Private Stormwater Drain Headache - Brisbane

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Staples, 8th Mar, 2020.

Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community
  1. Staples

    Staples New Member

    8th Mar, 2020
    Sorry for the text, there is a bit of a backstory to my problem.

    My house drains into a stormwater pipe that runs along the rear of my property. This pipe is a private stormwater drain and it is indicated on council plans that it is not the responsibility of the Brisbane City Council to maintain. The pipe services four properties, before it discharges out to the street. My property is the 2nd house along and it runs along two more properties before it terminates.

    I noticed that during recent heavy rains that an open stormwater drain on my property was overflowing, discharging a large amount of water. I had a plumber investigate and on CCTV inspection he found that the main shared PVC stormwater pipe has been “squashed” to the point that minimal water can now pass through it and he was unable to advance the camera any further. The point where it was blocked is a few metres into my neighbour’s property. The plumber went next door, spoke to occupants and was allowed into the back yard of the property where he marked the point where the pipe is flattened, using detecting equipment to find the camera head.

    The pipe has been squashed to an extent that it needs to be replaced as well as further inspection along the length of it to ensure that there is no more damage to it. There is no clear cause for what may have caused this, with no recent construction or other works being done near it. Our houses were constructed in the early 80s and I don’t know if age of the pipe has anything to do with it.

    Next door is a rental and I’ve contacted the property manager asking for work to be done as every time it rains, I’ve been dealing with the stormwater of both my property and the dwelling upstream. I’ve offered to pay half the cost of the works, if it the job could be done quickly. I sent the report that the plumber created to the property manager. I was then asked by her for a quote for the owner’s portion to fix this. I replied that as the damage was on her property that the responsibility is for her to get a quote from a licenced plumber and I’d be happy to help with the cost. I was in the process of getting ready to put my house on the market, which I’m now unable to do until this is fixed.

    I’m unable to find any information when it comes to a shared private stormwater pipe. I would assume that it’s the owner’s responsibility for the maintenance of stormwater drains and pipes on their property but it’s unclear when we share infrastructure. If the owner drags their feet should I be seeking legal advice? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

    18th Jun, 2015
    Sydney or NSW or Australia
    You will need to refer to the original easement on title to determine who has the responsibility for maintenance and who is responsible in case of damage or collapse. Costs would be shared with all upstream users not just yourself and the damaged property.

    Have you checked whether the collapse is due to tree roots or possibly the pipe collapsed. due to a temporary imposed load eg car tyre?

    As for selling, caveat emptor.