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Who's responsible for your pipework?

You are responsible for all the pipes that are inside your property, these include your toilets, sink drains and any guttering or pipes that are attached to the outside of your building. However, Yorkshire Water can provide you with help and advice regarding your pipework. All the maintenance of these is your responsibility which, should a problem occur you would need to resolve.

You’re also responsible for the section of pipe from where the pipes go into the ground, either directly or into a gully close to your property until it reaches a public sewer. There are some images below that can help you to understand pipework responsibility.

Before you look for and call a plumber you may already have plumbing and drainage cover with your home insurance or under a separate policy with another service provider.

Further help and advice

Depending on what the problem is with your drains, there are other authorities that may be able to help.

Below is a list of the most common problems with private drains and who you should contact to sort out the issue.

If the private drain is your responsibility as owner/occupier:

You should contact your home insurance company to find out if your private drains are covered under your policy. If they are, you may want to claim on your insurance to get the problem fixed.

Look for a company that specialises in drainage repairs and maintenance by using your local telephone directory or by searching online.

If you're the tenant you should contact your landlord to report the problem but if your landlord doesn't co-operate you should contact Environmental Health.

If the private or lateral drain* isn't your responsibility as the owner/occupier (for example, if the drain is your neighbour's responsibility):

We recommend that you tell your neighbour about the problem, perhaps giving them the advice on here so they know what to do next. If your neighbour isn't helpful or doesn't want to co-operate, then contact the Environmental Health department at your local authority (council).

*The lateral drain is part of your private drain that runs outside of your boundary.

If there's a problem with land drainage:

You'll need to contact the Land Drainage or Environmental Health department at your local authority (council).

If there's a problem with highway drains (known as gullies) or highway runoff you should contact your local Highways Authority.

If there's a problem with the watercourse, contact the Environment Agency who may be able to help you. Or you could contact your local authority (council) or the Internal Drainage Board (IDB).

If there's a problem with the internal plumbing (such as sinks, toilets, showers or baths) and it's your responsibility as the owner/occupier:

We recommend you contact your home insurance company to ask if you're covered under your policy. Or you can contact a plumber or a private drainage company - you can find one using your local telephone directory or by searching online.

Internal plumbing issues that are not the responsibility of the owner/occupier (for example, if the drain is your neighbour's responsibility):

We recommend that you tell your neighbour about the problem, perhaps giving them the advice on here so they know what to do next. If your neighbour isn't helpful or doesn't want to co-operate, contact the Environmental Health department at your local authority (council).

Rats, mice and smells:

If you're experiencing problems with rats or mice, or bad smells which we've identified we're not responsible for, you should contact the Environmental Health department at your local authority (council) as soon as possible.