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Solicitor letter out the blue - help please

(7 Posts)
ladygoingGaga Fri 23-Dec-16 08:47:54

We built a single story extension to our detached house, in 2015.
The day we put the house on the market a year later our neighbour complained to the council planning department about the extension.
It included a number of points, one of which claimed it was structurally unsound confused
Immediately we got a structural engineer around to reassure them that the minor cracks were just that.
However one issue remains unresolved.
The gutter does slightly overhang into their airspace.

They were happy during the build, everything was explained to the , we shared the plans and hid nothing.

We have now moved, a letter from a solicitor dropped through our door yesterday, threatening legal action unless we pay them several thousand pound for the inconvenience of the overhang.

Any advice would be gratefully received

titchy Fri 23-Dec-16 11:13:01

Why can't you just replace the gutter so it doesn't overhang?

SallyInSweden Fri 23-Dec-16 11:14:46

Well they don't own the property for starters.

It all sounds a bit vexatious tbh.

For starters tell them No.

IsItMeOr Fri 23-Dec-16 11:24:03

It sounds like you were poorly advised when you did your extension, as you have no right to overhang into their airspace - it's trespass. This gives a bit more info:

www.lyonsdavidson.co.uk/can-homeowners-overhanging-eaves-gutters/

Unless it's a major problem to them, while they can pursue it as a civil matter, it sounds like it's fairly unlikely that they will succeed.

Also, now that you no longer own the property, I am not sure that it is any longer your responsibility. Didn't this show up when your purchasers did their searches? How was that resolved?

SpotTheDuck Fri 23-Dec-16 11:30:28

It's the buyer's problem as the current property owners (unless you entered into some kind of contract with the neighbour?)

The neighbours need to pursue the current owners.

The current owners then could pursue you for the losses if you concealed the issue or took on express contractual responsibility.

I'd suspect the neighbours or their lawyers are confused about ownership of the house (they may think the new owners are tenants?) so just write back saying you no longer own the house and as such do not believe you have any liability.

ladygoingGaga Fri 23-Dec-16 13:20:16

When we sold the house we retained liability for the dispute as it was on going, so we could sell obviously.
In their letter they claim the lorry that delivers logs once a year cannot now get down the drive, leaving the wood delivery about 12 foot short of the garden.

SpotTheDuck Fri 23-Dec-16 16:05:55

Ok those were pretty important facts, and changes the advice you're going to get.

You retained liability. You have trespassed on their land, and caused them an inconvenience.

You need to consult a lawyer and show them details of any original agreement or correspondence - if the neighbour clearly saw your plans to overhang their land and consented to it, you should not be liable.

But if they didn't directly consent to the trespass then yes of course you're liable for the resulting costs/loss of amenity.

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