Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby madmax » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:26 pm

At the risk of continuing to answer my own question and for the benefit of others who may follow this thread. Here is a link which may be useful...

http://www.blacks.worldfreemansociety.org/2/P/p0957.jpg Black's Law II (Quoted in full to avoid being read out of context, and yes, I am aware the cited case is from US law so there's no need to point that out)

PROPOSAL: An offer; something proffered. An offer, by one person to another, of terms and conditions with reference to some work or undertaking, or for the transfer of property, the acceptance of whereof will make a contact between them. Eppes v. Mississippi, G T & R Co. 35 Ala. 33

In English practice. A statement in writing of some special matter submitted to the consideration of a chief clerk in the court of chancery, pursuant to an order made upon an application ex parte, or a decretal order of the court. It is either for the maintenance of an infant, appointment of guardian placing a ward of the court at the university or in the army, or apprentice to a trade; for the appointment of a receiver, the establishment of charity etc. Wharton


I would assert that there is a reason why these notices are being sent out as proposals.
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby huntingross » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:30 pm

My point was a simple observation, responsibility does not mean ownership, in your opening post you read one to mean the other.

Therefore, if the rest of the discussion is premised on this point, it is false.
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby Freeman Stephen » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:53 pm

conditionally accept the proposal with the conditions that should they need to make any charge to you or become incapable of maintaining the responsibility they are proposing at their own expense, create a restriction on the drains which would offend you etc. that a right of reversion will automatically execute.
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby madmax » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:50 pm

Huntingross. No, sorry. Although one might perhaps choose to read it differently I did try to make my words as clear as I could from the very first sentence. I'd reasonably assumed the intended context and meaning relating to reading the STW notice would have been sufficient. I'll try to make this clearer...

This morning I received a "notice" from Severn Trent Water addressed to "THE OWNER" (caps) stating their intention to take "responsibility" (for this, I read "ownership") of the sewers and/or lateral drains on my property. I'm not too happy with this.


"(for this, I read "ownership")" - i.e. in the context of reading this "notice" - a notice wherein they state an intent to take "responsibility" and also include two pages of other legal statements and consequences. Unless otherwise stated in any subsequent post, this applies ONLY the notice I am discussing (see post title)

Possibly an illustration of why legalese needs to be so verbose? (and the cost in terms of TLDNR).

I am referring to my reading the specified notice of proposal rather than blindly equating "responsibility" with "ownership" as a definition in law - as you say "you read one to mean the other". I don't. If you are unsure of my intent the honourable thing would simply be to ask me to clarify or phrase it more clearly rather than making a flat-out claim to the contrary.

Any subsequent implications follow from my opening statement understanding. E.g. where I refer to effective seizure along with a number of clearly indicated conjectures or consequences where I was careful to quality using the word "effective" since I am asking questions and raising concerns - effective ownership v's actual ownership (e.g. freehold, actual, allodial title and the rest etc.) viz...

What concerns me is that STW as a private corporation will, effectively, seize ownership of all private sewers (drains) where these are shared in common with neighbours. The consequences to this, IMO would be as follows.


I qualified that further by speculating (and stating MO) as to whether this may generate easment, licence or similar legal restriction which might affect those the proposal is directed towards. I'm asking questions and raising valid concerns rather than making concrete assertions and asking for them to be "debunked". This may make less sense to anyone who has not received a notice (yet) and my questions necessarily require to be addressed at those who have a) received such a notice and can construe it's broad intent or b) who are broadly familiar with this type of offer. Hence why I offered to post a copy of my notice if anyone needed clarification etc.

Have you read one of these notices yet?

Let me, perhaps, both expand and phrase this another way which will hopefully avoid the need to respond to further deconstructions; - from my reading of the entire notice of their proposal which was served on me I construe this as demonsrating their intent to take [i]effective or possibly even actual ownership of the mentioned physical assets and I construe likely and consequent problems or arising obligations for the current owners in either case.[/i] - (see remainder of OP for my understanding of this, my speculations and consequent questions)

Good enough to make things a bit clearer?
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby kevin » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:09 pm

got mine today from Welsh water

Titled:

Changes to the ownership of your drains and sewers
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby madmax » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:24 pm

Kevin - Interesting. Was yours framed as a notice of proposal as well as referring to transfer of ownership? (mine used the legal terms "transfer", "adopt" and specifically says "pipes which transfer to us"

It also says "On 1 October 2011 the government will be transferring all sewage pipes outside your property boundaries and all sewage pipes which are shared with another property within the boundary to the sewage/water companies". Whilst ownership isn't mentioned I think transfer of ownership might be implied, also, the term "company" (private corporation) is used.

Was your notice dated (mine wasn't and the expiry of at least one clause was 1st July, *after* the date I received it)

I am wondering if the 1st step might not be a request for clarification.

The mandatory transfer of private property from a private individual to a private corporation seems decidedly iffy to me. Where will this end? Will the state deem my freehold home must be transferred to <insert council name> Homes PLC in order to "better facilitate maintenance"?
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby kevin » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:07 pm

mine says:
Dear Customer
Changes to the ownership of your drains and sewers

I have to let you know about changes to ownership of some drains and sewers blah blah


it says there is a "legal notice" on the back of this letter:

notice of proposal to adopt private sewers and lateral drains

[...]

(schemes for adoption of private sewers) Regulatios 2011 ("the Transfer Regulations") [...]


1. on 1 October 2011:

a. Any private sewer [...]

will transfer to Dwr Cymru and become a public sewer or public lateral drain belonging to Dwr Cymru



the obviously intend to take ownership and responsibility for maintenance

(underlining by kevin)
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby Freeman Stephen » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:21 pm

reject the proposal. offer to rent it to them.
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Re: Severn Trent Adoption of Private Sewers and Lateral Drains

Postby madmax » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:59 pm

Thanks Kevin, That underlines (no pun intended) my original understanding of the STW proposal. Theirs made rather disingenuous use of the term "responsibility" in place of ownership. On reading it, it was clear to me that this was a transfer of tangible assets (transfer of ownership).

If you hold title absolute over a thing then I can't see where there are original obligation and thus responsibilities to transfer. If you hold absolute title to an object, free from encumbrance (note we're talking only "pipes" at the moment and not land or the issue of allodial title) then you hold no obligation to that thing and no responsibility arises thereof. Obligations and thus responsibilities, as I see it, arise from situations where you don't own absolute title. To expand further - it seems to me that new obligations and responsibilities are being created rather than necessarily the transfer of existing ones in all cases. These obligations *may*, of course, arise from shared drains, as specified to be adopted but this would depend on things such as charges/covenants on deeds etc. and I'd expect they may vary. I think this is a reasonable analysis particularly since the precise and documented reason for this adoption of pipes in the first place is cited as the asserted difficulty in determining responsibility which leads to disputes over maintenance. This may be phrased differently in notices from each area. (Before anyone tries to shoot this down, this is just my opinion).

Something to examine more is exactly what property is being transferred. It says "pipes" but I doubt if pottery and plastic is the limit of what is transferred and in terms of what responsibilities and obligations arise out of having what will then be someone else's property installed on your land. It seems from the attached rider that the obligations arise from said pipes being connected to STW or other PLCs infrastructure. I'd doubt if they'd be demanding to break into my shed and take my spare lengths of 4 inch soil pipe.

Just to make it clear: I'm not advocating a decision one way or the other. Some people may prefer to agree to the proposal. It may depend on, having ascertained all of the pros-and cons, whether they benefit in the long run by acquiescing.
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