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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I am having a disagreement with our neighbour re ingress of

Resolved Question:

I am having a disagreement with our neighbour re ingress of water into his garage. His garage backs onto our rear garden and nine months ago water started leaking into his garage and he is putting the blame onto us claiming nuisance and trespass. We have tried to help by digging away the soil from our side to expose more of the garage base, but the area we live in is a clay based soil and has impeded drainage which means at this time of the year we have standing water on part of our garden after heavy rain. We both lived at our addresses for over twenty years so the problem to me is the geological one and that properties in our area are prone to subsidence (post code HU18 1BF)' coupled together with the land drainage issues. I have also given him permission to send a builder onto our land to build a drain around his garage but at his expense. I am reluctant to do anything else as he cannot in my view categorically prove the water is coming from my side and not up through the base. I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give so that I can try and resolve this dispute.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Matt Jones :

Hi I will try and help.

Matt Jones :

when there is the build up of water does this run up to and against your neighbours garage?

Matt Jones :

also, has this always happened, or has it been happening periodically during the approx 20 years period

Matt Jones :

sorry, on the last point I meant to say has it always happened, or just recently started happening?

Customer: Hi,,
Customer: hi,
Customer: Hi, a bit complicated this one.Our flower border originally ran up and against the neighbours garage,but any flooding was just short of the garage, however, about a year ago they complained of water ingress into their garage and asked me to dig our border below the base of the garage floor. This I have done but appears to have made the problem worse as water now sits in the area I excavated ! The problem as mentioned earlier is a recent one and is one of the reasons I am asking for advice. Geologically we live in an area of impeded drainage and an area that according to the environment agency is of high risk for surface water flooding.
Matt Jones :

Thanks

Matt Jones :

does your land sit higher than your neighbours? and do you know if your deeds contain any rights of drainage over your neighbours land?

Matt Jones :

also do you know when the garage was built. was it within the last 20 years of you living there?

Matt Jones :

also, am i right in presuming that you use the land for its natural purpose. It is presumably residential, so you don't conduct commercial activity at the property?

Customer: Hi,the land we both occupy is relatively flat but there may be a slight decent towards my neighbour not discernible by the naked eye .I am not aware of any rights of drainage, sorry. Both properties were built together as part of an estate in circa 1990 by a builder called Wilcon, the garages were built at the same time as the houses.You are right in your presumption that the land is purely residential and not used for any commercial purpose.
Customer: I also meant to mention that my neighbour did have a drain put in on his side of the garage in 2008 as I believe they were experiencing flooding ion their property .
Matt Jones :

and was the drain on their side near to the flooded area on your side of the property?

Customer: The drain is very close to part of our garden that is now flooding , the drain runs down the left side of the garage if you are looking at the garage rear wall from our garden, they also have block paved that area between their property and the garage.
Matt Jones :

Ok thanks. Well if we start from first principles then a person is entitled to be protected from anything escaping from a neighbouring land onto their and causing damage (i.e. chemicals, animals, excessive water etc). If this happens they can claim under the law of nuisance (which has both common law and statutory legal "arms") and claim for loss and damage. However I think your neighbour would have a long way to go in both proving a case against you as the landowners. Firstly a Court would look at the cause of the flooding which in this case appears to be a natural phenomenon and not something you are doing which is not the intend use of the land (i.e. if you kept cattle on the land for example). There would have to be an expert produce a report to establish exactly what the cause of the flooding, but i suspect it it more likely to come from your land than up through the floor of the garage. Secondly if would look at what is reasonable in terms of what you could do, ad what they could do to prevent this flooding from happening.Again if it is significantly costly or problematic then a Court would not expect you so take excessive measures.

Matt Jones :

There is a forum that you could look to to assist in helping resolve the situation, other than a County Court, and that is the agricultural lands tribunal (despite its name it does deal in all types of land)

Matt Jones :

If course the first point of call is to try and mediate with your neighbor to try and resolve matters amicably

Matt Jones :

I trust this helps. Do ask any follow up questions.

Customer: In terms of cost what would be reasonable in terms of cost to try and fix it ie what would a court fix as a reasonable sum to spend ?
Matt Jones :

Well, that is the difficult one I am afraid. Each case would be decided on its facts, the type of repair, disruption to property and life, the percentage chance of the fix actually working, etc. Really very difficult. I would say that a Couple of hundred or a thousand may be seen as probably reasonable (particularly given that to fight it would cost more in legal fees) but it is difficult to give an accurate answer.

Matt Jones :

I hope I have helped you. If so please leave me positive feedback so I can be paid for my time. The question wont close and if you wish to ask any further follow up questions you can come back to it any time

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