Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby pmichael » Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:59 am

Hello,

I've recently discovered an issue with my ground floor maisonette and I'm hoping to get my facts straight before I approach my neighbours.

Here goes:

I live in a victorian ground floor maisonette with a steeply sloping back garden. My garden has a small paved area at below floor level all the way along the back of the house before retaining walls hold back the rest of the garden above.

However my neighbours - who live on the 1st floor of the lefthand nextdoor building - have their garden all at one raised level. My lefthand kitchen wall forms part of the the righthand wall and boundary of their garden. Part of their raised garden adjoins my kitchen wall around three feet higher than the level of the floor boards. They have a set of exterior stairs which start from the 1st floor, continue over the side return of the flat below and then meet their raised garden. Their raised garden does not extend as far as the walls of the flat below them. But it does meet the lefthand wall of my kitchen.

As you can imagine this has caused a damp problem.

Since all the properties involved are maisonettes they have owners and leaseholders.

I would like to know:

Does my neighbour have to remove the part of their raised garden that is causing me problems?
It could have been their for decades - it certainly isn't new. Does this affect my rights?
If it is my neighbours responsibility, who will ultimately have to deal with it: the owner of the maisonette or the freeholder?

Thank you in advance for your help.
pmichael
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Ads are not endorsed by www.gardenlaw.co.uk or the staff thereof and visitors should perform their own due diligence on the product or service offered.
 

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby Collaborate » Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:53 pm

It's hard to say without knowing whether their land was raised or whether your side was lowered.

I suspect that the wall of your property is not shared in ownership with next door, so if they have raised their side then technically their soil touching your wall is trespass. It would certainly be a nuisance.

However if the builders of your property lowered the ground level on your side then there's little you can do about it that makes it the neighbour's responsibility.

Are you saying that the titles to all the properties are leasehold? you talk about owners and leaseholders, which is confusing. Flats and maisonettes are usually held under long leases, but flying freeholds can sometimes be found. Assuming yours is leasehold, contact the managing association as you may need to make a claim under the buildings insurance policy. The insurance company would then have the headache of sorting out legal responsibility.
Collaborate
 
Posts: 1123
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:17 am

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby pmichael » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:55 pm

Thanks for such a quick reply.

All the properties in the terrace were built at the same time and are Victorian. The garden further to the left of our neighbours mirrors ours - i.e terraced with a retaining wall around 4 feet from the end of the property. This is the same with every garden I can see (quite a few). I am certain the garden has been raised. Or rather the area of the garden nearest to the properties has been raised to meet the height of the back of the gardens. All of the properties at built at the same level.

Re. Leaseholder/Freeholders sorry, I mixed up my terminology. The maisonettes are all leasehold with the leases held by individuals. The freeholds to the entire street are held by the same company. Making my freehold and the neighbours freehold held by the same company.

Thanks again.
pmichael
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby Collaborate » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:08 pm

Is there a group buildings insurance policy? Check the terms of your lease. That may give you a clue about how you claim under the insurance for this.

It would be worthwhile you speaking to your neighbour to explain the problem, but take some photographs first to show how the damp arose.
Collaborate
 
Posts: 1123
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:17 am

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby pmichael » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:26 pm

There is no group insurance policy. However, my lease obliges me to insure with a particular insurer and I assume the leases of my neighbours are the same. This would mean we all have individual policies but are insured by the same insurer - I imagine so that there would be no conflict if a problem affected two properties jointly.

The neighbouring property is rented out but I have the landlords details. I'm trying to get all the facts straight in my head before I contact them. You have been very helpful so far!

Do you suggest that it is the building's insurers that would need to pay for the works? If so, would this result in a claim against my policy, and therefore higher premiums in the future?

Thanks again
pmichael
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby Roblewis » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:25 pm

Tanking of some description is likely to be the only solution with properties of this age - I suspect that most topography information is lost and fault will be almost impossible to establish.
Roblewis
 
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:41 pm

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby pmichael » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:42 am

Hi Roblewis,

Thanks for your input.

I am certain that the garden was raised after the houses were built. It just looks completely out of place - the walls the garden is raised up on are built in a different brick too. I do know that it has been there for many years however. Assuming I can prove the garden was raised after the properties were built, does the fact that it has been there for a long time (at least 30 years) mean that my neighbour does not have rectify it?

Another question: Is there some way of enforcing the work is carried out? If for example the costs were shared, or I footed the entire bill - can I make my neighbour alter their garden because of the damage it is causing to my property?

I am very wary about tanking. Moisture has spread from the wall affected to adjoining walls and I don't see it as a long term solution. Our flat is very warm and well ventilated otherwise - just this room to sort!

Thanks again.
pmichael
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:52 am

Hi pmichael,

does the fact that it has been there for a long time (at least 30 years) mean that my neighbour does not have rectify it?

how long has there been a problem, rather than how long has next door had a raised garden?

Kind regards, Mac
MacadamB53
 
Posts: 6032
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:13 am

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby pmichael » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:33 pm

Hi Mac,

Thanks for your question.

I can't be sure but I'm assuming there has been a problem ever since they raised the garden!

We moved in 15 months ago and have been gradually renovating. The damp is in area that was previously behind a run of kitchen units. I've known about the damp since ripping out the old kitchen a couple of months ago, but I have only known about the garden being raised for a week. I can't actually see the neighbours garden without being in their property which is why I was completely unaware until now.

I know that there has been a damp problem for sometime as I can now see (since ripping out the old kitchen) that the area affected has been re plastered. The kitchen I ripped out was pretty old, 30 years perhaps, so it was re plastered before then. Also, all the floorboards have been replaced in this room but nowhere else. I suspect this has something to do with the damp.
pmichael
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby arborlad » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:09 pm

Is there any damp proof course visible in that room?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
arborlad
 
Posts: 7385
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:30 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby pmichael » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:00 pm

Hi Arborlad,

I'm not sure how I could tell if there was a damp proof course. There is a 30cm high band of concrete that runs around the entire property at ground level. I assume the DPC would be hidden behind this.

Any rate, the level of the neighbouring garden would well and truly extend above the DPC since it reaches around 1.2m above my floorboard level! There is very obvious lateral penetration of moisture from the garden through my wall.

I appreciate all your responses so far. Can anyone offer any answers to my original question(s)? Can I make my neighbour remove this part of their garden? Does the fact that the garden, and the damp, have been in exsistence for some time (30 years up) affect my rights? And if I can ask my neighbour to lower their garden, who should I approach: the neighbour (leaseholder) or the freeholder?

Thanks again for everyone's help.
pmichael
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: Neighbour's raised garden built against my home

Postby Collaborate » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:19 pm

Have a look at the bottom letter and response here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/prop ... walls.html

This says that it is a trespass. I don't know, but presume, that as it's been 30 years they now have an easement to do that, but it doesn't stop it being a nuisance. If it is a nuisance, the court can award you damages and order your neighbour to abate the nuisance.

Time to take some formal legal advice.
Collaborate
 
Posts: 1123
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:17 am

Ads are not endorsed by www.gardenlaw.co.uk or the staff thereof and visitors should perform their own due diligence on the product or service offered.
 

Return to Boundaries

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests