Reponsibility for boundary wall

Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby Hairy Gus » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:11 pm

Hello, bit of a complex one but hoping someone can help! Sorry for the length of post.

We own a semi-detached property and the left hand side boundary has previously always been the responsibility of the local Council - deeds confirm this as T marks on rear and right hand side boundaries only. However the land adjacent to this boundary and apparently the boundary itself was purchased by a local Housing Association to provide parking for the 7 new houses they built on the old garage area to the rear of our garden. The Housing Association agreed to remove the hedging and old wooden fencing and build a concrete gravel board ragstone type wall along the aforementioned boundary as we have 3 children and a dog and we felt a wooden fence would not protect them sufficently from any 'wayward drivers' accessing the houses to the rear - lucky we did as said wall has now recently been badly damaged by a drunk lady driver!

We called the Housing Association to advise them and get it repaired and when they were part way through the repair they said they had realised they shouldn't actually be repairing it at all as it is our responsibility and they had 'gifted' the wall to us! We have never signed anything in relation to this wall and I asked for documents to be put in place for clarity before it was built, which never materialised. I have emails from the Housing Association stating that we would be responsible for the rear boundary as they built a wall on this boundary to match the left hand boundary, which we were quite happy with as this has always been our responsiblity, and that we would also be responsible for the gates in the left hand side boundary (we have a parking area in our rear garden which we access via these gates) and again we were happy with this. There has been no mention that we are responsible for the entirety of this quite extensive left hand side boundary which runs the length of our property and garden (other than the gates). I have a further email from the Housing Association stating that they would assume responsibility for the left hand side boundary from the Council on such and such a date, although this would have been when the hedging etc was still in situ. Furthermore, the land on the other side of the wall (Housing Associations land) is higher than our garden as they overlaid it with tarmac to create the parking area, rather than digging it out as they were going to originally.

We are now just putting our house on the market so really need to clarify:
Who is responsible for the maintenance of the boundary wall?
Could it be considered a retaining wall as their land is higher, if so does this mean it is their responsibility by default?

Any help or advice would be much appreciated as we do not want this to hold up our sale.
Many thanks :D
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby Roblewis » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:45 pm

You need to chase the drivers insurers if the HA refute ownership
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby Collaborate » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:33 pm

Only your deeds can answer that question for you.
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby COGGY » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:25 pm

Hi

I agree with Roblewis on this.
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:27 pm

Hi Hairy Gus

do you want a wall along that edge of your land?

yes - build yourself a wall
no - don't build yourself a wall

it's that simple.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby Hairy Gus » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:35 am

Hi,

MacadamB53 thank you for your reply but I think you have misunderstood. There is already a wall there built by the Housing Association but it has been damaged by a drunk driver and now they are refuting responsibility for the maintenance of said wall. I guess ultimately if I assume the boundary is legally theirs, my question is whose responsibility is it to maintain the wall they erected.
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:50 am

Hairy Gus wrote:Hi,

MacadamB53 thank you for your reply but I think you have misunderstood. There is already a wall there built by the Housing Association but it has been damaged by a drunk driver and now they are refuting responsibility for the maintenance of said wall. I guess ultimately if I assume the boundary is legally theirs, my question is whose responsibility is it to maintain the wall they erected.
Hi Hairy Gus,

I've not misunderstood.

nobody must maintain that wall - the owner can if they want, someone else can if the owner allows.

you want a wall? build yourself a wall - don't go trying to make your neighbour maintain his for your benefit because the law ain't on your side.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby Hairy Gus » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:37 pm

Hi MacadamB53 thank you for your reply.

So to clarify, you're saying that even though the Housing Association built the wall, maintained it by repairing it and claimed for these works from the lady drivers insurance, I can't prove that ownership is theirs? What really worries me is that it is adjacent to the access road and parking bays put in for the Housing Association tenants and local residents, so if anything were to happen to the wall which caused injury to the public, I might be liable? I don't necessarily want them to maintain it 'for my benefit' but for the safety of other users.

Also as their access road/parking area is higher than the level of our garden, can it be considered a retaining wall and therefore be their responsibility?

