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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8564
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a 3 storey property which is attached to a block of 2

Customer Question

Hi
I have a 3 storey property which is attached to a block of 2 storey properties which run up hill from mine , to my understanding on terrested property each house should have an outlet either from the front or the rear alternatively as it run down the street , when the council renewed the old wood gutter type for the deep formed alloy type and never renewed all the required outlet for the amount of house this dramatically increased the water flow into my property creating a massive damp patch covering 2 floors which on a number of occasions i have try to remedy, had re plastered only to fail again the following winter ,when it rains i have a water fall at the front door and the council think it's not there problem and are charging me council tax on a house which as been made un habitable by there work
Thinks
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
in total there is 14 house and two outlet then they have cut into my downpipe with a tee piece for next door this is not good building practice
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

What was the outlet arrangement before they renewed the gutters?

Have you raised the issue with the council?

What was the outlet arrangement before they renewed the gutters?

Have you raised the issue with the council?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
next door raised the issue and got no response
i my self have not raised the issue
outlet on Victorian terraced house is one outlet to front then next door as it at the rear the there neighbor to the front then rear and so on so each property take there share of water and not give to the bottom of the block
wood gutters have a depth of 50 mm ish the alloy one's have a depth of 100mm ish plus more width giving a far greater flow my be 4 or 5 times the volume and force of water
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you.

I’m sorry but I can’t quite understand your reply.

What was the outlet arrangement before they renewed the gutters?

Is there a connection into your downspout before or did the council just take it upon themselves to do that?

If they just took it upon themselves to do that, what was the arrangement for all the other water before then?

Is the water now overflowing onto your property and causing damp? Please confirm did not do that before. Thank you

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
the previous arrangement unknown
the work was done some years back and cannot remember
but yes vast amounts of water do know pour onto my property over the door way and cause damp on 2 floors due to the massive increase in gutter size
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. It is unlikely to be the massive increase in gutter size which has caused the problem. The reason is that the amount of water flowing off the roof and into the gutters is unchanged.

In fact, having a larger gutters should ease the problem because they will not overflow as easily as smaller gutters.

Nonetheless, if this extra flow of water down your downspout is caused because they have changed something such as removed downspout and therefore, there is now nowhere to going down your downspout them before, then you have a claim against the council in negligence for doing the work negligently and also against the council in nuisance because this water, flowing from their properties, as a result of their changes to the gutters, is quite simply a nuisance.

It would be really useful if you could find out what changes had been made to the location of the outlets on the replaced gutters.

If you send a solicitors letter to the local authority they may take more notice or, if you don’t want to spend any money, check your house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover that would pay for legal costs of any action.

If you have already written to the council without effect or acknowledgement, you can then make a further complaint about the councils reluctance to deal with this, to the Local Government Ombudsman which is a free service although it is not particularly quick.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps me greatly, I get paid!

Best wishes

FES

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
i don't think you understand my problem fully
yes with a smaller gutter the water would overflow over the top on the other properties and therefore would not continue down the row increasing in volume all the way into my property
the council said they would of put back what was there but two outlets for 14 houses is absolutely inadequate and therefore also negligent
if it was just a nuisance then i would not worry but as it is rendering my house unliverble and basically damaging it to the tune of thousands if rot set in
does the council and my neighbors have this right ?
i had 3 tenants in there and 3 tenants have left owning money due to this damp
so far i have not got a solution.can you rephrase this " if this extra flow of water down your downspout is caused because they have changed something such as removed downspout and therefore, there is now nowhere to going down your downspout them before, then you have a claim against the council in negligence for doing the work negligently and also against the council in nuisance because this water, flowing from their properties, as a result of their changes to the gutters, is quite simply a nuisance.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
you can get google street view of my property the green 3 storey shop next to the red shop and how it end above the front door with the bucket to try and deflect some waterhttps:[email protected],-2.23843,3a,75y,326.29h,89.34t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syivYBEKFFGVro5E895Crvg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you.

No, I did understand the problem. However the street view does help.

There is a downspout just below the red shop. Does that not take any water? Who has replaced the downspout at the very end of the run, by the bucket?

The fact remains that this was not happening before and it is happening now since the council changed the gutters on this row of houses.

The council are liable in negligence for the damp damage to your property.

The council are liable in common law nuisance because, apart from the damp damage which they are responsible for, it is also a nuisance having this damp and water pouring down the front of the property.

With regard to the white door house between the green shop and the red shop, that looks to be suffering from damp also. Is it?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
it take some but not enough
the council replaced all drop pipes, gutters, sand blasted and pointed as part of a regeneration project some years backyes it does also to two floors they contacted the council and got no where
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 months ago.

Thank you.

If the local authority replaced the downspouts and the downspouts are not sufficient to carry the water from these gutters, and it causes damp in both your properties, then you have a claim against the council in common law negligence. That would be a claim for the cost of rectifying the damage to your property and an injunction to make them solve the problem. You also have a claim in common law nuisance because this seepage of water, even if it did not cause damage, is nuisance.

It is unlikely to claim for loss of rent would succeed because that is not a foreseeable consequence of fitting and inadequate downspout.

If the council have taken no notice of written representations (do not try to deal with this on the telephone) you are faced with either suing them in the County Court for an injunction and costs or if you want to use solicitors, the threat coming from a solicitor will carry more weight and the council are likely to do something about it once they get the solicitor’s letter.

You can also send copies of the correspondence that you’ve sent to the council and the copy of any reply you received to the Local Government Ombudsman which is a free service. The Local government Ombudsman has the power to make the local authority sort the problem.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process so that experts get paid. We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes

FES

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