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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I live in the middle of three tall old houses on a slight slope.

Resolved Question:

I live in the middle of three tall old houses on a slight slope. My neighbour on the higher side has no downpipe on the front of her house (it was built like that) and when it rains hard my gutters pipe and drain are overwhelmed by water falling from quite a height-you can't use the front door and plants in my pots get detroyed. My neighbour has suggested that I get my drain cleared-but I feel that this is only a temporary measure and that the problem (which has been ongoing for some years) is caused by too much water coming into my gutters. Someone has suggested that I put a 'stop' in my gutter between our properties but obviously this would cause damage to her house. What is my legal postion?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 4 years ago.

Josh-2010 :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Josh-2010 :

How old are the house please and how long has she been discharging into your gutters like this?

Customer:

Houses were built in 1793 and remodelled in Victorian times. Water dicharge has been happening for about 4 years but has recently got worse.

Josh-2010 :

Thanks. Has the water always flowed through your gutters but up until recently it has not been a practical problem?

Customer:

water has always flowed through my gutters and has been a minor problem but recently has got much worse

Josh-2010 :

Thanks. Finally do you know if there is any referred to right in her deeds to pass water into your gutters? Is she willing to discuss installing an additional down pipe in her part of the guttering?

Customer:

No, I don't know whether there is anything in her deeds to this effect. And no, she isn't willing to install a downpipe.

Josh-2010 :

Thanks. Based on what you say the neighbour may either have a right in her deeds to pass water through your gutters or alternatively given the age of the properties is likely to have a right by prescription - i.e. she can show 20 years of continuous use of your gutters and therefore can claim a legal right to continue under the Prescription Act.

Josh-2010 :

This being the case what this means is that she will have a right to continue to flow water through your gutters and if your gutters happen not to be sufficient to take the water flow there is no basis to require her to cease and desist such flow unless you can a) show that some change more recently than 20 years has resulted in a increased flow which is more than the original right she enjoyed or b) the flow is due to some lack of maintenance on her property.

Customer:

Thanks Josh. Good to know where I am-I like to get on with my neighbours

Josh-2010 :

Obviously if the gutters are not older than 20 years - i.e. were not part of the original building the above would not apply and you could demand that she ceases and desists.

Josh-2010 :

Notwithstanding the above a practical solution is likely to be the remedy such as the installation of a new down pipe either on her side of the boundary or if she is unwilling then on yours as possible.

Josh-2010 :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

That's interesting-my gutters and I think hers were replaced about 15 years ago. I am not completely sure if hers were replaced. New gutters were installed under a government scheme funded by the E.U.

Josh-2010 :

Thanks. Unless she has a right in her deeds to pass water into your gutters or can show 20 years of use then you can insist she ceases and desists and her water discharge under such circumstances amounts to a trespass and she can be liable for damage occasioned.

Josh-2010 :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Customer:

If I need a letter to this effect to show her is this availble from your service? And do I understand that if her gutters are newer than 20 years old she needs to take some remedial action?

Josh-2010 :

I could draft something for you to consider if you would like. Re 20 years yes unless she can point to a right in her title deeds. You may wish to check her deeds on this point - you can use the following link. There is a £3 fee to obtain a copy.

Josh-2010 :

http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public

Customer:

Josh-not sure if you got my last mail-

Josh-2010 :

I am afraid I did not...

Customer:

Josh-not sure if you got my last mail-if her gutters, like mine, were replaced about 15 years ago-does she then have to take some action? And does her service provide a letter to this effect?

Josh-2010 :

I could draft something for you to consider if you would like. Re 20 years yes unless she can point to a right in her title deeds. You may wish to check her deeds on this point - you can use the following link. There is a £3 fee to obtain a copy.


Josh-2010 :

http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public


Josh-2010 :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Josh-2010 :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Customer:

Thankyou-that's really useful. just want to check that I am paying £33 for your service and that no further monies will be taken from my account-was told that £33 would be 'credited to my account' which I found a bit alarming. I don't want to join your monthly scheme and have not signed up to do so.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

Just a brief note to confirm that your account is not signed up to any subscription scheme but is on a pay-per-question basis - so, no ongoing charges.

Best wishes,
Nicola

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

Just a quick reminder, there is an unrated answer waiting for you here from the Professional.

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Thank you,
Nicola
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Josh-wanted to ask whether the fact that I talked to my neighbour about this problem 3 years ago and asked a roofer to look into a possible solution counts as bringing up the problem before the 20 years deadline. Her gutters were put up about 20 years ago-same age as mine.

Expert:  Joshua replied 4 years ago.
Do bear in mind that it is for her to prove the 20 years not for you to disprove it.

If you can show that she sought your permission 3 years ago this would reset the 20 year period she would need to show.

It would very much depend upon what was discussed but unless you could show that she acknowledged that she needed your permission in some way it is unlikely this encounter would suffice to stop the clock running.

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?