Sewers & Drains: Changes in ownership

At present the sewers and drains serving your house or commercial unit are either owned by the water and sewage companies (in Shropshire’s case, Severn Trent) or alternatively by the owners of the property which they serve.

However, from 1st October 2011 this is set to change with all private sewers and drains being automatically transferred into the ownership of the water and sewage companies. The logic behind such a move is to reduce the problems that so commonly arise relating to unclear rights of ownership, use and maintenance of private drains and sewers.

In most cases this proposal will be met with a positive response with the sewage and drainage companies becoming responsible for maintenance and upkeep, however in some instance this may not be the case. For example on multi-let sites or developments landowners may have already put in place complex provisions relating to sewage and drainage, the effect of which would be superseded by this statutory regime. 
If you think this affects you, you must act quickly to lodge an appeal against the automatic transfer and as the 1st October fast approaches you should think urgently about whether you need to contact us to investigate your position further.

It is worth noting that notices of transfers will not be sent to individuals but instead will be advertised locally. An objection to any transfer can only be made on the basis that it would be seriously detrimental to the person affected and each appeal will be considered on its own merits.

Even if you do not feel it would adversely impact on you it is worth noting that there will be an inevitable increase in water and drainage bills which will affect everybody.

If you would like further information or advice on this subject or any element of residential or commercial Property Law, please contact Sarah Awty, a Solicitor, on 01743 285888

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