New homeowners could be at risk of a £50,000 fine - here’s why

Buying a new house can be an exciting time, with furniture to buy and rooms to decorate (Photo: Shutterstock)
Buying a new house can be an exciting time, with furniture to buy and rooms to decorate (Photo: Shutterstock)

Buying a new house can be an exciting time, with furniture to buy and rooms to decorate.

But did you know that you could be at risk of a £50,000 fine if you don’t make sure your drainage system is up to scratch?

Drain misconnection

The majority of properties in the UK are connected to two sewers - a foul water sewer and a surface water sewer - but if your property has a drain misconnection, this means that the plumbing is accidentally discharged into the wrong sewerage system.

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    According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in the UK there’s still an estimated 150,000 to 500,000 UK homes with some sort of drain misconnection.

    However, an unaddressed drain misconnection can potentially cause harm to the environment, public health and wildlife.

    What happens if I have a misconnected drain?

    If a home is found to have a misconnected drain, authorities will initially work with the property owner in order to fix the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    However, there could be potential legal action for significant damage to the environment, which could see a fine of up to £50,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months in some cases.

    If a property is extended or altered, it’s typically the owner who is responsible for the correct setup of the drainage system. The condition of the property’s drainage system should be checked regularly to ensure it is compliant with the law and not at risk of causing flooding or pollution in the local area.

    The types of missed connections or poorly planned soakaways that tend to cause flooding and pollution are illegal in the UK and can lead to prosecution by local authorities or the Environment Agency.

    How do I check my drainage?

    Most mortgage providers require a property valuation in order to determine if the property is safe to lend on and up to what amount, but homebuyers are also recommended to get an independent survey done in order to ensure the property is structurally sound.

    This can also highlight any areas of the home that may need any maintenance or immediate work done.

    However, the property’s drainage system may be overlooked if the surveyor doesn’t have the experience or equipment needed in order to provide an accurate assessment.

    Homebuyers can check the property’s drainage themselves before committing to buy through a home buyer’s drain survey, which is a CCTV survey of the property’s drainage system which aims to identify any issues or damage to the pipework.

    This article was originally published on our sister site, Yorkshire Evening Post.