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Advice needed please: neighbour's wall collapsing

(8 Posts)
Ilikecakes Sun 10-Jul-16 21:29:09

We've done a large refurb on our house and as one of the finishing touches, we employed a gardener to do a general tidy up, including cutting back the ivy that had grown on our back fence. After completing the work, he commented that the back fence was rickety and made a comment (struggling to remember it verbatim!) that implied that the ivy had been supporting it.

Three days later, we received a visit from a neighbour whose garden backs onto ours, but at a lower level, telling us that a decorative wall he had at the end of his garden (so below our fence) had collapsed overnight. DH went to take a look and was horrified as had it happened during the day, it could easily have injured someone very badly or worse.

We're obviously relieved in the first instance that no-one was hurt, but understand also that our neighbour will need his wall replaced, as well as garden furniture that was damaged in the incident.

My question really is whether the gardener has any liability in all this. Please don't flame as we're not trying to pass any buck but just have a genuine query on this. We employed a professional to complete some work, and a direct consequence of his work was this significant damage to the neighbour's property. Should he accept any responsibility or does it fall to us?

Any advice gratefully received.

LIZS Sun 10-Jul-16 21:32:18

I doubt it unless he dislodged it. Is it a retaining wall for your garden, could the weight of your higher ground , especially if wet, have put it under pressure once the fence was removed. Whose boundary is it to maintain?

JennyOnAPlate Sun 10-Jul-16 21:33:22

I have no legal knowledge but I really wouldn't have thought so. The gardener did what you paid him to do.

SquinkiesRule Sun 10-Jul-16 21:53:14

If it's a retaining wall allowing them to have a patio with furniture and not a steep slope garden and it's holding back your garden too, then it sounds like it's a 50/50 replacement cost to me to be fair.
I know we have a tall retaining wall between us and next door, between the driveways, ours is higher up the hill. It was getting crumbly so the cost of having it rebuilt was split. If neither of us did anything, we would have no drive and they would have a steep slope of our dirt and no drive either.

akkakk Sun 10-Jul-16 21:55:00

Was the ivy growing through the wall?
What caused the wall to collapse, is there a mini avalanche of earth above the wall which caused the collapse?
Was your fence against the wall?
Was the wall simply old or badly constructed?

What does the neighbour want / expect from coming to tell you?
Is he implying that the gardner caused the issue?

I think you need some clarity as to the neighbour's expectations, if he feels the gardner caused the issue, then simply offer to put them in touch so that he can resolve any issues... But I think you need to know a bit more first it doesn't really sound likely that removing ivy from a fence would cause a lower wall to collapse unless there was a more physical link between them

Imperialleather2 Mon 11-Jul-16 08:26:50

You clearly are trying to pass the buck onto the Gardener otherwise you wouldn't be asking the question.

If ivy was holding a wall.together then it wasn't safe and you are lucky nobody was hurt.

I think you need to foot the bill

ladypie21 Mon 11-Jul-16 09:51:18

Its quite possible the ivy was holding the wall in place, I've seen this before. However, the root cause of the wall collapse was the poor condition and long term lack of wall maintenance! I would forget about the ivy removal, be grateful no one was hurt and agree with your neighbour about who is responsible for the wall maintenance.

Ilikecakes Mon 11-Jul-16 21:51:48

Thanks all. We're working with neighbour to resolve now. Emailed the gardener to tell him what happened and asked him if he would come over to help us remove the remaining ivy, which he refused to do. Don't know what to make of that really but don't have the energy to dwell on it!

Neighbour has thankfully been v reasonable, and recognises that what's happened isn't really either of our faults-a combination of weak wall on his side and the work carried out on our side is the reason for the collapse.

Imperial-as per my OP, I have no intention of passing the buck and was simply asking the question. hmm

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