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Hi I am needing an answer very quickly, my neighbour has

Customer Question

Hi
I am needing an answer very quickly, my neighbour has just called her builder around
My neighbour has damp in their kitchen extension. The informed me last Tuesday that they had a builder coming coming around to install a membrane to reduce the damp.
The problem I have is that their extension is not actually a party wall, although the only legislation I can source is the Party wall act 1996. Within in this act my neighbour should give me 1 to 2 months notice before any work is carried out. They gave me 1 day.
This neighbour also informed me that her builder would be digging up part of my patio to install a ground water drain along their kitchen wall extension. I am aware that I need to allow my neighbour access to maintain their property and to mend their DPC (damp proof coursing)....... However, I can not find any information about what happens when a neighbour wants to excavate my land and install a ground water pipe into my land....... do they have a right to do that ? Does it change ownership of that part of the land in anyway and if there are problems with the drain in the future who is responsible for that ?
Unfortunately this neighbour is quite the bully and has bullied 4 neighbours at a terrible level over the years. Everybody is afraid of her. Therefore I need to be very clear on what is deemed acceptable and what is deemed intrusive. What will interfere with ownership of my land where she want to install a drain if anything?
Many thanks for your assistance in this matter
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Good evening. My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question.
- Have you agreed to your neighbour accessing your land and carrying out the work?
- Will he restore your land to how it was pre-work?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex,

Thank you for your reply.

I informed my neighbour that she could not do any work on my land until I had sought further advise. I am aware from the Party wall act 1996 that I am entitled to at least 1 months notice before she intended to do any work. I did not get this, I received 1 day's notice. The notice I received was on a scrap of paper with limited details of what was intended. My neighbour did not ask my permission to excavate into my land, she simply stated that she needed access to sort out her damp wall and intended to get her builder to install a membrane and ground water pipe.

I wrote back to my neighbour and informed her that she was actually asking for much more than simply access. That I understood if her wall was damp and she needed to have her builder to provide a membrane to aid a reduction of dampness, that this would not be a problem. However, I informed her that installing a ground water pipe into my land raised other questions.

For example:
Who maintains the pipe if there are any problems?
Who owns the pipe?

Do I loose legal ownership of that part of my land if I has a pipe belonging to my neighbour in it ?

As this is a ground water pipe and not a Polypropylene Mesh-Grating Drainage system, the pipe would need to be placed into the ground and stone chippings covered over it, so that when it rains the water falls through the stone chippings and into the drain.

The builder intended to continue that drain from my land under my wooden gate into my neighbours outlet.

This whole area of my garden had cobble stones throughout and up to my neighbours wall. My neighbour got her husband to come into my garden when I was away working (I have been away for 3 years and returned this summer). He removed my cobble bricks along their kitchen wall and replaced them with rough stone chippings !!!

I informed my neighbours builder today that it had been my intention to restore my patio area back to its original state. This part of my patio is where I usually have a table and tow chairs. I am no longer able to sit there with my friends because of the amount of cobble stones my neighbour took away. One person always ends up with the legs of their chair toppling in the stone chippings.

I aske the builder would he still be able to sort my neighbours damp wall without putting a pipe into my land. I also asked him if he had ever gone into a neighbours land and claimed some of that land for a neighbour to have a pipe installed to drain rain water. He informed me that No he had never done that. That the most he every had to do was install a Damp proof membrane along the wall and that this sorted the problem for his client out.

The builder then informed me that he was thinking of putting the pipe in as well as the membrane along the wall, to see if that would give a better result than simply a damp proof membrane. He stated there were no guarantees and wanted to try this step first, BEFORE, dealing with the Damp Proof Coursing in the property. The builder stated that if the problem is rising damp then the intervention he had thought of would make very little difference to my neighbours kitchen wall.

I asked about injected wall damp proofing systems and he informed me that he had spoken with my neighbour about this but they wanted to try this option first. I can understand that, as this is clearly the cheapest option.

Will the builder restore my patio to its original state ?

No. He had planned to restore the land to the stone chippings, which my neighbour installed without my permission. When my neighbour took up my cobble stones he also caused the rendering to come off the base of my sitting room wall, which I now have to restore. I informed the builder that the stone chippings were not installed by me and that I intended to remove the chippings so that I could restore my original patio area. When he heard this he informed me that in this case there was no purpose in putting the piping into the ground as it could only be done if there were stone chippings covering it.

