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My skinflint neighbour has taken a pneumatic drill

(44 Posts)
Pawprint Thu 01-Aug-13 18:14:19

My neighbour had a burst pipe that caused water to rub out of the front of his house. I live in the adjoining house.

Instead of calling a plumber, he took it upon himself to drill a large hole in the road outside his house. This is the road where children play and adults park their cars.

The hole is three feet square in size and about five feet deep. Over the last two nights, he has covered the hole with an old door.

I am angry because I'm sure what he has done is illegal and I am worried that he might cut a pipe and flood the street.


cocolepew Mon 05-Aug-13 17:24:31

shock he's ridiculous. Hopefully it will be sorted soon.

My neighbour tried to cut down trees that line our cul de sac. He is under the impression that anything he can see from his window belongs to him confused. He had also dug away banks and walls into land that still belonged to the builders. He won't be able to sell his house because if this, it's still in dispute.

GobbySadcase Mon 05-Aug-13 17:20:22

It's not just the water issue, what if there are leccy or gas pipes/cables in there?!?!?

quietbatperson Mon 05-Aug-13 17:12:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cozietoesie Mon 05-Aug-13 12:53:49

PS - part of the problem may be that this is high annual leave season and there may be a pivotal person who isn't around. I can't imagine that this guy doesn't have history.

cozietoesie Mon 05-Aug-13 12:51:14

I suspect it comes under the category of 'someone else must be dealing with it' . Myself, I'd be constantly on the phone to the High Ups in the local water board, council (including my conuncillor) - in fact everyone. Just on general principle.

kinkyfuckery Mon 05-Aug-13 12:43:50

OMG. I'm actually sitting with my mouth agape reading this. He dug up a hole in the road and no one has dealt with it yet??!!!!

Pawprint Mon 05-Aug-13 12:39:23

"McNewPants" - thanks; I still can't believe the guy has dug up the road! It would be funny if it weren't so dangerous.

McNewPants2013 Sun 04-Aug-13 18:18:21

My father is a qualified person who haves all the licences to be able to carry out work like this. He has worked a million pound jobs and he even wouldn't have done this.

What a loon and I am glad you have phoned the police.

Pawprint Sun 04-Aug-13 18:04:08

Hi Cozie - he did indeed replace them - with wonky modern timbers that look ridiculous. Still, all that happened long before we moved in, but it is a shame.

Pawprint Sun 04-Aug-13 18:02:00

Spot on, Punk - he is v rich indeed but tight fisted. He lives in a house that was, once, absolutely beautiful. However, he is a compulsive hoarder and the place is crammed with junk. He has filled in the timber window frames too the extent that there they are now more filler than wood. Not much of a concern to anyone except that the windows are listed.

cozietoesie Sun 04-Aug-13 17:58:31

Chopping away original beams is unlikely to need planning permission - but I would want to reassure myself that he replaced them with something. If this was part of some larger piece of work, I would expect Building Control to have given a strong view - but it sounds as if this guy doesn't know who they are.

I think you're very wise to consider another survey. Tell whoever does it the story (verbally) so that they know they may have to dig and poke.

Best of luck.

Punkatheart Sun 04-Aug-13 17:48:45

Yes, it is serious. He seems like a man for whom the rules hold no interest. 'I can do anything.' The council will probably fine him for the damage caused and how much it will take to fix. But it will also be classed as criminal damage - you just cannot go digging up public property.

The couple who previously owned our house did some very dodgy DIY and my OH nearly discovered to his cost a live wire in the wall. That element of this needs to be confirmed - for your own safety.

My family were antique dealers and sadly, I met a lot of characters like this and no gorgeous Lovejoy ones with twinkly eyes and sex appeal. They were mostly rich old skinflints who would turf your granny onto the floor if she was sitting on a Chippendale.

Hope it resolves itself and no damage has been done. Daft old coot!

Pawprint Sun 04-Aug-13 16:56:04

Just an update - the local community police officer came round and spoke to my h. They are taking it very seriously and the water board will be round. I don't think they have been round yet, as the site where the hole was dug is still a complete mess of earth and rubble. It's already beginning to sink into the ground...

Pawprint Sun 04-Aug-13 16:39:11

Hi Cozie et al - we did have a structural survey done, but I think I will need another one done.

One thing I've always suspected is that the guy chopped away at some of the (original and very old) beams in the ceiling without planning permission (maybe he didn't need planning permission? I don't know).

The other irritating (but not illegal) thing he did is get a cowboy to do the wiring (we had to get it redone) and he also tore out all of the original fireplaces. Fifteen years on, the fireplaces are still for sale in his antiques shop which is rarely open and is full of crap like Fergie and Prince Andrew Wedding Mugs that is rarely visited by a paying customer.

cozietoesie Sat 03-Aug-13 18:53:46


Can you afford a proper structural survey of your house? You should have had one done when you moved in (where the knocked through wall should have been flagged) but surveyors are not always on the ball.

If he previously lived in your current house, I would want to ensure that it's sound. (He sounds like one of those people who might have excavated his own subway station in the basement.)

