Retaining Wall and possible damage question

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StarWarsFan
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Retaining Wall and possible damage question

Post by StarWarsFan » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:14 pm

Hello All

So my grans house is an old old terrace house, which to one side of her garden has a 7 foot high wall which is a single skin wall with one layer of blocks and has been there for as long as I can remember, in good condition. The bottom 3 - 4 feet are reinforced by another set of blocks plastered over. Boundary wise the deeds state she owns said wall.

Behind it was an unclaimed strip of land that previously was about 4-5 feet approximetly behind the wall and ended roughly 7 feet at the other side. It also is worth mentioning it didn't really retain anything, but rather was just there to hide the embankment as all the houses along had a similar single block wall, but the ones to the left are brick instead of block.

The houses behind were built later then her house and the person in the house adjoining the land up above put a claim in many years ago we believe on the unused land. He's recently started excavating behind the wall with a digger and has erected a 6 foot fence directly above the wall.

Given the fence posts are touching that wall I would guess he's built up the soul behind the retaining wall to even 7 feet height and looks to be making a pathway directly behind the fence.

While she owns the wall I haven't seen any planning for his alterations and to my knowledge never approached us to talk about it. Talking to him also isn't a viable option as he won't engage with me when approached and has gone to great lengths to block our view of what's occurring.

My question is where we'd (gran specifically) would stand if the extra pressure of the fence, earth, pathway and currently excavator caused the wall to collapse?? Would we be liable as the wall couldn't support the earth or is it fair to assume he's responsible because when built it wasn't intended for his alterations and they had led to its collapse?

Also if anyone could suggest how to "protect" ourselves against this I'd really appreciate it?

ukmicky
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Re: Retaining Wall and possible damage question

Post by ukmicky » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:13 pm

The land retained by the wall will have a right of support in the form of an easement and therefore rights to maintain the wall.

You are not liable for retaining the land behind the wall. You are also under no obligation to repair or maintain the wall as that would be a positive obligation which the law of easements forbids .


If the wall collapses you can leave it as it is and force the owner of the land behind it to repair it or find another solution to prevent his land from collapsing further onto yours


If his works cause the collapse and you could prove it you could if you wanted sue for damages and force him to repair it as its your property he has damaged.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

IdefixUK
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Re: Retaining Wall and possible damage question

Post by IdefixUK » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:23 am

The web site 'boundary-problems.co.uk' has some information under the walls section which you might find helpful. It would seem that you need to find out who owns the wall.
Regards

despair
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Re: Retaining Wall and possible damage question

Post by despair » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:41 pm

Your gran needs to hot foot it to planning dept because he cannot raise the land level without planning permision
He cannot install a fence higher than 2 metres from the ORIGINAL ground level

He also cannot use your grans garden wall as support for his land level ...he needs to receive a very strongly worded warning that the wall is merely a garden wall is in no way a retaining wall and that he becomes 100% responsible now for all and every occurance , damage etc that occurs

Go and get hold of arial photos from local history society or local library to prove the embankment and original soil level before you tackle planning and involve your local councillor too

Collaborate
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Re: Retaining Wall and possible damage question

Post by Collaborate » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:26 am

My reading of this is that the wall never was a retaining wall, and it's only recently with the neighbour's (possibly) unauthorised earthworks that it is being used as one.

Check the house insurance for legal cover and then make a claim - you need solicitors behind you. It is trespass, and the neighbour can be forced to remove the land from against the wall, and remove the fence touching it.

despair
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Re: Retaining Wall and possible damage question

Post by despair » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:41 am

Ditto

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