Blocked Drains Exeter: What Are Your Rights and Responsibilities?

Blocked drains can become a major problem, leading to unpleasant odours, overflowing waste, and potential consequential damage to your property. But who is actually responsible for fixing these issues and what are your rights as a tenant or a homeowner in Exeter?

When it comes to blocked drains within your premises in Exeter, it’s crucial to understand your responsibilities and rights. Whether you are the property owner or tenant, regulations and expectations often vary depending on various factors. Here’s your comprehensive guide to the rights and responsibilities around blocked drains in Exeter.


In a general summary, the property owner or resident is regularly responsible for the drains within the boundaries of their property. This includes any pipe that carries water or sewage from a single building. If you’re a homeowner, this means that you are accountable for maintaining and repairing these drains.

On the other hand, tenants are required to report problems to their landlords as soon as possible. Depending on the tenancy agreement, basic maintenance like ensuring the drains are not blocked by waste could fall under the tenant’s responsibility.

If a pipe serves more than one property, it may be classified as a sewer. Even if it’s within your property boundaries, maintenance for this section might be the responsibility of your local water and sewage company, like South West Water in Exeter.


As a homeowner, you hold the right to carry out repairs and maintenance on your drains, provided it doesn’t interfere with public sewers. However, if any blockage or fault develops in a public sewer that crosses your land, your local water and sewage company should rectify it, as it falls within their jurisdiction.
blocked drains exeter
As a tenant, if your landlord fails to act on a drain issue you’ve reported, you may be able to make a claim for any resulting damage or inconvenience. Your local council can also be contacted if your landlord fails to resolve the problem.

What about Shared Drains?

Shared drains can present a unique challenge. In cases where you share a drain with your neighbour, both parties share the responsibility for maintaining and fixing any issues, unless otherwise stated in your property deeds or tenancy agreement.

In Exeter and across England, water companies took over the ownership of private sewers in 2011. This means that if a shared sewer or lateral drain (a drain located outside the property boundary) becomes blocked, then the local water company should be responsible for fixing the issue.

When it Comes to Cost

Whether you’ve experienced a blocked drain as a homeowner or tenant, it’s likely the cost of repair isn’t the first thing on your mind. However, it is important. If the blockage is within your property boundaries and in a drain unique to your property, you or your landlord are usually liable for the cost.

Should the blockage be found in a public sewer or in an area of shared responsibility, your water company should bear the cost.

In conclusion, knowing your rights and responsibilities when it comes to blocked drains in Exeter is crucial to ensuring issues are dealt with efficiently and effectively. Whether you’re a tenant, homeowner or landlord, understanding these guidelines can save time, money, and stress when it comes to dealing with that dreaded blocked drain.