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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a challenge and wonder if you can advise me. A row of

Resolved Question:

I have a challenge and wonder if you can advise me.
A row of four garages back on to my land and the guttering on that side is over my land.
The fence with the neightbour (council property) runs also along the back with the distance of 1 metre of my land at one end of the row of garages drawing to no distance at the other end.
This means that I can maintain the back of the first two garages including the guttering there but unable to do so for the las two due to not having space to work in or place a ladder to reach the guttering.
The back fence belongs to me, however what is the best way of approaching the council to sell me the small triangular piece of land to square off the lend at the back of the garage?... and also am I responsible for the guttering all the way along the back of the garages?
Many thanks
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

It’s very difficult to imagine the layout. Are you able to attach a sketch?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Apologies for delayed response... have been away on business.Please find attached a drawing explaining the layout.Many thanksHerman
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I can't attach the drawing...
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Not sure... if document attached now...
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Thank you. The sketch does help but I’m not certain where the gutters are. I assume that they run along the top edge on the plan from left to right although to be honest for the purposes of this answer it immaterial.

I’m also assuming that, looking at the plan, what you want to do is continue the very top left-hand black line in effect all the way along to the right so that the distance between your garage and the top boundary and the other people’s garages and the top boundary is the same all the way along. Please tell me if I am not correct in my thinking.

If the gutters are attached to the Other People’s Garages than those gutters are the responsibility of the people that own the garages. It may be different if there is a gutter between your garage and the other people’s if that is a sort of gully in which case it may be a joint responsibility.

Under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act you are entitled to access onto any neighbouring land for any work required to preserve (maintain) your property hence. If you need to put ladders onto the council land, they have to give consent.

There is no formal process for asking the council to sell you a piece of land. You would write to the Estates Department at the local authority and I would also write to the Legal Department. I would enclose the plan of your property and mark on that exactly what it is that you want to buy. It’s up to you whether you make them an offer or ask them how much they would consider selling it to you for. Unfortunately, if they simply refuse point-blank, there is no mechanism to appeal this that is likely to be successful. There are mechanisms such as judicial review but most unlikely to succeed.

Can I clarify anything for you? Please do not forget to rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
You are correct in your understanding of the objective of attempting to purchase the slither of land, I want to make the distance from the back of the garage to the fence equidistant all along the length of the garages.As relates to the guttering it does run all the way along the back of the garages from left to right with the downpipe at the rightmost point where the fence joins the garage.The land behind the garages slopes away from these and access place ladders requires complete removal of plant material on the council side, plus the dismantling of some of the chainlink fence (which I am responsible for) every time we needed access for maintenance.
Additionally because the land has a very large proportion of clay in it as deciduous trees and vegetation growing close we have already had a successful claim against the council for subsidence and now have for the third time requested they clear and remove the vegetation permanently.... awaiting their action on this last request.I understand that if the council decided not to sell the piece of land to me there would be not much I could do about it that would be likely to be successful. But if the vegetation continues to be a problem, what is deemed to be reasonable waiting and expected action?Many thanksHerman
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I will not forget to rate you when I'm done with this.Thanks.Herman
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for the reply.

In your letter offering to buy a piece of this land you might want to point out any potential problems which you are removing from the local authority and the fact that there has been a subsidence claim in the past and that by you buying it, you would be absolving them of that liability.

Because this selling land is owned by the local authority, they are not going to be quick in making a decision and they may want to wait till some monthly meeting or other and hence, I don’t think you’re going to get a reply within 1 month and more likely, 3 months.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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