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Drainage matters

(4 Posts)
whatwereyouthinkinof Wed 22-May-13 16:54:22

Has anyone had any experience with this?
Our home is on the side of a hill and the elevation of our neighbours garden is more than 3 ft above ours. Drainage was dreadful so we installed (very expensive) land drains in our land four years ago. For the 2 years we had a wonderfully usable garden, then 18 months ago our neighbours had most of their garden hard landscaped and suddenly our ground became a quagmire again.
When it rains heavily or they jet wash their patios the retaining wall between the properties is turned into a waterfall, our flower border becomes a pond, the lawn is an unusable quagmire for several days, and the saplings we planted last year have all rotted at the roots. We have shown the neighbours the problem and politely spoken to them, they shrugged and said it would soon dry out...We have written to them and asked them to put some drainage in, they ignored our letter.. We asked the council for guidance and they said that as the patios are not in breech of planning it is a civil matter, whilst informing us that though by law owners of lower level land have to accept 'natural' water from higher neighbours they do not have to accept it when the natural drainage has been effected by extensive hard landscaping.
We know the next step should be a solicitors letter but the neighbours have now put their house up for sale and we havent a clue how that would effect our claim.
Does anyone know if it is even worth us persuing the matter or should we just put up with having a garden that we cant let the kids use?
What chances do we have of succeeding if we go ahead ?
Is it going to be cheaper in the long run to dig up our own garden yet again and install yet more expensive land drains at our own expense than persuing them through the courts and possibly risking having bad relations with the new neighbours if the courts force them to dig up their lovely new patio?

wonkylegs Wed 22-May-13 16:59:42

Personally my first move would be to have another chat with your neighbours informing them that if they will not take action you will be forced to take legal action which will probably affect any sale of their property as they will have to declare the dispute within the legal process. You of course don't want to go down this route and create problems however if it is the only way to remedy the situation then your hand will be forced.

whatwereyouthinkinof Wed 22-May-13 21:43:07

Thanks for the response Wonkylegs... I will give them another try but to be frank I dont believe we will get any better response than I did before, I couldn't have put it to them any more gently, asking if they could please stop jet washing as soon as possible, showing them my flooded lawn and drowned flower border and their reaction was they couldn't leave their patio half done and my lawn along with the tent I had just put up to check over before holiday season would dry out soon enough ... but I suppose anything has to be worth a try.
I really hate confrontation in any form...even posting my very carefully worded letter made me feel sick... but I suppose talking to them is less confrontational that sending them a solicitors letter....

nocake Wed 22-May-13 21:46:38

wonkylegs is right. You have the upper hand if their house is on the market because they have to declare any disputes. With one solicitors letter you can devalue their house or make it much harder to sell.

I would go with wonkylegs' suggestion and either chat to them or write an informal letter. If they don't take action, get a solicitor to send a letter.

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