How do I know if there’s a sewage pipe under the house I want to buy?

Q: My current home has a leaky pipe which has occasionally caused a disgusting mess and major headaches, and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again.


A Water and Drainage search will provide you with the information needed to confirm all the water and sewerage arrangements.

The search will clearly detail whether there are any sewers within the boundary of the property and a plan will also be attached clearly showing the location of the sewers. Your conveyancer would automatically draw your attention to this issue, if such an entry was revealed in the Water and Drainage search.

Sewers within property boundaries are quite common and generally do not pose too much of an issue. When a sewer is located within the boundary to a property, the main cause for concern is obviously the responsibility of maintenance. Generally, if the sewer serves just one property it is classed as a private sewer and will be the responsibility of the property owner.

However, there are circumstances where numerous properties benefit from one sewer and if it is not under the jurisdiction of the relevant water authority, remedial works can prove not only costly but also extremely difficult to organise. There are also restrictions imposed on building over any sewers and special ‘build over’ agreements may be needed.

Your conveyancer will advise you of what searches should be suitable for your purchase. However, we would always recommend a Local Authority Search, Water and Drainage Search and an Environmental search as a minimum.

Additionally, if anyone purchasing a property ever has any specific worries like this, then they should relay them to their conveyancer who will raise them with the vendor’s solicitor. At least this way you have written evidence that you enquired about specific concerns.

Answered by ConveyLaw


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