TweedWasSoLastYear Sat 03-Aug-13 17:38:24

I would be asking a builder to assure me there was a lintel above the door he knocked through. Judging by his cowboy attitude to diggin up the highway I doubt there is.
How did he know there wasnt an electric cable buried next to the water main ? He could have electrocuted himself.
While they are re-working the water mains enquire about a water meter , it could save you £100 a year ( did for us )

HeadfirstForHalos Sat 03-Aug-13 17:20:47

I would be very worried with him living next door! Get that cable checked on your side by an electrician, like someone else said you could be paying for his electricity or even end up with a house fire.

I hope the water board give him a good bollocking for you too.

Euphemia Sat 03-Aug-13 17:16:38

What a nut!

Pawprint Sat 03-Aug-13 17:14:00

"Cosie" - I own my house and so does my neighbour. He's rather eccentric at the best of times but here's stunned his neighbours with this latest business!

Pawprint Sat 03-Aug-13 17:12:42

Hi "LessMissAbs"

The road is not owned by him, it is a public road owned by the council. One of the problems is that (a) it is illegal for him to dig up the road without a licence and (b) he isn't qualified to do work on the mains pipes. I'm not sure a plumber would be allowed to do it either, but I could be wrong.

The guy's 'work' could cause flooding or an accident. He says he bought some pipe from a scrap yard and 'rigged it up' to a water hydrant under the road. He claims that 'cowboys' put in the pipes 30 years ago and that now they have burst.

Putting an old door over the hole was dangerous - a car could have driven over it and gone into it, a child or animal could fall in and the sides of the hole could have collapsed on them.

You're right - the police weren't the right people to call. Should have contacted the water board.

Several people have expressed concerns to this man about the fact he has taken a pneumatic drill to the road and dug a hole five feet deep and four feet wide. He has also just filled the hole with soil and not put tarmac etc on it.

My h has spoken to him and so have at least three other neighbours.

What you are doing is different - you are digging on your own land and not a busy lane where people pick up/drop off children on the school run and where neighbours park their cars.

I'm all for people mending things themselves but this is a dangerous situation and shouldn't have happened.

Some time back, the council demanded he get the top of his back wall mended as it was bulging out and would have, eventually, would have collapsed onto the road.

Anyway, I hope the water board sorts it out.

I am not being an interfering busy body or nosey neighbour - I just don't want the houses on the street flooded! I live in a town where two severe episodes of flooding caused several hundred residents to be re-homed for an average of two years so I know the damage it can do.

LessMissAbs Sat 03-Aug-13 16:19:57

Its a bit unclear from your post what has actually happened, or who owns the road, the houses or the pipes. If he owns the road and you have a right of access over it, then he might be entitled to dig it up. Is it possible he is fixing other leaks in other pipes at the same time?

There is too much nonsense in this country about being scared of fixing simple things yourself. Presumably everything would be all right if he stuck a sign outside his house proclaiming that he was a "plumber", yet he would still be the same person with the same experience. Electrical safety regulations were changed recently and now prevent anyone from changing the facing on your sockets yourself in your own home! The only reason for this is I think to increase business for electricians. Yet my DH who has an degree in electronics engineering would be barred from changing his own sockets!

I speak also as someone who has a door covering a hole in the ground which will be our soakaway once we have dug a channel for it across our shared driveway and then covered it up. Its an easy job in terms of skill, and fortunately our neighbours are sensible and won't object. No way are we paying someone else to do it when we can do it ourselves.

I suggest you speak to your neighbour, instead of relying on Chinese whispers, and find out what he is actually doing. I'm not sure why you called the police instead of the water board.

llittleyello Sat 03-Aug-13 14:49:35

He sounds unwell

wheredidiputit Sat 03-Aug-13 14:43:29

Get your electric checked ASAP. At worse you could have a fire, at best you could be paying for some of his electric.

cozietoesie Sat 03-Aug-13 14:04:28

Oh Dear Goodness.

I had thought that maybe he was 'circumventing' a water meter by digging in the road.

I've lived next to ......idiosyncratic.... neighbours as well. If he lived in your house before you, I would be really concerned about all the services - and also be hoping that the wall he knocked through (to put the door in) wasn't supporting.

Do you and he rent your houses or own them? (I'm thinking of responsibility for safety here.)

Pawprint Sat 03-Aug-13 13:04:19

Hi all - thanks for the messages.

I don't have a water meter - I guess it's the same for the rest of the street.

The site where this man drilled the hole in the road hasn't yet been dealt with by the water board. The guy has just filled the hole up with earth. No Tarmac or anything to provide structure.

I am going to contact the water board directly. The guy told someone that he just bought some pipe and hooked it up to a water hydrant.

Another thing - the man used to live in our house as well as his. He knocked through the wall and put a door in.

Recently, he told me that he had found an electric cable in his house that was coming through to my house. The cable needed to be capped off and he said he would get an electrician in. I have since discovered that he mended the wire himself... Grrr

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