Gutter downpipe goes to next door's garden - who is responsible for the drain?

Posted 5th Jun 2022
Hi all,

Hopefully there is someone who could help - our house's gutter downpipe goes down into a drain into our next door's garden, the same as all the terraced houses around here. The drain is blocked causing the gutter system to overflow - who is responsible for unblocking the drain?

Genius design I know...

Thank you
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  1. Avatar
    I don't think that there is a definitive answer.
    Sometimes the deeds will tell you. Although in these days of electronic records, details like that get lost.

    What else goes into that drain? It might be a shared drain and the responsibility of the water company.

    If it happened to me I'd talk to the neighbour and sort it out if I could.
    Yeah it might be in the deeds as you say it can be tricky to get hold of these days. Just seems like such an odd design and it's on their land as well.

    It's just our single gutter water nothing else. None of their water goes into it.

    Doubt they will pay for it, I wanted to find out the legal responsibility for both payment and legalities.

  2. Avatar
    It's their drain so their responsibility unless the underground pipework is going into a shared sewer on their property. Then it's up to the water company to unblock it.

    Why not offer to help your neighbour with the initial investigation? It might be that the actual downpipe is blocked which should be an easy fix.
    Thank you. Yeah I tried that already, they have redone their garden patio blocking access to the bottom of the downpipe with no other joins visible at a reasonable height. I'll need to cut the pipe and use a joiner to inspect, I just wanted to know what step 2 would be. Hopefully that's all it needs.
  3. Avatar
    The link @TikTok posted I believe is correct..

    A drain is the responsibility of a individual house up until it feeds 2 or more properties

    So if your guttering for 2 or more houses goes into the same downpipe its a water company problem.

    I've had Welsh Water out a few times for a similar situation.

    In the real world however it may be quicker just to check out the downpipe yourself
    That link states water company are responsible for shared drains, not guttering / downpipes

    What About Guttering?
    Shared land also means shared responsibility for repair, and so if there are damaged gutters, it’s reasonable to share the costs of repairing them. If guttering and water egress drainage is shared between two properties (look at your deeds and it should say whether this is the case) there is normally a joint responsibility (and liability) for maintenance and repair. (edited)
  4. Avatar
    Gutter has been checked and it's spotless (bit of a waste of a fair bit of money to be honest...)

    Thanks all for the replies. I'll check the downpipe but that's as far as I'll go from my side. Sounds like it's for them to deal with if the drains are blocked then. (edited)
    You'll often find that the gutter at the top may be completely clear.....but the downpipe could be blocked in the twin 135 deg elbow section that then brings the downpipe closer to the wall. That's what happened to mine recently and it wasn't until I actually got on a stepladder that I found the cause was loads of accumulated moss in this section. Once removed it stopped the waterfall effect that i was getting over my guttering in heavy storm rain

    Normally pulling the downpipe down will allow any blockage to fall out....or bashing the downpipe hard repeatedly with your hand might make it fall loose down the downpipe....obviously if your neighbour has completely encased the bottom of the downpipe this then becomes difficult and as you say you may need to cut the downpipe in 2....inspect and then add a joiner to reassemble.
  5. Avatar
    It depends is the best answer.
    I can tell you about the fun I had - our boiler house shared guttering with the neighbour, the downpipe drained on their side. The fascia the guttering was attached to was rotting on his side and he wanted to replace it. I had no issue with this and allowed him on to my property to repair it. It turned out that there was no drain - the downpipe simply let the water run out onto his grass. When he replaced the facia & guttering he put the downpipe on my side and pointed out that there was no drain on his side either. It made no difference to me. However when I think back it was a bit of a cheek to do that!
  6. Avatar
    Just get a ladder and unblock it not that hard
  7. Avatar
    Are you certain the drain is actually blocked?? Chances are it's the gutter to downpipe that'll be blocked with leaves and soil etc.
    It's happened on our last two houses and it was an up the ladder job to get all the out of the gutter, my latest house is the same in heavy rain so it'll be another ladder job in the next few weeks.
  8. Avatar
    Just talk to your neighbours and see what they think first before getting all arsey over it.
  9. Avatar
    It's their responsibility.
    My old one always called out someone to clean it yearly.
    The new European one wanted to make it my responsibility too and asked me to share costs. I told him to f off.
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