Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:53 pm

I live in a mid-terrace where my neighbour's house is stepped down from mine. Their garden is approximately half a metre or so lower than mine.
Between us is a fence and on their side is what I personally would describe as a 'retaining' wall at the base of the fence. In the last two days they have removed this wall to ready the garden for an extension. I need to know rather urgently where I now stand with the removal of this wall.

I have attached a composite image to better explain my query. Image

Image 1
This shows a view from a short way down my garden looking back at the houses, the fence can be seen at the bottom left.
The stepped bricks at the top of the image indicate the edge of my house, which I have traced down with a red line to indicate the boundary 'join' between us. My house is on the left of the fence, my neighbour's is on the right.
I have circled the same mark in both this image and Image 2 so you see the line continuing down.

Image 2
This is continuing the boundary join line down on my neighbours side and you can see the top of the 'retaining' wall (with the hosepipe hanging over the edge) which stuck out from the fence about a foot or so at it's widest part. The wall is almost entirely on my neighbours side of the 'join'.

Image 3
This shows the over the fence today, the wall has all but gone and a concrete foundation has been laid basically up to the fence line. You will note from Image 1 that the fence is very much on my side, although the original plans do have a T mark towards the neighbour.

Image 4
This shows in closer detail how the wall has pretty much gone completely with the exception of the fence post concrete/blocks. I don't know how close to the fence my neighbour is planning to place the wall of the extension.

Image 5
This shows a view along the fence with a red line indicating the ground level of my garden the other side. You can probably see why I believe this should be classed as a 'retaining' wall.

I should say that as the gardens go away from the houses the the height difference drops and the wall did also narrow in width as it went down the garden. You can see the part of the wall that hasn't been removed in Image 5 just under the bush on the left.

Any advice on what to do in this situation would be greatly appreciated.

For background info this is related to my previous thread http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=20351&start=15.
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby arborlad » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:18 pm

echo wrote:
For background info this is related to my previous thread http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=20351&start=15.



Which is best continued there.
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby despair » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:27 pm

If their extention removes your ROW then they are acting illegally

If the wall was supporting your land and is part of your deeds they have no right to remove but they also have no right to leave your land without support

Have they applied the Party Wall Act ?
Do you have a PWA surveyor acting for you at their expense
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:33 pm

arborlad wrote:Which is best continued there.


As that was in a different section and about a different issue, and this is specifically about a wall, I thought it best to make a new thread here.

If anybody wants to make a reply in that thread instead, that's fine with me, I'll be sure to check both threads.
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:39 pm

despair wrote:If their extention removes your ROW then they are acting illegally


The right of way is not affected with this wall issue - that's the other side of the garden, but in any case my right of way will not be affected.

despair wrote:If the wall was supporting your land and is part of your deeds they have no right to remove but they also have no right to leave your land without support

There is nothing on the deeds and the wall, bar a couple of cm at the most, is on their side. It's the issue of land support that I am concerned with.

despair wrote:Have they applied the Party Wall Act ?
Do you have a PWA surveyor acting for you at their expense


No, nothing. They got prior approval (on a GPD) from the council to build and that's it. I was not informed when work would be starting, I have had no contact with them or any surveyor.

Would this kind of wall definitely fall under the Party wall Act?
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby despair » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:15 pm

I think you will find the Party Wall Act applies others will know better but you need to inform the neighbours you want PWA followed and that they are liable to pay for your independant PWA
surveyor just because they have planning or building regs permission is not enough

Irrespective they cannot leave your soil without support

Do you not have legal expenses cover on your mortgage,insurances,credit cards union, membership check and double check
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:56 pm

despair wrote:I think you will find the Party Wall Act applies others will know better but you need to inform the neighbours you want PWA followed and that they are liable to pay for your independant PWA
surveyor just because they have planning or building regs permission is not enough

Irrespective they cannot leave your soil without support

Do you not have legal expenses cover on your mortgage,insurances,credit cards union, membership check and double check


Would the PWA apply regardless of the final outcome? As I imagine they aren't intending to leave it like that, and whether the extension wall will essentially 'replace' it (although I don't know how close they can get with the fence post concrete still sticking out) or maybe they will build/fill it back up once the extension starts to go in. Does any of that matter, or is the PWA just concerned with the fact that it has been removed/altered without my agreement/notification?

