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.
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.
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.