Retaining wall falling

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Sunshine10
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2024 10:53 pm

Retaining wall falling

Post by Sunshine10 »

Hoping someone can offer some advice please. The retaining wall at the bottom of our small garden belongs to our neighbour and is unstable. Our neighbour is refusing to rebuild it, he wants to build a wall in front of it on our land and foundations approx 2 ft wide again on our land as it’s easier for him. The foundations would not be deep enough for us to plant on top. The wall is old, has no drainage and over a metre high. Does anyone have any thought on this please?
Rushton
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Re: Retaining wall falling

Post by Rushton »

I can foresee a situation where the neighbours persuade you to build a wall and foundation on your land, whereupon they remodel the other side and voila, extra garden for them!

In terms of advice, mediation is the best way and being sure of actual boundary and retaining wall maintenance responsibilities is crucial. If it starts to get sticky, you could try your insurers' legal cover dept for general advice or Which? Legal for a small monthly fee. Also start gathering current and historical evidence, dates and content of conversations etc.
wtc
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Re: Retaining wall falling

Post by wtc »

On the plus side, you are talking (or at least communicating in some way) and he is willing to put money/effort into building something, so that is a good start.

Are you aligned on ownership of the wall and that the outer face marks the boundary? I presume that his ownership is consistent with his land having been raised from the natural lie of the land. If so, the retaining wall should be on his side of the boundary.

It is acceptable for boundary feature foundations to cross into your side of the boundary, whether a retaining wall or just a standalone fence, to facilitate it standing. For those foundations to be so wide and shallow such that nothing can be planted is not acceptable.

It might be a figure of speech, but when you say he is doing it, does that mean he himself, or him getting someone in? The way I read it, taking a shortcut over the approach, I would have a concern over whether he is sufficiently skilled to design and build such a structural feature. How much actual ground height difference is being retained?

If he does put in drainage, will you have somewhere for the water to go?

Certainly the legal cover helpline on home insurance, assuming you have it, is something you can call upon if needed and there is nothing stopping you using it now.

I think it is too early to think about mediation. If you are already talking, then you could achieve the same outcome yourselves. While the legal position could be be that he is fully responsible for it and on his own land, mediation is ultimately aiming to find a compromise solution that both parties can agree upon. Mediation can be a good thing, but that's for further down the line if you cannot agree now.
CherryBlack
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Re: Retaining wall falling

Post by CherryBlack »

Hi Sunshine.

Just to confirm - your land is ~1 metre lower that this neighb's, so this wall is preventing their land from slipping on to yours? And, the boundary line is in front of this wall? Ie, the 'wall' is on their land? And your, and their, deeds makes this all clear, and whose responsibility this retaining wall is?

If yes x 3, then you can relax. Tho' ideally not directly in front of that wall - boom boom... :-(

Your neighbour is 'refusing' to rebuild this wall? Ooookkaaayy, that means he is - in legal terms - a complete coc*. So, from this moment onwards, you treat them with some caution; you clearly cannot assume that they are 'reasonable', or 'thoughtful', or 'considerate', or 'fair'. So keep that firmly in mind.

What to do? Make sure it is put in a recorded manner - email, WhatsApp, text, letter, mind-meld, or witnessed conversation - that you state in a calm but matter-of-fact manner, summat like, "Your retaining wall is looking unstable, and if it collapses it could cause a lot of mess and damage to my garden, possibly even cause harm. What are your plans to sort this?" And that is that. Ie, the neighb has been 'put on notice' of the possible outcome, and therefore cannot claim they didn't know. Any subsequent claim you may need to make should be a done-deal.

You should NOT accept any encroachment on to your land. Why? Because it then becomes partly your responsibility to the ends of time, and when you sell. It becomes 'messy'. The boundary becomes 'grey'. Just don't do it.

They bought their house, presumably knowing they had this responsibility? If they, or their conveyancer, missed this, they are twits (a legal term), and carry full responsibility.

I urge you - do NOT allow any compromise on this, or it'll come back and bite ye in t'arse. Two reasons, as I've explained above. the most significant is that your neighb has already demonstrated they are an entitled 'ole.

It's about time they bludy grew up and took responsibility. 'Refuse' to rebuild, ma botty. Dearie me.

In any subsequent conversation, practice looking confused/perturbed/bemused, with a , "But, this is YOUR wall, isn't it?!" That's a question - this IS your wall, ISN'T IT?! Look astonished whenever they suggest that you should have any party or contribution or involvement in this. Look at them as tho' they are bonkers. 'Cos they are.

Do you have Legal Protection included in your insurance policy? If so, then double-relax. If not, give yourself a damned good kicking.
Sunshine10
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2024 10:53 pm

Re: Retaining wall falling

Post by Sunshine10 »

Yes you have described him well! He actually brought his own engineer, a friend I think, and was quite adamant that I should accept the compromise! He didn’t want to rebuild it as it would be expensive :roll: when I didn’t accept it he stomped off so no resolution yet.
Sunshine10
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Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2024 10:53 pm

Re: Retaining wall falling

Post by Sunshine10 »

Thank you for all your suggestions, you have confirmed what I thought. I will write to the neighbour as suggested and speak to our house insurance company.
MacadamB53
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Re: Retaining wall falling

Post by MacadamB53 »

Sunshine10 wrote: Wed Apr 17, 2024 11:04 pm Hoping someone can offer some advice please. The retaining wall at the bottom of our small garden belongs to our neighbour and is unstable. Our neighbour is refusing to rebuild it, he wants to build a wall in front of it on our land and foundations approx 2 ft wide again on our land as it’s easier for him. The foundations would not be deep enough for us to plant on top. The wall is old, has no drainage and over a metre high. Does anyone have any thought on this please?
what are you basing this on please?
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