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Subsidence from next door's garden

(9 Posts)
mazz1984 Mon 23-Nov-15 10:39:33

Hi everyone!

I recently moved into a house that needs a bit of work done. The garden lacks fences, there is only a flimsy metal frame around the perimeter. According to DH, getting a fence erected on two of the sides is going to be quite straight forward (albeit expensive), however the issue is that next door's garden is falling onto our garden from the left side. It is a small block of flat on higher ground. It looks like their earth and grass were maintained by big cement slabs but they are now broken and edging towards our garden.

My question is, how do I get to know who owns this block of flat? I imagine that whoever owns the building will have to deal with the garden (build a wall or something). I sent an email to my local council (it could be council flats, I am not sure to be honest) but haven't heard back yet. Then once I know who owns it, is it only a matter of sending a letter expressing my concern or do I need professional/legal advise?

Sorry for all the questions, we are first time buyer and completely clueless about those things. Most of my friends are renting so they never dealt with anything like it before.

Thanks in advance for your help!!


buymeabook Mon 23-Nov-15 10:43:20

Tread carefully. There should be some sort of retaining structure, not just slabs on top. It may be the responsibility of your house to provide and maintain support to the neighbours ground. Is there anything in the deeds about who is responsible for the boundaries?

PigletJohn Mon 23-Nov-15 10:57:33

Look it up on the Land Registry.

Use the .gov website, not one of the others which are scammers.

NoSquirrels Mon 23-Nov-15 11:04:21

Was anything mentioned in the survey before you bought, OP? Usually something like the next-door garden collapsing in, and boundaries, would be brought up.

To find out ownership you can look it up on Land Registry, as PigletJohn says.
But be prepared to find out whoever owns it just doesn't care, as it's not causing them a nuisance, just you...

mazz1984 Mon 23-Nov-15 14:20:43

Thank you both. I will have a look at the survey again (but I don't think it mentioned anything regarding next door's garden). I will try and use the Land Registry to find out the name of the owner then, hopefully it will be quite straightforward...

buymeabook Mon 23-Nov-15 15:26:09

Please please make sure you check who is responsible for maintaining the boundary before going in all guns blazing. If it turns out to be you all you are doing is drawing attention to it and potentially giving yourself a big cost.

It may be that the deeds aren't clear about responsibility, or that the change in level has occurred since the deeds were written. In which case, is there a change in height because your garden has been dug down or their's raised up?

No one wants to pay for these sorts of things, and sorting out responsibility can be difficult and costly. If it can't be determined it may go 50:50.

NoSquirrels Tue 24-Nov-15 12:01:25

Responsibility for boundaries would have been checked by your solicitor- it's a really important bit, so you should have the information on your deeds.

Typically each house is responsible for a boundary on one side of their property e.g. you are responsible for the right-hand boundary, your neighbour for the left. So as the PP says, before you write off to anyone - or indeed replace any other fencing - you need to establish which boundary is "yours".

If you erected fencing you'd need to make sure it was on your side of the plot etc. The wire fence that's there may not be the actual boundary according to the deeds.

Epilepsyhelp Tue 24-Nov-15 12:04:39

You're very unlikely to be responsible for the retaining wall, that would be pretty stupid on the part of the block developer. You can find out from the land registry who owns it as you said, then they will need to be notified to sort it out.

wowfudge Tue 24-Nov-15 12:19:19

NoSquirrels - unfortunately there is no typically about it when it comes to boundaries. Either it is stated in the title register, indicated on the title plan or both are silent. If they are silent, e.g. nothing regarding responsibility for the boundaries is mentioned, then the legal assumption is that it is shared responsibility.

Especially with older properties there is often no mention of boundaries at all.

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