Boundary wall legal issues

Boundary wall legal issues

Postby PaulJR1 » Wed May 24, 2017 4:19 pm

Hi all,

I'm just looking for a bit of guidance really on our current situation so I'll try to be as brief as possible.

My house backs onto a commercial premises and between us is a 4ft brick wall. This wall is shared with only 1 adjoining neighbour. The wall, commercial premises and my house all originate from roughly the 1940s. Behind and right next to the wall (less than 30cm away) on the commercial premises side were three very large trees that were taller than all the buildings in immediate vicinity. One of these trees has now been removed from behind my neighbour's section of the wall following the correspondence I'll go into further down. The issue is that the wall itself, I believe, is being lifted and tilted by the roots of the aforementioned trees to the point now where the deformation is clearly visible from 10 metres away.

Our house deeds basically say that we have the responsibility to maintain the wall whereas the commercial premises' deeds have no mention of the wall. Nowhere is ownership of the wall mentioned and there's no records of who's property the wall was built with. However, speaking with solicitors has confirmed that the wording in our deeds means we effectively own the wall.

To resolve the situation, I contacted the commercial premises requesting that they both fix the damage to the wall caused by their trees, and deal with their trees that are causing the issue. This was back in Autumn 2016 and there's been communications to and forth since then. Its worth mentioning that the commercial premises has mentioned numerous surveys being carried out on the wall since then and we've only just received a copy of one which was undertaken this month even through we've constantly asked for them. To date the only remedial works that have been undertaken are the removal of the tree behind my neighbours wall and an odd job man has been called round to reset some top layer bricks that had fallen off.

So finally leading me to my question.....

The survey that's been sent to us says the trees aren't the cause but expanding lime mortar on only one side of the wall is?! Could this be true? speaking to a few builders would suggest its nonsense. Following on from that point, they've said as there's no clear owner of the wall we should both pay half to have the wall repaired (no costs and timescales have been offered as part of the suggestion). Its quite clear that you can't repair the wall without taking out the trees next to it as you'll need to remove a substantial amount of roots to get the foundations right again but this point has not been mentioned in their proposed resolution so I believe their suggestion involves repairing only the top 'really wonky' section of the wall.

I'm hoping other on the forum might have had similar experiences and might be able to assist with what we should do next? I may contact a solicitor plus I'm thinking of getting my own survey carried out too to counteract theirs. Thoughts?

Any help will be gladly received.

Cheers

Paul
PaulJR1
 
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Re: Boundary wall legal issues

Postby mr sheen » Wed May 24, 2017 5:20 pm

Without seeing the wall, no one here can legitimately contradict a surveyors report.
You could get your own surveyors report. However a surveyor usually has to deliver a professional opinion so it's quite likely that the surveyor has been professional.
Now that they are in receipt of a surveyors report indicating that the trees are not responsible for he damage, the commercial property owner need do nothing since that is in line with their surveyors report. In order to get them to take any action, the onus is on you to prove your assertions that the trees are causing the damage. This will now be pretty difficult since they have an independent expert report that says the trees are not responsible.
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Re: Boundary wall legal issues

Postby PaulJR1 » Wed May 24, 2017 6:07 pm

I honestly agree that surveyor's reports should be impartial but considering the report cites a condition that doesn't appear on a simple google search, a number of builder have never seen it plus there's no explanation as to why there's been this supposed expansion on one side only, you can begin to understand my suspicions. I've also had to challenge surveyor's reports in the past so I don't think I'll ever accept them as fact. Their report does mention the trees but only says the foundations a likely to be quite short so that the reason the trees can affect it.
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Re: Boundary wall legal issues

Postby mr sheen » Wed May 24, 2017 7:31 pm

A surveyors Report is never 'fact' but is always opinion, therefore getting another report will give you 2 opinions. Paying for your own means that you can instruct in relation to the information you want his opinion on. If the new report supports your assertions then you can send it to the relevant owners.
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