Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

I have a problem with my drains, what should I do?

If you have a problem with a neighbour’s drains that affects your property we may be able to help.

If you have a problem with drains your first step is to identify who is responsible for the section that is causing the problem.

Who's responsible?

In Oct 2011 the rules changed. If you're joined to the main sewer network then you are responsible for your individual drain whilst it is within your property boundaries. If you live in flats then this is the drain that is used for the whole building and not just the section for your flat. It is owned by the freeholder, who may split repair bills between all tenants.

The sewerage company is responsible for:

  • the main sewer
  • your individual pipes once they are outside the boundaries of your property
  • pipes which are shared between neighbouring properties before they reach the main sewer (such as with semi-detached and terraced houses)

In instances where the whole network of sewers is privately owned, such as with some housing estates, then responsibility is split between all properties joined to the network.

Who is my sewerage company?

Depending on where you live in Luton, the sewer may not be the responsibility of the same company who supplies you with clean water. You'll need to look at your water bill:

  • if your bill is from Affinity Water you will need to contact Thames Water about sewer problems on 0845 920 0800 (24 hours)
  • if your bill is from Anglian Water, you can contact them about sewers too on 03457 145 145 (24 hours)

If the problem is your own drain

The homeowner is responsible for the maintenance of drains that serve their property. You'll need to find a plumber, or drain clearance specialist, and you'll be responsible for the charges.

If you are not sure where the problem is

If you're not sure if the problem is your drain or the sewer, your sewerage company will be able to tell you. If the fault is with your drains they'll charge for the work to mend them.

If the problem is a neighbour’s drain affecting your property

You should try to work together to solve the issue. If a neighbour, who is legally responsible for the drain, doesn’t want to cooperate with you, we can get involved.

We'll send an officer to find out more about the situation. We're able to send an enforcement notice to all those legally responsible to act within a set time period.

If steps have not been taken to sort out the problem within that time period, we'll carry out the work and charge those residents for it. However, we'll charge an administration fee so it may be cheaper to sort it out yourselves.

You can now pay your Works In Default (WiD) fee online using the button below.

Pay WiD now

Avoiding blockages

Most drainage problems are caused by putting inappropriate items down sinks and toilets.

Only human waste or toilet paper should be flushed down toilets. Don’t flush wet wipes or sanitary products as they don't break down like toilet paper.

Cooking fat should never be drained down a sink, it will set hard and create a ‘fatberg’ catching other non-flushable items and blocking the pipes under your home or the street.

© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