This becomes more of a problem if you are acting for a commercial lender. How can you satisfy a commercial lender where a search for water and drainage shows that a property has been built on top of a public sewer and that there is no evidence of superstructure authorization, that there is no risk of a legal bogeyman entering the land, digging up the ground to access public sewers and not repairing the damage? When private sewers were transferred in 2011, the majority of private sewers and sewers in England and Wales were transferred to the public. Thousands of kilometres of pipes – the repair and maintenance of which are responsible for by the owners (often without their knowledge) – were the responsibility of the water companies. While this was undoubtedly good news for homeowners, the construction of these sewers by their former owners created a legal grey area. Each company in the water sector has its own construction policy above or near public sewers. For Severn Trent Water, if a homeowner wants to build in the immediate vicinity of an existing public sewer, they will have gone through one of two processes. Until the late 1990s, they reportedly entered into a construction agreement with Severn Trent Water defining both their rights and those of the water company. Overall, the transmission of private sewers has been beneficial for both public and water companies. It cleared the public of responsibility for sewers and put them in the exclusive hands of water companies, which are much better equipped to maintain the canal network. While confusion persists when it comes to issues such as sewer construction, there is no doubt that in the end, homeowners are better protected than against transmission. The other possibility is for the seller to give the buyer liability insurance in order to protect himself against the financial losses caused by the construction of the property via a public sewer.
This is the fastest and cheapest option, but whether insurance is available or not depends on the circumstances of each case. We bought a house with sewers and without a construction agreement. After long back and forth, it seems that they did not need a construction agreement when the extension was built. I now intend to replace the extension and need to request a new build-over agreement. But this should be granted, because it is a small sewer. That`s what the war company told me. I told our lawyer not to deal with the repair, because it is useless for us! What matters is when the property was built and whether the flow at the back is only used by the house or neighbors. If it was built before 1937 and is divided – it is and was a public sewer and construction agreement that were needed….