Drains and sewers - responsibilities and maintenance

The pipe that exits your property is called a drain. When your drain joins one from another property it becomes known as a sewer from that point onwards.

On private property the owner is responsible for drains up to their connection with drainage from another property even if that connection is under a road or neighbouring property.

Landlords have responsibility for keeping drains clear in rented properties, but tenants should carry out simple tasks like keeping gulley gratings free from leaves and not letting food waste, fat or oil get into the drain.

Owners of former council houses are usually responsible for looking after drains up to where they connect with drainage from other properties. From that point on it can be the responsibility of the owners, Thames Water or Ealing Council, depending on the location of the sewer and layout of the estate.

Sewer maintenance

Thames Water are generally responsible for maintaining all sewers. For properties built before 1 October 1937 the sewer is usually public. Sewers built after that date are usually private. Historically, Thames Water maintained just public sewers, but in October 2011 they adopted private sewers and have since been responsible for their maintenance as well as public sewers. For advice contact Thames Water on 0800 316 9800.

Council advice on drainage works

Repairs and new drainage works must comply with the building regulations. Contact building control services on 020 8825 8230 or email bcontrol@ealing.gov.uk for advice or to arrange an inspection.

The council has statutory powers to ensure that privately owned drains are kept clear and in good working order. To report problems with drainage contact regulatory services on 020 8825 6622 or email propertyregulation@ealing.gov.uk.