When a sewer drain becomes blocked, it can be more than an inconvenience. Unfortunately, they’re also a burden that you are likely going to have to deal with at some point in your life. When a sewer drain does become blocked, it’s important to get it unblocked as fast as possible. However, who is responsible for ensuring that this happens? Deciding if the tenant, property owner or council is responsible can be difficult and will depend upon a variety of factors. Read on to find out who is responsible for a blocked sewer drain in Australia.
Who is responsible for a blocked sewer drain in Australia?
Who the responsibility falls to for a blocked sewer drain can be difficult to determine. Generally, it depends upon where the blocked sewer drain is. Often the easiest way to determine responsibility is going to be whether or not it’s on private or public property.
On your property
If the blockage is in the sewer pipes that are under, in or within your property’s boundary, the property owner is responsible for having the blockage removed and repaired. If you are an owner-occupier, the responsibility is clearly yours, however, if you are a tenant it can get a little more difficult to decide who is liable for the costs and you should consult your contract.
Outside your property
If the blockage occurs in the sewer drains outside of a private property or leading away from a property (and clearly outside the boundary) then the local wastewater authority will more than likely be responsible for getting the blocked sewer drains repaired. A blockage that occurs in these main sewer lines is usually caused by an overflowing or full sewer inspection shaft, which falls within their responsibility.
How do you decide if the landlord or the tenant is responsible?
Understanding who is responsible for repairing a blocked sewer drain is not always as clear cut as you might expect it to be. The easiest way to determine responsibility is to call in a professional and licensed plumber to locate where the blockage is in the system.
If it is determined that the blockage is in the sewer drain on a private property then it’s going to fall to either the tenant or the landlord to pay for the repair. Generally, a property owner is liable to ensure that the property is safe and fit to live in, which means repairing any defects when they occur. However, it is also up to the tenant to take good care of the property and ensure that they are not causing any damage to the structure and networks within the property.
This is where a licensed plumber will be able to assist in determining responsibility. A plumber will also be able to determine the nature of the blockage. This information can help determine if it was caused by those living on the property or if perhaps it was a structural issue that would fall within the landlord’s responsibility.
What is a combined drain?
A combined sewer drain is a sewerage drain that services and collects sewage from multiple privately owned properties. This is often common in townhouses or small gated communities. If a combined sewerage drain becomes blocked it becomes the responsibility of all of the property owners to repair it. If it is found to be defective then the expense and responsibility are shared collectively among the impacted property owners.
What do you do if you have a blockage?
If you suspect that you have a blocked sewer drain on or near your property that is causing issues in your home, you need to call in a plumber as soon as you can. Blocked sewer drains are a big health hazard and they need to be remedied as soon as possible. Do not try and clear it out yourself with store-bought chemicals as this could make the situation much worse. Simply call an experienced plumber and let them repair it for you.
An experienced plumber will utilise equipment such as sonar pipe scanners, mobile CCTV cameras and high-pressure jets to both locate the blocked sewer drain and get to work removing the blockage and repairing it.
If you think you have a blocked sewer drain you should call in the experts now
If you suspect that you have a blocked sewerage drain on or near your property, you should call in a professional and experienced plumber as soon as you are able to. The team at Murphy Plumbing are experienced, dependable and professional plumbers in Newcastle and will be able to assist you with any plumbing issues that you are experiencing. Get in touch with our experts now and get that blocked sewer drain sorted out sooner rather than later.