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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12110
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My neighbours in the flat above me historically had an

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Hello. My neighbours in the flat above me historically had an unarmoured/protected electric cable running from their flat along the wall and across a path in my garden to their shed. It had been there before I moved in 7 years ago. Recently a workman advised me it is a hazard due to being unarmoured and inches above my head on the path so I asked the neighbours to get someone to look at it and gave access to my garden for this purpose. Yesterday they had an electrician come and replace this cable with armoured cable but it has been re-sited and now runs directed across my private garden. They did no seek consent before from me to make this alternation and the new cable is a huge eyesore. I have been onto an electrician forum to seek advise and been told that the job does not look good (posted pics) and cables should be at least 3.5M off the ground (which it isnt at one end). Additionally am I correct in thinking that any outside electrical work has to be notified under building regulations etc?

Hello for clarification - so this cable is over ground - what is it attached to?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hello. It run from the wall in the flat above across my garden to their shed in the garden behind mine.

Do you know whether they actually had consent for this or whether they just put it in place?

Do you know how long it has been in situ for?

Bearing in mind that you asked for this to be replaced which is what they have done, what do you now want them to do?

I see you have asked for a telephone call, I will give you a call when I have the extra information. Thank you

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
They advise me they were going to get someone to change the cable and re-site it. (which I stupidly took to mean away from my property). However it now doesnt run flush around the wall but directly across my garden and air space. The work was done a couple of days ago while I was at work. I have asked them to move it and offered that they can still run it down my walls and under the path so out of view.

I have found a lot of commentary that the height should be 3.5 m unless it’s in a steel to in which case it’s 3 m. I have also found commentary from an electrical inspector that 2.5 m is acceptable, although I cannot actually find the building regulation or section of the Electrical Regulations 17th edition which refers to it.

If they have consent for the cable to be in place but it isn’t done by deed and registered at the land registry, then the cable exists by way of licence and the licence can be revoked on reasonable notice which would probably be three months in this case. They don’t have a formal easement unless it’s registered at the land registry against the title deeds.

They can acquire an easement by prescription under the Prescription Act if the cable has been in place WITHOUT CONSENT and without objection and not in secret, for over 20 years.

You can see therefore that it is extremely important as to whether there was consent or not and how long the cable has been in place.

Even assuming that they do have the right for the cable to be in place, they have the right for it to be in place where it was (that would include the replacement cable) and not in any other place and if they will not move it back to where it was, you are entitled to apply to court for an injunction to compel them to move it or remove it depending on the circumstances of it being in place.

Check your house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover that would pay for the cost of this.

If you would like me to ring, I’m happy to ring now when you’ve had time to digests this.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. No one can say for sure how long the previous cable had been there as none of us lived here beyond 7 years. I agreed for them to replace the cable but didn't consent to them re-siting it where it is now. I see nothing in the deeds about any formal easement being in place historically but can check on that too. thank you for your help :)

I am glad to help