My neighbour is clearly not happy with the fact that I am restoring my patio area to how it was before she changed it of her own accord without my permission.

I asked the builder how would the fact that I was restoring my patio affect the impact of the work that he was intending to do with the damp proof membrane. He informed me that it would not interfere with that at all. That the only item it would affect was the drainage pipe and again restating that the damp proof work is separate from the drainage pipe, that the pipe was simply to give an extra barrier beyond the damp proof membrane.

So Alex, as I mentioned earlier this is a very aggressive neighbour and she has caused a lot of problems for a number of neighbours. Her response to the conversation between myself and Gareth the builder, was that she was going to see her solicitor with her deeds to get them to make me give then that part of my land for a drainage pipe !!!

She also informed me that the issue needed to be resolved by Wednesday (in 2 days) because her builder is finished the rest of their ground work on Friday. ( he is laying cobble paving around the back of their house). I informed her that I would get back to her as soon as I could, but could not guarantee that I could provide a response by Wednesday. I also informed her that under the Party Wall Act 1996 I was entitled to 1 months notice of works being done and that I also had a period of time to be allowed to respond to that notice. I informed her tat this timing is very inconvenient for me in relation to my work commitments, yet however, I would do my best to find an answer to her need as soon as I could.

I informed her and her builder that I understood that there was a need to install damp proof membrane and that I did not object to that. I agreed with my neighbour and her builder that they can have access to install the damp proof membrane (Alex, this is not a full damp proof coursing membrane as my neighbour did not want to pay for that level of work), this is a set of membranes that the builder will set along my neighbours external kitchen wall (which is in my garden). I have agreed to this being as I am aware that under the Act I need to allow access to my neighbours builder so that he can put the membrane in place.

My neighbours builder has already begun other ground work around her property and prepared the land from her back yard up to and under my wooden gate, in the anticipation that I will agree to installing a pipe in my land. In fact they have even cut away part of my wooden gate !!!

So my question Alex is this:

Is my neighbour allowed to dig up my patio to install a pipe which will belong to them ? What happens to ownership of that part of my land?

What can I do when my neighbour is telling me I am not allowed to restore my own cobble paving to its original state before her husband had come in and removed them to install stone chippings permission?

What is my situation about complying with the 1996 Act-
I have agreed with the builder installing the Damp proof membrane ( which he said is the standard procedure and usually that is all that is installed). It was my neighbour who asked the builder to add the piping as an extra barrier to remove rain water when it falls onto my patio.

I have to say, I have been here in the rain and no rain water gathers on my patio. I had installed a drainage system on the other side of my patio to follow the natural fall of the patio, to that any surface water would drain off the cobble stones and this has worked very successfully. I stated this to the builder ad he informed me that this means that my neighbours damp kitchen wall problem is very likely rising damp.

I live in a Welsh valley and there is water that comes down form the mountains under most of the houses here. This is usually where the water problems come from. Having said that mind you, I do not have any damp problems in or around my property.

My neighbour informed me that she has had this damp problem since before I bought my property, which is 12 years ago now.

Ok Alex, I hope that is enough information for you at the moment. I shall think further and if there is anything else that I can share with you to help I shall send you another email.

It would be so much easier if there was a way of sending a photo - a picture tells a thousand words.

Many thanks for your time and attention.

Denise

I met with her builder this afternoon and my neighbour and the builder informed me that he intended to put a membrane along my neighbours wall.

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks. I will need a little time to digest this information.
Can you confirm whether the work has actually started?
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Also if you would like to send a few photos you can attach them using the 'chain link' logo in the tool bar.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex,

Ok thanks for the tip about the photos. They are on my iPad, so first I have to figure out how to download from the photo file to my laptop, I have never done that before.......please be patient I shall do my best.

The work in my neighbours property has started. She is having a completely new patio installed with cobble stones. The work on this started on Wednesday last week an the halted due to bad weather, but is expected to begin again tomorrow. The builder removed the paving form my neighbours house and removed paving from under my door, which has left some of my land removed, without my permission. However, I haven't said anything to my neighbour about that as I didn't want to have any more difficulties then I am already experiencing with the draining pipe. The builder has not actually been on my land until this afternoon when he came to see me. So no work has happened along the main kitchen wall, only at the end of the wall and on my side of my gate - he prepared the ground here and created a channel for the pipe under my gate, this does affect part of my land, but as I mentioned the main kitchen wall area has not yet been interfered with.

