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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My neighbour is complaining about the wet floor in her garage.

Resolved Question:

My neighbour is complaining about the wet floor in her garage. She told us it is our fault because our garden soil and plants come right up to the building. Yes the soil is like this and has been for the 40 years we have lived there. Also, our garden is, and always has been, at a higher level that her garage. Last week she brought round a surveyor (unannounced) who told us we must sort it out between ourselves.
As we are in our 80s, and not really able to do physical work, another neighbour kindly came and dug away the earth from the garage in an attempt to expose the damp proof course and create a trench between our garden and her garage. He dug down about 2 ft and all our lovely plants were destroyed and our small garden is a real mess now, which is heartbreaking. However, we don't know what to do next. We imagine more work needs to be done, although we're not sure what. Our insurance company has told us we're not liable for putting right damage to her property. She spoke to us again and repeated that it is our fault and will be sending a solicitor's letter. She was threatening and aggressive in her manner and we know now that our 40 year relationship between us has probably broken down irreparably. She is not willing to meet us part way in terms of sharing any costs or to listen to any suggestions. We are at stalemate! Please can you advise what we should do next?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Has she had a surveyors report please?
Customer:

Hello Alex,

Customer:

I have seen nothing in writing from her surveyor. We just had the unannounced visit. Should I ask to see one?

Alex Watts :

Ok - you need to get an expert surveyors report

Alex Watts :

This will tell you where the problem is coming from

Alex Watts :

If the issue is caused by your property then sadly you have to put it right

Alex Watts :

If the issue is caused by the neighbours property then they have to put it right

Alex Watts :

But before any Court process can get going an expert report is needed

Alex Watts :

Even if it went to Court a Judge will want to see a surveyors report

Alex Watts :

Otherwise the Judge can not decide what to do or who is wrong

Alex Watts :

If I can suggest getting a survey done which should clarify what the problem is, where it is coming from and what can be done to sort it

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Thank you Alex, That's very helpful. Just one more question to clarify things. Am I correct to assume that we will need to organise (and pay for) the expert report? (and not ask the neighbour to do it).

Customer:

Thanks.

Alex Watts : Yes but the cost can be split.
Alex Watts : Does that help?
Customer:

Hello Alex, Thank you for your response last night. Now that we've had a chance try and think about things more objectively, these seem to be our options:

Customer:

First try and establish whether or not our neighbour does have a written surveyors report - we don't know yet.

Customer:

If she does, then we have the option of having our expert survey as you suggested, which would be our call in terms of cost I think.

Customer:

If she doesn't have a written survey we could have an expert survey done to establish fault and aim to share the cost of the report. I do feel this is a little unfair on us as we are not the ones making the complaint. But hey ho - it might be a bit of an olive branch.

Alex Watts :

That is correct.

Customer:

We could of course do nothing! If there is no written report with evidence of fault (at the moment there is just opinion, not factual evidence) and the fact that a court process requires an expert report before proceeding, then we could refuse to cooperate until our neighbour can prove, with appropriate documentation, that the fault is ours.

Alex Watts :

Yes but they could still issue proceedings and the Court would order a report.

Alex Watts :

Best to save that and get the report now so you can see where you stand

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

Of course you are right Alex. It's been such a horrible time with our neighbour, that I'm personally feeling rather bloody minded!

Customer:

Well, I think we're done here. Thanks you so much for your help. Considering you're working all hours over the weekend, I'll be rating you highly!

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