DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Sally Penny » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:12 am

I would appreciate some advice to a problem that has recently developed regarding my garden wall.

I live in a detached property which is divided from my neighbour by a ‘double’ low garden wall. My garden wall is an offshoot from my roadside gatepost, as is his. There is a void between the two which is filled with soil and where I have planted a lavender hedge.

My new neighbour has decided he wishes to widen his drive by a considerable amount, and as a consequence has demolished his wall and excavated the soil from his side. The whole of the soil from my side, which is approximately 1.3m high is now exposed What is left is my garden wall and the soil holding the lavender, however, as yet, there has been no attempt at shoring up my soil, and over time, I am sure this will erode – ie: rain washing it away.

Could anyone please advise what I am legally able to do to, as any work on my part, would involve access to his land, and, is the onus on myself to secure the soil, or is this something that the neighbour should be taking responsibility for.

The neighbour is not yet residing at the property and relations between myself and him are not good – I was given 30 minutes notice that this work was about to commence, and now part way through the job, work appears to have ceased.

I would welcome any advice.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:54 pm

Hi Sally,

a few questions if I may:

1. how long was his wall providing support for the soil?
2. who filled the void?
3. how deep is the void?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Sally Penny » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:52 pm

Thank you - I will try my best.

In terms of time - we have been in the property for 15 years now and it has always been the same, so 15 years plus. Between these two walls runs the water pipe to my property, so maybe it's always been filled with soil, around the pipe I mean. The void graduates from road level up a very steep drive - so I would say 3.1/2 feet high at the beginning, tapering to drive level part way up.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby arsie » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:09 pm

A mature lavender hedge is not cheap.

I would be taking photographs of the damage i.e.the removed support for your property, the hedge. It would be good if you have some photographs of 'before' too - it may be that the photos that accompanied the sale show the lovely hedge from 'his' side and are still on Rightmove?

Work may have paused while the damage caused sinks in - and how to rectify it - but meanwhile I would be writing urgently to the chap requesting that his grounds worker restores the support to your hedge. You hold him, the neighbour, responsible for damages - not to mention possibly endangering the water supply between the walls (of which he has now demolished one.)
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Sally Penny » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:52 pm

Thank you very much for your advice.

I have managed to get some excellent before photo's from Google street view, as they were taken long before the sale of the property.

I will do as you suggest, and hopefully we will be able to get the issue resolved.

Again, many thanks
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby ukmicky » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:25 pm

If the water pipe ran between the two halves the chances are the houses were built like and it was used to insulate and protect the pipe from frost. In these circumstances you would have a right of support over his side of the wall and could gain an injunction forcing him to rebuild his side

If the house were not built like that but you can show its been there 20 years you have a prescriptive right of support and could gain an injunction forcing him to rebuild his side.

No matter what you now have a problem that you need to sort out if the frost can get to the water pipe
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby despair » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:43 am

He cannot leave your land without support and as said his work may now threaten your water supply

Check very carefully all insurances, mortgages, credit cards union memberships for Legal Expenses Cover and get them involved
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:47 am

Hi Sally,

just to throw a curveball - how do you know both walls weren't built on the one property?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Collaborate » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:58 am

What do your deeds say about the wall? I suppose it's possible that the wall is a party wall, particularly as it protects a water supply.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby arborlad » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:40 am

Sally Penny wrote:Thank you - I will try my best.

In terms of time - we have been in the property for 15 years now and it has always been the same, so 15 years plus. Between these two walls runs the water pipe to my property, so maybe it's always been filled with soil, around the pipe I mean. The void graduates from road level up a very steep drive - so I would say 3.1/2 feet high at the beginning, tapering to drive level part way up.



Have either or both lands been lowered in the past to accommodate a less steep drive, this would explain the water main.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Collaborate » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:52 pm

nothingtodowithme wrote:
Collaborate wrote:What do your deeds say about the wall? I suppose it's possible that the wall is a party wall, particularly as it protects a water supply.





The OP lives is a detached property separated from the neighbour by a DIVIDING double low wall; between lays a void of soil.
This is not a party wall.


That depends on the width of the gap between the 2 walls. There is a pipe running between the 2 walls, and the space infilled most likely by the builders (who were unlikely to leave an exposed pipe). To not look at the deeds would be an act of folly.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Sally Penny » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:09 pm

Sorry for the delay -

UKmicky - As you say, the problem that has arisen needs sorting out, no matter what the circumstances are.

and Despair, no it can't be left. I will check insurances etc., to see if I have free advice offered somewhere.

Mac - Sorry, no I dont know for sure.

Collaborate - As Nothingtodowithme says - it is two detached properties - so no, not a party wall.

Arborlad - I can't see that the land has been lowered, as the drives at still steep - there are four detached properties in this section of the Lane, all four seem to have been built on the top of a high 'mound', falling away at the front and the back. I do know that they weren't all built together.

I think the best thing I can do is approach the chap and try and find out what his intentions are regarding the now exposed soil. If his response is something on the lines of 'nothing', then I will ask his permission to shore up the soil from his side. If I draw a blank on both counts, then its plan B which I suppose would have to involve the legal route. I am trying to get this situation resolved without it becoming an expensive saga. Once this problem is sorted, he is then behind my fence, and my hedge, so I shouldn't have to have any further dealings with him. Fingers crossed.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:37 pm

Hi Sally,

it is two detached properties - so no, not a party wall.

you got yourself some false logic there.

a party wall is a wall that straddles a boundary irrespective of what kind of others structures might be nearby.

we're talking about two walls and it's perfectly possible that either one of them is a party wall.

if you don't know whether both walls stand on just one property can I ask do you know for sure that the wall nearest your garden stands on your land? is it obvious on the ground that it does?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby arborlad » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:53 pm

Sally Penny wrote:Arborlad - I can't see that the land has been lowered, as the drives at still steep - there are four detached properties in this section of the Lane, all four seem to have been built on the top of a high 'mound', falling away at the front and the back. I do know that they weren't all built together.



Hmm, something needs to explain the presence and location of your water main, which is now at risk, it should be at a depth of 2'-6"/750mm to protect it from frost, but in these circumstances that should be considered horizontally as well as vertically. Does your neighbours water main run in the same way, what of the other two properties, are they laid out similarly?

It could be that your water main burst at some point in the past and the path of least resistance was chosen to relay the new one.
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Re: DIVIDING GARDEN WALL

Postby Sally Penny » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:31 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Sally,

it is two detached properties - so no, not a party wall.

you got yourself some false logic there.

a party wall is a wall that straddles a boundary irrespective of what kind of others structures might be nearby.

we're talking about two walls and it's perfectly possible that either one of them is a party wall.

if you don't know whether both walls stand on just one property can I ask do you know for sure that the wall nearest your garden stands on your land? is it obvious on the ground that it does?

Kind regards, Mac


Hi Mac,

I could show you very easily on a photo, however, I don't want to post a photo of my property on the internet, and, I am not sure where I would stand posting a photo of the neighbours property. Unfortunately, you will have to take my word for it, that the brick wall that is nearest my drive/garden is definitely on my property.
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