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ReadyLaw, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
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This was the original email sent to the council. Thank you

Customer Question

Good day, this was the original email sent to the council.Thank you for contacting me , this wall has been a concern for a long time, I had contacted the Council and Clive Efford about 5 years ago stating my concerns that the wall above my property at 153 Moordown Se18 3NA would collapse but everyone fobbed me off stating it wasn't their problem. Our next door neighbour also logged a complaint , they found a record of his complaint which was also 5 years ago. The wall was built as a facade over the metal pylons used to retain the above properties which must have been built at the time of the Rayleas Close development. The wall was built without Ties and weep holes which meant that years of rain build up must have applied pressure to the wall with what could have been tragic consequences. We are also trying to resolve our insurance claim but cannot provide them with pictures as we cannot get access to our destroyed property.So on Tuesday the 11th August while my son was at the back of the garden, we heard a crash , the wall and concrete had crashed into our shed and common lane.
After chasing Greenwich for half the day as we believed the rest of the wall wasn't safe, ***** *****ham arrived and surveyed the damage , at that time he stated that they would have to make the wall safe and they would remove the rubble. A group of people from Greenwich arrived that day surveying the wall and informed us that they were getting in specialist to make the wall safe and to remove the rubble. They did an initial survey and blocked the lane and gardens with metal gates which are still present, we do not have access to our properties from 153-159. This wall also runs to the left of the property which is also showing signs of stress.The specialist came in 2 days later after further inspections, pulled a further portion of the wall and left the extra rubble in the lane, they disappeared and we hadn't heard anything from Greenwich since. I contacted ***** *****ham regarding the state of the lane and his response was to quote building regulations which apparently states that Greenwich do not have a duty of care to clear our rubble or rebuild the wall as they don't own it, they however cannot at this point tell us who does own the wall and how that impacts all of us as it runs along at least 10 properties below and above the wall.I believe that Greenwich is ultimately responsible as they had given planning permission for the wall and also signed off the completed work which was built against building regs , as it had no ties or weeping holes. Greenwich needs to resolve this issue , then chase the principle contractor to reimburse them as I am uncertain how this has become my mess to clean up.I look forward to hearing from you and hope this issue can resolved without involving lawyers.This has been the latest council response , they keep on referring to the wall as a boundary wall but it is literally holding up the back garden and garage of the houses above us and the wall was specifically built for the development when it was built.Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying. I have received a response from the council legal team and they confirm that they have again looked at the title registers for 149, 151, 153, 155 and 157 Moordown. They advise that it is clear from all those title registers that all those properties have the benefit of the right of way at the back of 153 to 173 Moordown. Those properties also have the burden to pay a proportion of the expense of maintaining and repairing that passageway. It would appear that this obligation to maintain and repair the alley does not run with the land, so neighbouring owners [that were not party to the original covenant] whose land is not affected by the wall collapse are not liable for repair costs for the damaged length of wall behind the affected properties. I queried why properties in Rayleas Close [that rely on the retaining wall for support of their land] are not also liable for repair and maintenance of the wall. Borough solicitors have again checked the title deeds for properties in Rayleas Close and have informed me that they cannot find anything new relating to the alleyway.I will ask our legal team to draft a letter to the owners of 149, 151, 153, 155 and 157 Moordown in the hope that this matter can be moved forward. In the meantime, please let me know if you would like me to visit and discuss this matter with you on-site.
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 12 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a 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!
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Continue the search
Expert:  ReadyLaw replied 10 days ago.

Hi, welcome to JA, I am Readylaw one of legal experts here. My goal is to provide you with the best experience possible and answer any questions which you may have about your current situation. I may not respond immediately, this is because I may need a few minutes to read what you shared above, type and respond to you. Feel free to ask any follow up questions as needed until you are satisfied.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  ReadyLaw replied 10 days ago.

What exactly do you wish to ask in relation to the letter?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
The council is claiming that the retaining wall belongs to the properties named in the letter because our communal lane runs up the wall but we are contesting it as the wall is a retainibg wall which is holding up the above properties and was built for that development..
Expert:  ReadyLaw replied 8 days ago.

Thanks for the clarification and my apologies for the delayed response. For some reason I did not realize that you had responded.

Who is legally responsible is usually stated in the property’s deeds. This should reflect who has any easement rights over the property and whose responsibility it is to effect repairs. You haven’t said whether you have in fact had a look at the deeds personally. You may obtain a copy here:

Having examined the deeds, both you and your neighbours will be able to determine whether the claims by the council is baseless.

Expert:  ReadyLaw replied 8 days ago.

Can I clarify anything for you? I hope I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
That's not a problem, thank you for your response. There doesn't seem to be easement rights over the wall, both the neighbours and our deeds do not mention the wall at all, the council claimed for a long time that they didn't know who owned the wall, it's only when it collapsed did the council determine we would be responsible. So if there is no mention of said wall, would the property which the wall retains not be liable for the repairs?Regards, Lesley
Expert:  ReadyLaw replied 6 days ago.

This is a very difficult one. With the absence of this information on the deed, it would be very difficult to say who the owners are and who would be responsible for maintaining. That is, whether it would be the council, the owners or the developers.

The council cannot say unequivocally that they are not responsible and that you the owners are. i suspect this may only be settled via legal action with  court deciding who is responsible.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you