I am usually a very quiet person, I observe, think and reflect, look at all the possible options and then provide an answer. In the past I used to just say yes to any request, but I have learnt the hard way, that this is not always the best way forward.... life lessons eh !

Hey Alex are you in a different time zone to me ? Are you in the States ? I notice that it is 15:22 EST. It is 8.30 pm here now. If so do you have all the info you need for British law ? Do you need me to send any information ?

Many thanks again,

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Hello Denise
This is a USA based company which may explain the time differences - but rest assured that I am suitably qualified to answer your question. I am a Solicitor based in London and work in the English Courts on a daily basis.
Your neighbour has NO automatic right to enter your property and start excavating without your express permission. If she does so you could sue for damages for trespass and nuisance. You're right to say that notice must be given under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 but it's a toothless law because there are no consequences for failure to comply.
Your options are:
1 You could refuse refuse permission unequivocally. If you do this your neighbour could apply for a court order under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 to enter your property and do the work. A court would set the conditions under which the work must be done. If the court thinks that the work is unreasonable the order could be refused.
2 You could give permission for the work to be done but set out in writing the exact basis on which the work should be done and how the land should be restored. The land does not become your neighbours simply because you've allowed her to do some work.
I will consider the other issues and advise soon but in simple terms these are your options.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex,

I am not going to dispute with my neighbour that she needs to do something to sort the damp problem she has in her kitchen wall. I completely understand the need for this and I have already agreed that the builder can come in to apply the damp membrane to her wall.

So lets take it as a given now that the damp proof membrane will be installed. The concern I have is actually about the drainage pipe. These are the following options that I see available to me:

1. I allow my neighbour to place a ground water drainage cylindrical pipe into my ground a bricks depth away from her wall as she is requesting. The flaw for my property with this option is that the builder stated be stone chippings must be placed over the pipe so that water drains into the pipe during periods of rain. This means that I can not restore my original cobble stone paving as planned.

2. I allow my neighbour to install a surface grated drainage unit, which reduces the width of my patio, but is more pleasing to the eye then the stone chippings. Again this option means I can not restore my cobble paving.

3. The builder completes the damp proof membrane installation, then I restore my paving. The down fall with this option is that my neighbour will take action against me for restoring my cobble paving as she wants a water drainage pipe in place instead.

She informed me that before the previous owner installed the cobble paving, there was a water drainage pipe extending from the roof of my property, removing rainwater from their Kitchen wall roof water drain. This pipe came to ground level and the water flowed into a concrete drain along the side of my neighbours wall, in my garden. The previous owner in agreement with my neighbour removed that down flow pipe from the roof rainwater pipes and re-routed the piping across onto my kitchen rain water pipes. So all the water from my neighbours roof (on their kitchen wall side) flows down the new drain which extends form my roof rain water drainage system, into the water drainage pipes along my kitchen roof and flows out to the ground drains from there.

My neighbour is stating that because there was a water drainage system along her kitchen wall when the previous owner of this property lived here (before installing his cobble paving) that this is grounds for her to have a right to have another drain installed along the ground in my garden.

I informed her, that the purpose of that old concrete drain, ( actually is wasn't an actual drain, but rather concrete that had been dished in the centre to encourage water to flow into the garden) was to remove the rainwater that came from the roof through the down pipe, which of course, not no longer exists and hasn't for a good 20 years. As I stated above all the rain water that used to go down that drain system, was diverted through a new installed drainage system across my property.

Can I ask you, in relation to point 2 above, where you say " The land does not become your neighbours simply because you've allowed her to do some work." Does this also refer to my neighbour placing a water drainage pipe into my land? Are you saying that if she places a drainage pipe in my land that this is still my land ?

If that is the case and there is a problem with the drainage pipe for any reason, is it then my neighbours responsibility to resolve that or would it become my responsibility ?

I know my questions may appear a bit dim !! Sorry about that, I am just aware that in the lay mans world, what appears to "not be a problem", within the legal world can have a completely different meaning. I come from a legal family but they are all based in Ireland so not much help to me here and through conversation over the years, I have developed an awareness of how little as a lay person I know or understand in relation to the details of the law, also how much it is a language of it's own.

My professional field is Psychology, so I am pretty good at identifying the non verbal language and when an individual may react in a less then positive manner.

