before 1 October 1937 or after has a bearing on who’s responsible for maintaining the pipework.  As you’ll see on the diagrams below, if your house was built after this point you’re responsible for all drains and sewers up to the main sewer in the road. If you live in a property built before 1 October 1937, responsibilities are shared and can depend on the type of property you live in.

This is all due to change in 2011 – read on for more information.

If your house was built after 1937


drain and sewer responsibilities post 1937

If your house was built before 1st 1937 Sewer and drain responsibilities pre 1937

We’d like to understand what you know about sewer responsibilities and see what you think about the plans for 2011.

Take part in our polls

How will responsibility change?

We’ll be taking over the responsibility for privately-owned sewers and lateral drains (the bit of your pipe that’s outside your boundary).  This is great news for us and you as it brings clarity to a confusing issue and passes the cost of repairs from homeowners to us.  There are currently disputes with us or neighbouring properties when things go wrong as ownership is often not clearly defined.  The change is expected to happen in 2011.

Drain and sewer responsibilities post 2011

Will all private sewers transfer straight away?

No, sewers that are connected to private pumping stations and treatment plants will not transfer automatically.  The government is still working to understand how this can be achieved.
Sewers that only carry surface water straight to a watercourse may also transfer at a later date.

By Terry Rogers

It is time once again to stress the importance of Landlords Insurance in the rental market, as we approach another year of difficulties in the workplace. This at a time when record numbers of properties are coming to our market sector and in many cases the demand for rental property is outstripping the supply, the risks MUST be understood by Landlords and the added security of such Insurance Policies as far as I am concerned are the minimum requirement for Landlords, especially those who are renting property for the first time.

Nobody can be secure.

I am not alone in promoting the values of such Insurance and the common sense reasoning is there for all to see. With a policy that protects both the rent and covers the costs of evicting a Tenant, at a time when redundancies are growing (This BBC News link will confirm) Letting Agents should be suggesting that all Landlords take such a policy as a matter of course as no Letting Agent can confirm that the Tenant that they source for the property will not be one of those who may suffer this fate themselves.

Solutions do exist. 

Of course, any professional Agency will have their tried and tested systems to show how arrears are dealt with and dependent upon the situation surrounding the Tenant (who will always be professionally referenced) could negotiate the surrender of the property on the Landlords behalf and of course with the Landlords approval. But with the best will in the world, and with the best of intentions, no Agent can either stop problems occurring or be able to foresee the manner in which Tenants may react to bad news.


Cost is not prohibitive. 

With six month’s rent and legal expenses covered for as little as £100.00 in some cases, and as a Landlord myself, I can see no reason why this peace of mind policy should not be taken, but it is not just new Landlords that should take advantage of the policy, I believe all Landlords should consider doing so no matter how long they have rented their property. This cost when considered against the risk, whilst proving that the risk being covered is not a common problem (No insurance that covers a cost risk of several thousand pounds if claimed upon on a regular basis could still be available at such a low premium) is at such a low cost that it really should be taken against every property let, because when a Tenant neither pays or moves on it is not only the fact that it is such a costly process to the individual Landlord against the property concerned, I have also witnessed just how upsetting and time consuming it can be to the owner.   

Peace of mind. 

It is the comfort factor alone, that income and legal expenses are covered that gives Landlords this feeling that at least they do not need to worry as professionals deal with the situation on their behalf. Instead of having to find a solicitor who not only understands property law (Not as common as you would think in the High Street) but have to be involved at every stage of the process themselves in the decision making, the policy ensures that professionals take all of these decisions on your behalf, as they ensure the matter is dealt with as swiftly as possible, simply because they are the ones paying if the matter is not dealt with in this manner, so yes I advice taking out this peace of mind insurance, perhaps the question should not be why, but rather why not?