14 October 2011 by Sonal Ghelani

Don’t pooh-pooh these changes

The Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private Sewers) Regulations 2011 (‘the Regulations’) came into effect from 1 October 2011.

Under these Regulations responsibility for any sewers and drains lying outside a property boundary which ultimately connect to the public sewer and which existed before 1 July 2011, transferred overnight to the relevant water and sewerage companies. (There will be a supplementary scheme to deal with sewers and lateral drains constructed on or after 1 July 2011).

Before the Regulations, home owners were responsible for repairing their blocked and damaged drains and sewers up to the point that they attached to the public sewer, even if this was outside the boundaries of their property. This often led to disputes with neighbours as to who should cover the costs of these repairs where the sewers and drains served more than one property.

The new Regulations mean that the water companies have taken over the repair and maintenance of drains and sewers from the property boundary to the public sewer. Water companies, therefore, automatically have a right of entry onto land in order to carry out such maintenance. Home owners will still be responsible for any length of pipe inside the boundary of their property that serves their home only, and will have a duty to keep their drain running freely.

Sewers that are connected to private pumping stations and treatment plants will transfer to the water companies in 5 years time, on 1 October 2016. This is to give water companies the opportunity to identify any remedial works before adoption.

Surface water sewers that drain direct to watercourses are not included. Private sewers and lateral drains under Crown or railway land are also not included nor are those connected to cesspits and septic tanks.

Existing Section 104 Agreements (agreements for the adoption of sewers by the relevant water company) will become redundant.

The practical effect on home owners is that water companies are likely to increase their charges to meet the cost incurred by taking over these sewers and drains. OFWAT (The Water Services Regulation Authority) has estimated an initial average increase of £5 per annum per home owner.

Please email or call Sonal Ghelani with any questions.

2 September 2011 by

Pensions can save your family +£100,000s

Inheritance Tax ('IHT') saving usually involves giving away your assets and, as such, is something that many put off until later in life, when they have paid off the mortgage and the kids are as self-sufficient as they are ever likely to be.

16 September 2011 by Yezdan Izzet

Legal Update: Section 20B of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (“the Act”) relating to service charge demands for residential properties

The recent High Court case of the London Borough of Brent v Shulem B Association Limited clarifies the degree of formality that is required when serving a demand. In this case, the landlord (being the London Borough of Brent) was the freehold owner of 5 blocks in which Shulem held 15 residential leases.

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.