Alex the builder informed me that the main work that needs to be done is applying the membrane to reduce the damp. He also informed me that the drainage piping was an extra add on (asked for by my neighbour - not originally suggested by the builder at all) which my neighbour felt would provide an extra layer of security, in the hope that is might drain water away. He informed me that without the drain in place, the water will naturally drain of it's own accord, but that this will simply be a slower process and that the damp proof membrane should provide the solution.

Ok think I have covered everything I need to understand now. Thank you Alex for your assistance in this, I very much appreciate it.

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
You have given me a lot of information. Are you able to summarise exactly what you need to know?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

Apologies for that. I just felt to ensure I explained exactly what is happening I needed to paint a picture for you.

I have had a think about things since last night and this is the position I have come to:

1 My neighbour needs to do work to aid reduction of her damp problem. I have agreed for her builder to have access to install the damp proof membrane. I understand this is important and in that regard I want to aid my neighbour.

2 As I mentioned before, my neighbour removed my cobble paving when I was away and replaced it with stone chippings. I want to be allowed to restore my cobble paving to the condition it was in before my neighbour removed it. Am I allowed to do that?

3 I want to write a letter to my neighbour to inform her that I am very happy for her builder to access my patio to install the membrane along her wall, however, I need to be allowed to restore my cobble paving once her builder has completed his work. I shall be informing her that I can not grant her to install a drainage pipe along my patio because I have been informed by her builder that if this is done I am not allowed to restore my cobble paving in that area ? Is that allowed ? Does my neighbour have the right to stop me from restoring my cobble paving ?

I hope that help Alex,

Many thanks,

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Good evening.
1. Understood.
2. Your neighbour has a duty to return your paving to the original condition. If she refuses you can do the work yourself and send him the bill.
3. You are right to send a letter along the terms you've outlined: you have the right to say how work on YOUR land should be done. The neighbour has a duty to restore the paving to the original condition. Otherwise you can restore the paving yourself.
Happy to discuss further.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Alex,

Thank you.

On point 3 I am still a little unclear, sorry about that. I need to ask you again -

I am now clear that I am allowed to have my property restored to its original condition, as it was before my neighbour interfered with the patio.

I am still not clear on whether I have to allow the neighbour to put in a water pipe ? She wants to put in a water drainage pipe AND also have the Damp Proof Membrane.

The Dame proof membrane I have already agreed to.

The Drainage water pipe if installed means I can not restore my patio back to its original condition.

Under the legislation I know I am complying by law by agreeing to allow the Builder do works to install the damp proof membrane.

HOWEVER, Am I in anyway being disrespectful of the law by declining to agree to my neighbours builder to install a water drainage pipe into my patio area.......... and by them doing so, deprive me of being able to restore my cobble paving to its original condition Before my neighbour removed the cobbles to put the stone chippings down ?

If I tell my neighbour that her builder can install the membrane But Can Not install the water drainage pipe....... Am I in breech of the law in anyway ? Do I have the right to refuse the drainage pipe being put into the ground..........and as I stated above, therefore, rendering me unable to restore my cobbles, because the drainage pipe would not work if my cobbles are back in their original position.

Thanks,

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
That I cannot answer sadly. I will opt out so another expert can assist.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Alex,

How do I get the help of another expert ? How do I do that ? I have never used this system before. So a little lost.

I want to say Thank you very much for the help that you have provided, it has been really useful and helped me to gain clarity.

All the very best,

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
No problem.
Nothing else you need to do.
A colleague will come and along assist you shortly.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much.

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
My pleasure.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex,

I am just letting you know that I have not received any contact from your colleague as of yet. Do you happen to know how long it takes before a colleague normally responds ?

Many thanks

Denise

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
I have asked the moderator to have a look at this for you.
Please bear with us.
There is no need to respond.
Alex
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Nicola,

Thank you for contacting me. As my opening question stated I needed assistance quickly as I had to provide a response to my neighbour by Wednesday of this week and Friday the latest.

This has not been possible from the Just ask response service. Alex informed me that another colleague would respond to the question that was not answered, this did not happen.

I did not expect to be still waiting for an answer at this stage.

So in response to your question Nicola, No I am not able to wait any longer, I have had to employ a solicitor myself to find the answer. This service therefore unfortunately has not worked for me.

I signed up and paid £33 which I was informed would be a regular payment each month if within 7 days I am satisfied with the service provided. From my perspective the service has not been able to assist me as needed in this instance, therefore,

I would like to withdraw my standard payment and my connection with Just ask.

Many thanks,

Denise

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