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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 12904
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Basically I have an issue with my neighbour and I need legal

Customer Question

Hi
JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: Basically I have an issue with my neighbour and I need legal advice please
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Is that something you can assist with
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: England
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: It's a garden issue
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  james bruce replied 9 days ago.

Hello, I hope you are well. My name is***** am a solicitor advocate and I will be assisting you with your question today. I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing and I will do my best to help you with this matter.

Can I please ask you to give me some more detailed information regarding this matter so as to allow me to work with you and help resolve your enquiry.

Please explain the problem so I can see how to advice.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hello James.
Basically my neighbour decided to renovate his garden at the back end of last year. He took everything out of the garden, added sand and had decking and a humongous summer house erected. Approximately 6 metres wide, 3 metres high and 4 meters deep. The fact that we have to see this monstrosity everutime we look out the back windows isn't bad enough that we have started experiencing flooding since January which pools in line with the neighbours summerhouse. I approached the neighbour nicely when it first happened and asked if he had flooding also. He didn't. He brought the person who did his groundwork and decking (foundations for the summerhouse) and said he would come back the following day as ut was getting dark and wanted to see properly in the day light but said that they would put a drain in their side for "his own piece of mind". 2 weeks passed and the neighbour returned with the friend. ( flood still present). They said that they would need to fit a drain in my garden. They would have to dig a 3 foot trench, remove my children's wooden challenge Wendy house and cats grave to have a French drain fitted. We have recently had a lot of snow so I waited for that to disappear and went to speak to him today. I have been informed by several tradesmen that the drain should be in his garden as his ground water is clearly coming into our garden and causing a flood. He got very nasty today and basically said just because his garden is now higher, it's not his fault. He said I've just had my garden done so I am not digging it up, yet your garden can be dug up yet I am being difficult by not having it done. I want to know where i stand legally before I contact the council regarding planning and building regulations. We have been in the house 13 years and never had any issues with flooding previously. I have taken pictures and videos also. Many thanks in advance.
Expert:  james bruce replied 9 days ago.

sorry I will not be able to assist with this, I will opt out for another to assist.

Expert:  AlinaK-admin replied 8 days 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!
Alina-Moderator
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
please. I paid and joined last night to try and get some advice so yes I would like someone to look at the matter.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 8 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 8 days ago.

Where you stand legally is that you have a right to not have to deal with the flood from your neighbour's property. The tort of nuisance is a common law term which means your enjoyment of your property is being affected by your neighbour due to their inaction.

You should speak to the council to see if they can intervene here - if they can then fine, no legal action is required. Legal action is a last resort and the courts expect parties to explore other avenues if at all possible.

If nothing can be agreed then you will need to apply to the local county court for a civil injunction.

However, before you do this, send the neighbour a cease and desist letter to warn them of your intentions unless they confirm they will stop the flooring, at their expense (and give them 7 days to stop their conduct). A template “cease and desist” letter is available at https://www.lawdepot.co.uk/

If you go to the search box in the top right corner of the site, it will bring up a list - you want the "general" letter.

You can use your own letter if you wish - it just has to make it clear this is a cease and desist letter, that you demand they stop their conduct, and that if they do not within 7 days you will apply to the court for the injunction and seek your costs.

That letter may well be enough to stop the conduct - as an injunction is a serious legal remedy.

Assuming they continue, you will need to complete the application for the injunction and send to your county court with a fee of £308 payable to HMCTS (unless you have a low income/low savings and/or you are in receipt of benefits in which case you can get a fee exemption so you do not have to pay).

For a fee exemption you need to check your eligibility here:

http://www.gov.uk/get-help-with-court-fees. If you do not qualify for the fee exemption, you can pay either by cheque or attend the court and pay at the counter. You will need to prepare a witness statement to accompany the form.

You will need to detail the history of the issues with the neighbour to paint a picture for the Judge as they will not know what this neighbour is like and what they have done to you unless you describe it. Your photos and the videos can be shown to the judge to support your application for the injunction.

If the injunction application is successful you can ask the court for a costs order to be paid by the neighbour.

The court will list a hearing where you attend and ask the District Judge for an order and the injunction. The application would be made under the tort of nuisance as I mentioned above.

If granted, the Order is then served on the individual concerned and they are bound by the court order - if they breach the order, they are in contempt of court and could well face a fine and a prison term.

The cease and desist letter may work so you may not need to apply but if you then I recommend you go to the court in person with the forms to ensure they are correct - they are fairly complex so it would save time by you doing this - the court staff should check them before they issue the papers.

If you do need to take that step and apply for the injunction, please come back here as I have the forms required. If you prefer a law firm to do the letter (and apply for the injunction if the letter has no effect) then try any of these firms they should be able to claim their costs from the neighbour so would be worth asking them to help you with this:

  1. https://www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/services/department/dispute-resolution/injunctions

  2. https://www.gannons.co.uk/commercial-litigation/injunctions/

  3. https://www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/commercial-dispute-resolution/applying-injunction
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 8 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 8 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Dear *****, thankyou so much for your response. I approached the neighbour yesterday as I have sought advice from 2 builders who deal with drains and trenches etc and they have said that the drain needs to go in their side not ours as the water is coming from their side. I approached the neighbour yesterday and he basically said my garden is higher than yours so the water is now naturally flowing into ours and flooding. He said that is not his fault. He said same would apply if the ground water was flowing into his garden if our garden was higher. He said he refuses to put a drain in his garden as he's just had it renovated and a drain can easily be dug in our garden and that im being difficult. He wants to bring his groundsman to fork the garden to see if that will help the water drain. My only worry is that when we have a large downfall, it will flood again and u have two small children who are in turn not allowed in the garden. Do you have any information with regards ***** ***** ground water/surface water and whether I should have ro accept it or not that his garden is now higher and I have to remedy it. I have been informed that gardens can not be lifted without planning permission as to prevent these problems. Also I believe the summerhouse in question has not had planning permission or building regulations involved. Many thanks,
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 8 days ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** his garden may be higher but flood water needs to be diverted and not on to your property - he should appreciate this. The summerhouse may have to come down if he has no planning permission or a sign off with building regulations - so my view is the council should be contacted when they open tomorrow.
Many thanks,
Jim

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thankyou so much for your advice Jim. I've been worried all weekend about it. I will contact the council council tomorrow and see what they have to say. Manh thanks again
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 8 days ago.

My pleasure, I am sure they will sort this for you. Have a good evening.
Jim