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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25426
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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A natural spring has appeared in our garden. It is centred

Resolved Question:

A natural spring has appeared in our garden. It is centred about 18" from our neighbours fence. Our neighbours garden is also getting waterlogged. The environment agency say that you would expect natural springs to occur in our area.
We have tried and failed to reach a joint solution. Our neighbour is adamant that we have a 'Duty of Care' to sort out drainage as the spring appears to be centred in our garden. There is nothing to stop her installing drainage in her own garden. But it seems she would rather have the soak away, pump, drainage pipes installed in our garden, ASAP, and that we pay the majority of the costs.
I would have thought this would be a 'natural drainage' issue and that we have no legal responsibilities.
Our neighbour says it would come under 'Duty of Care' and that we do have legal responsibilities.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

From what you say am I correct to say that you have not modified your land in any way that has led to run off onto their land but rather this is a natural occurrence resulting in water draining onto your neighbours land please?

Customer: Yes, you are correct. This is a natural occurrence. We have done absolutely nothing to cause the spring to occur or to direct the water in any way. No patios, no raising of ground level, no drains built or blocked, nothing. It occurred naturally in an area prone to natural springs and boggy gardens.
Joshua :


Joshua :

The legal position is that if the run-off is being caused by natural flow of water across or under the neighbouring land then they have no redress against the you just becausethe water happens to source or run across your land. However if it is being caused by activities or modifications to your land which from what you say is not the case then they do potentially based on the duty of care they refer to

Joshua :

In the event of a dispute a surveyors report can be required to clarify the position as to both source and the reason for drainage. If the neighbours wish to make a claim against you then it is for them to seek evidence against you to show that drainage onto their land is being caused by works you have carried out to your land.

Joshua :

If they can demonstrate such evidence then they may be able to fashion a claim against you but in the absence of evidence of water running onto their land other than by natural means, they would not have the basis of a claim against you as you are not liable for natural water flow off your land.

Joshua :

In these circumstances it is up to you either to come to a joint arrangement or make your own separate arrangements as you each see fit

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer: I thought this was this case.
Customer: I thought this was the case. However, is there any way that our neighbour could be correct as she insists that she's looked into the legalities and that we are liable???
Joshua :

She would appear to be relying on the (from what you say) incorrect presumption that the drainage is being caused by works you have carried out. If this were the case she would be absolutely correct potentially. However there is no case law I am aware of that has made a landowner liable to neighbours for natural water flow

Customer: Many thanks Joshua
Joshua :

You may consider putting her to strict proof and cite specific authority by reference to legislation or case law if she believes she knows otherwise. I will be happy to look at any references she provides though I cannot see she will be able to supply anything substantive.

Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Joshua :

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.

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