Thanks so much for your help, it's really appreciated.
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:40 pm

Hi Hairy Gus,

ownership of the wall is not in doubt - it belonged to the neighbour and now it's yours unless...

your neighbour built a wall and has since stated they've gifted it to you - it would be difficult to argue those two points don't suggest the neighbour considered himself the owner of the wall prior to the "gifting".

the next point to consider is whether "gifting" alone can transfer ownership - or is acceptance required?

accept is required but, because people generally accept gifts, the law presumes acceptance.

therefore, if you do not want to own the wall you need to reject the gift - in writing to avoid doubt - in order to rebut the legal presumption.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:01 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Hairy Gus,

ownership of the wall is not in doubt - it belonged to the neighbour and now it's yours unless...

your neighbour built a wall and has since stated they've gifted it to you - it would be difficult to argue those two points don't suggest the neighbour considered himself the owner of the wall prior to the "gifting".

the next point to consider is whether "gifting" alone can transfer ownership - or is acceptance required?

accept is required but, because people generally accept gifts, the law presumes acceptance.

therefore, if you do not want to own the wall you need to reject the gift - in writing to avoid doubt - in order to rebut the legal presumption.

Kind regards, Mac
to be clear, they have gifted the strip of land on which the wall stands, not just the wall
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:36 pm

Hi,

The drunken driver is responsible for the damage to the wall ... unless she was uninsured, in which case I don't know what happens if it's a damage only accident, not an injury.

The owner of the wall should claim against her. But who is the owner? You could claim, as your need is more urgent that the HA's. The insurers will find out who owns the wall, and tell you if it is not yours?

There is nothing to compel the HA to repair their wall, or claim against the driver (maybe they have claimed ... and trousered the money. :twisted: ) UNLESS there is some agreement/covenant/ planning requirement that there will be a wall.

If it turns out that it is your wall, tell the HA that you are going to demolish it ... just to see what they say.

You could claim against your house insurance ... they will soon tell you if it's your wall, or not.

If it is your wall, gift it back to the HA, by the same means that they gifted it to you. No doubt they will tell you why you can't, so you can ask them how they could when you can't.

I think my next move would be to contact my insurers, let them do the work. They should be on your side.

John W
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby arborlad » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:08 am

Hairy Gus wrote: However the land adjacent to this boundary and apparently the boundary itself was purchased by a local Housing Association




The devil is in the detail here, the boundary itself can't be purchased but if there is sufficient evidence that the hedge and fence were attached to that land it will be conveyed with it on purchase.
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby Eliza » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:38 pm

Hairy Gus wrote:
Also as their access road/parking area is higher than the level of our garden, can it be considered a retaining wall and therefore be their responsibility?

.


Isn't that point a bit of a red herring? That being not relevant to who owns this wall.

As I understand it - a retaining wall belongs to the person that owns the land it's on. That would mean that if it's their land and their wall then it's their responsibility. If it's your land and your wall then it's your responsibility. This regardless of whether one parcel of land is higher than another and the wall concerned is functioning as a retaining wall.
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby pilman » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:33 pm

I seem to have to respond to posting made by mac where he makes it seem as though all the comments made are in fact correct interpretation of current laws.

The wall sits on a parcel of land, which is real property and can only be "gifted" by way of a written deed.

That is normally a deed that requires the Transferor company to execute the deed and the Transferee to sign and have the signature witnessed.

Imagine the scenario when any problem occurs regarding retaining walls and the true legal owner immediately sends off a TP1 form to Land Registry claiming that this is a gift of the land on which the wall is located.

Land Registry would then register the land in the new owner's name and send off the register of title and title plan to this "new owner" On receipt of those documents that would be the first time the "new owner" became aware that he was now supposedly the owner of the land on which the damaged wall stood.

Does anyone other than Mac think that will not be challenged in law.
accept is required but, because people generally accept gifts, the law presumes acceptance.
This appears more a matter of fraud than a matter of land transfer if any owner just needed to sign a TP1 form and make an application to Land Registry to have the transfer registered.

In this posting it appears that the Housing Association have just sent an e-mail that gifted the land on which the wall was erected. That e-mail would have no legal merit whatsoever.
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Re: Reponsibility for boundary wall

Postby arborlad » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:39 pm

Eliza wrote:
Hairy Gus wrote:
Also as their access road/parking area is higher than the level of our garden, can it be considered a retaining wall and therefore be their responsibility?

.


Isn't that point a bit of a red herring? That being not relevant to who owns this wall.

As I understand it - a (retaining) wall belongs to the person that owns the land it's on. That would mean that if it's their land and their wall then it's their responsibility. If it's your land and your wall then it's your responsibility. This regardless of whether one parcel of land is higher than another and the wall concerned is functioning as a retaining wall.




This is what really matters: - Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit , "whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil"..............
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