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repair to neighbours wall without future liability

(16 Posts)
MillyMollyMardy Sat 01-Feb-14 10:40:37

If anyone can point me in the right direct.

Our kitchen has a leaky roof that a roofer has identified as being due to crumbling and failure of our neighbours wall as the water is soaking through and under our flashing. We have had a quote and looking at the state of the rest of the wall getting the neighbour to agree to repair it is unlikely, the deeds put the wall as their responsibility.

They have been repairing it themselves for the last 3 years and barely made any impact.

I would like to just repair it having got consent for access but want to cover myself to avoid any future liability for other repairs.

I have tried searching by get bogges down by all the legalese.

Any help appreciated.

AmIatwat Sat 01-Feb-14 21:07:49

Get in touch with local council, they will be able to advise you as to who is liable/responsible for repairs,

MillyMollyMardy Sun 02-Feb-14 12:10:50

Thank you for the reply.
The neighbours are responsible for repairing the wall it's in the deeds.

I want to word my letter to them to say we will pay for this but to ensure that we don't set a precedent and then have to pay for any future repairs.

AmIatwat Sun 02-Feb-14 14:01:48

Have you actually spoken to them about this? they might get the hump if they receive a letter before you've discussed this.
If they consent, make sure the work carried out is acceptable to both of you. There are more disputes about boundary walls and fences than anything else.
Explain to them the implications their wall is having on your house ( sorry if you've done this already) and that you are in a postion for it to be repaired rebuilt, however this is a one off .
Another thing to consider is do these people qualify for a repair grant from local government. They may well be if they are elderly/disabled etc, worth a try. If they are any work carried out will be covered by the scheme so there will be no come back on you if problems arise.

MillyMollyMardy Sun 02-Feb-14 14:59:11

AmI I get your point but they go back inside when we go in the garden so it's difficult to speak to them.

We have pointed out the state of the wall multiple times, asked them to come an see it if they want. They are not elderly or disabled so unlikely to qualify for any grant.

I have drafted a letter which very nicely tells them what is going on, why we need to do it and that we are happy to pay, giving them the roofer's details, asking if they want to come over. I will add a line about making sure we are both happy with the work. I wanted to do it in writing as I need written consent to access the wall which is their property. I am just concerned not accepting responsibility for any other work as the all is in a bad state overall.

AmIatwat Sun 02-Feb-14 18:58:21

Well it seems your neighbours have very poor social skills, that makes things difficult. What you could point out in your next letter is that they have a legal obligation to maintain their property when it comes to it affecting you house. This happened to me. Explain that it would make for an uncomfortable situation if you had to involve the local authority of take legal action. Such a shame, I'm finding more and more new neighbours keep themselves to themselves to the point where you feel like you are walking on eggshells.
Contact the council. They can advise you on what course of action to take.
I think you've done about as much as you can for now. If they choose to be uncooperative you need to leave this matter in the hands of the local authority.

MillyMollyMardy Sun 02-Feb-14 19:26:17

After your last post I went on the offensive and went round several times, rang them and did eventually manage to speak to them.

They have agreed verbally but I emphasised I need to have it in writing so will sent them a letter so it's all written down.

I just need to find a way of covering my butt so we're not liable for any other work that needs doing such as when their wall falls on our greenhouse.

MillyMollyMardy Thu 13-Feb-14 20:20:05

Oh well.Epic fail. I spoke to the neighbour she agree verbally, I said I needed her consent in writing and would put it all down in a letter. She sent me a note simply giving permission to access the wall..

I sent my letter saying it's not quite like that, have had a reply today saying she doesn't give me permission to touch her wall.

What concerns me is she talks about a 4 inch gap between our kitchen wall and her wall. There may have been one historically but I suspect her wall has moved.

I will speak to our roofer and see if there is anyway around things but I suspect there is not enough room between the 2 walls to put any damp proofing in. Then I guess I'lll call our insurers and seek legal advice.

Does anyone know if the council will get involved if someone fails to maintain a wall. We are in a Conservation zone and we are listed but they aren't.

Collaborate Thu 13-Feb-14 23:45:55

Don't see why the council would want to get involved in a private dispute between neighbours. Best going through your insurance company(hopefully you have legal expenses insurance) and getting solicitors to write to them putting them on notice that if they don't remedy the problem you'll have to take them to court. Might need to get a surveyor to report on the source of the problem.

Celeriacacaca Fri 14-Feb-14 18:29:56

Don't you have a right to protect and preserve your property, which allows you to go onto neighbouring property, as long as the correct notice is given. Is there anything in your deeds re an easement allowing access?

MillyMollyMardy Sat 15-Feb-14 17:07:29

We do have Legal expenses insurance so will give them a call next week.
Our problem is that the problem is not really our property but theirs (the wall ) that is the cause of our leak and she has refused permission for us do repair it and judging by the state of the rest of the wall isn't planning on doing it herself. I suspect a surveyor will state the entire wall is unsafe.
So much for my thinking offering to pay for it would be simple.

MillyMollyMardy Sun 16-Feb-14 13:29:33

Now even worse, have had a third letter accusing us of having carried out work without consent, trespass , causing them stress and anxiety and inducing high blood pressure. We haven't touched their blooming wall.
Apparently I have sought to deceive..

KirstyJC Sun 16-Feb-14 13:37:01

I am not a legal person, but have looked in to this a bit as we have similar issues with joint work.

As far as I know if their failure to maintain their property has caused you damage to yours, they are liable. It doesn't matter if they don't WANT to pay for repairs, they MUST. It is one of the costs you take on when you buy a property, sadly. They also need to allow reasonable access to their property, if you need it, to repair and maintain yours.

Have you contacted your insurers and got legal advice? You can get a chartered surveyor in to look at the work and apportion costs, but it sounds like they would need to allow access and agree to the costs. If they are getting stroppy then you need to get serious and legal - make sure you do everything by the book and in writing, to avoid them making spurious claims in the future.

(Although you could perhaps take them to small claims court to recover the costs, if you are happy to cover them yourself this would be more trouble than it's worth).

MillyMollyMardy Sun 16-Feb-14 13:53:23

Kirsty they have now withdrawn any access to their wall to repair our roof and have a ladder leaning on their side (wall is about 7ft on their side) to spy.
I have spoken to our roofer and he said he can reseal the edge of our roof to try to stop the water coming in but it's coming off their wall which is acting as a sponge and then seeping under our flashing.

I am currently digging out all paperwork relating to the wall and them, having a look at our structural survey, have left a message for the previous owners to get a bit of background and I will call our insurers tomorrow.

We have agreed if they approach us in the street not to say anything as everything needs to be in writing especially with the accusations they have thrown at us.

Please tell me you had a good outcome.

KirstyJC Sun 16-Feb-14 20:30:47

Dunno yet - just paid the bill today and will be emailing our neighbours to ask for their contribution! (They are abroad and I've never even met them......)

I believe - (but please check with a proper legal bod and not take the word of a random like me!) - that it is an actual legal requirement that they allow reasonable access for you to repair your building.

Good luck. Shame they are making it hard for you. At least with us it's all done by email so we can't give each other dirty looks over the wall!

MillyMollyMardy Mon 17-Feb-14 21:05:03

It's OK it's a very high wall.

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