Unfinished Wall(9 Posts)
We bought our house 18 months ago, when we were looking around we noticed the wall to the side of our drive, our boundary wall, was still to be finished (imagine front of the wall still missing pieces and the tops of pillars not closed off). We asked the sellers and they told us that the neighbours were actually the ones building the wall and they reassured us it was in the process of being finished. We took their word for it as the neighbours house appeared to be in the middle of total renovation, there were wooden planks leading up to the front door and part of the house had been knocked down with interior walls exposed.
Fast forward a year and our DD was 6mths and starting to get very mobile, our front door leads onto our drive and because of the wall STILL being under construction we couldn't put a gate up. DH went round to ask the neighbours what was going on with the wall as we really wanted to get gates up before DD was walking which would present a bit of a danger if she were to magically get outside (not entirely possible but these things can happen). They told us it would be finished by the summer, however we would have to build a pillar for our gates as we wouldn't be allowed to attach to the wall as it is theirs.
Another 6 months have passed and the wall still isn't finished! I'm really concerned because the pillars are still open and cracks have started to appear in the brickwork. DD is fully mobile we have to be really careful when getting her in and out of the car on the drive, and have to be extremely vigilant with the front door if we're popping in and out to say empty the bin or load up/unload the boot.
I know they've technically built the wall, but it's our boundary, would WBU to send our builder over to say we're finishing the wall regardless as it's now a case of when, not if, the wall falls down after a big downpour and freezing conditions? Can we also attach a gate? I've never heard of anyone not being able to fix a gate to the wall because it's not their boundary before, our back gate is attached to the wall so is that wrong too?
Sorry for the long post but I have no idea where we stand here, they (the neighbours) have a reputation for being PITA and previously told an old woman across the road they weren't going to finish the wall at all now that she complained it was a bit of an eyesore.
I don't think you can make them fix the wall.
You can't legally finish it for them if it's entirely there's and their side of the boundary.
I think you need to put in a pillar and a fate your side. It sounds like they'll be a massive PITA if you attach one to their wall and they've already told you not to. If no one is making a fuss about the back gate then leave it be.
It also extends up through our back garden, and I'm worried one of the pillars (huge cracks) may fall when our daughter is outside, so much so she's not allowed anywhere near that side of the garden.
How do I tell if it's their side of the boundary?
you need to know if this is your wall or theirs. You house deeds (or a copy from land registry) will tell you if you are responsible for this wall or they are. If you are then I think technically it is your wall, regardless of who has started it.
the other thing to look at is where the wall sits, is it over the boundary, eg half on your side half on theirs, or is it on your side or on theirs?
If it is your boundary on your side, just tell them it is your wall (give copy of deeds if necessary) and take over finishing it, and making it safe.
If it it theirs, then the best thing you can do is get it looked at by a builder to see if it is safe (garden walls are a common cause of injury to kids, you are wise to be wary) if it is safe, then put you own gate on and run a simple chicken wire fence down your side to cover the gap, and make it safe for your dd.
Or build your own wall, on your side which is safe (but that might look odd)
If it is theirs and not safe, you then have evidence to sit down with them and say they have to sort it, and get a committment to fix it.
If it is their wall, then yes, you cannot fix anything to it, paint it, grow flowers up it etc etc although many people obviously do.
Can you just put a fence up along your boundary?
I'd be reluctant to build our own wall or put a fence up because the sheer weight of their wall falling (huge pillars and depth to the wall itself) would probably damage whatever we put up.
When we bought we were told that we were responsible for the boundary on that side, I guess it's just a matter of establishing whether they've built on their side of the land. I'm inclined to say no as it's quite new and we have some old trees that have been there for decades judging by their height and they seem to be right up against this wall.
Would I just measure from one side to the other to establish if it's on their side?
You need a Chartered Surveyor specializing in party walls to check the boundary.
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