I guess I should also ask whether or not the concrete base to the fence could be any excuse for them? As in that would act as a sufficient 'support' for my garden? Doesn't seem likely to me though.

Hopefully someone here can confirm with enough confidence that the PWA does apply, then I can go and at least give my neighbours something to think about.
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby arborlad » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:00 am

echo wrote:The stepped bricks at the top of the image indicate the edge of my house, which I have traced down with a red line to indicate the boundary 'join' between us. My house is on the left of the fence, my neighbour's is on the right.



Unless there is something to indicate otherwise, that parapet is a continuation of the the internal party wall and the centre of it will be the boundary.






I have circled the same mark in both this image and Image 2 so you see the line continuing down.




Who placed the mark there and what information was used to obtain its position?
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:14 am

arborlad wrote:Unless there is something to indicate otherwise, that parapet is a continuation of the the internal party wall and the centre of it will be the boundary.


Here is a full height image of the two houses, the right hand side of the stepped bricks do mark the 'edge' of my house and it's roof.
Does this indicate otherwise? or could the internal party wall still essentially be 'under' my roof?


Image

arborlad wrote:Who placed the mark there and what information was used to obtain its position?


It's just a small hole filled up with a bit of mortar, it wasn't put there deliberately as a mark.
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:34 am

I'll add this diagram just to make it easier to visualise the environment. The wall that has been removed is show in red.

Image
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:11 pm

Just to add one more question...

Does the fact that the fence has a concrete base mean that the retaining wall can be removed in light light of this, and that therefore the PWA would not then apply?
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby despair » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:06 pm

You really must read up on PWA

It applies because they are excavating within 3 metres of your house walls

the removal of support for your land is a separate but linked legal issue which if a PWA surveyor is involved for the extention may be sorted as well

You must remember employing PWA surveyors for both the neighbour and for you is costly and under no circumstance do you accept a joint PWA surveyor

Your neighbours will do all they can to evade the issue and play dumb

You have to educate yourself to the PWA rules and if they apply then you have to raise the issue and if nessecary use your Legal Cover to institute an injunction
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby echo » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:15 pm

despair wrote:You really must read up on PWA

It applies because they are excavating within 3 metres of your house walls

the removal of support for your land is a separate but linked legal issue which if a PWA surveyor is involved for the extention may be sorted as well

You must remember employing PWA surveyors for both the neighbour and for you is costly and under no circumstance do you accept a joint PWA surveyor

Your neighbours will do all they can to evade the issue and play dumb

You have to educate yourself to the PWA rules and if they apply then you have to raise the issue and if nessecary use your Legal Cover to institute an injunction


Thank you.

I have been reading up on the PWA, but I always doubt my understanding of these things and it's always best to hear the correct interpretation from those in the know.

They are currently doing work as I type this (4.10pm Sat) which involves pick axe work and a motorized digger. So I have decided to type out a letter, point by point and go and give it to them, I will also try to find someone to read and witness me doing this so they cannot say I never made them aware.
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby COGGY » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:33 pm

It is a good idea to ask someone to witness you giving them the letter. You could also post a copy on Monday, so that they have to sign for it, you can then print off a copy of their signature as further proof of receipt. It used to be called Recorded Delivery but the name may have changed, not sure. Don't tell anyone you intend to post, or the neighbours may hear and refuse delivery. :roll: Coggy
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Re: Urgent advice on Party/Retaining wall needed

Postby despair » Sat Aug 06, 2016 5:47 pm

Contact your Legal Insurers today too

this will need a swift injunction I bet

your neighbours will have quite a shock when they realise what PWA surveyors are going to cost them

DO NOT COMPROMISE
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