Victorian wall collapse

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Selopig
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2024 5:15 am

Victorian wall collapse

Post by Selopig »

At our house, there is a Victorian wall which is about 15ft high. At Christmas 2/3rds wall fell into our garden on a windy night it’s a retaining wall with our land lower than the adjoining property.

Our side of the wall was cleared of ivy and maintained well. Their side not maintained and in fact there was so much over growth and roots it’s undermined the wall.

Surveyors report states the condition of the wall was mostly to blame and the extensive vegetation growing on their side.
The other contributing factors being the stormy weather and the walls construction using 2 different styles of brick laying.

The collapse has affected 3 houses on this side.
The recommendation is for the wall to be carefully taken down and the replaced with 1/2 wall and fence or rebuilt.

The people who live the other side are now saying as it doesn’t belong to anyone on anyone’s deeds that we should all pay a bit and get it made safe. After that then will discuss replacing it and us all paying.

The remaining wall is leaning & building control and surveyor have declared it dangerous and cordoned it off with tape!

We don’t know what to do.
If we go to court it will potentially cost thousands.
MacadamB53
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Re: Victorian wall collapse

Post by MacadamB53 »

Selopig wrote: Fri Apr 26, 2024 7:40 am At our house, there is a Victorian wall which is about 15ft high. At Christmas 2/3rds wall fell into our garden on a windy night it’s a retaining wall with our land lower than the adjoining property.

Our side of the wall was cleared of ivy and maintained well. Their side not maintained and in fact there was so much over growth and roots it’s undermined the wall.

Surveyors report states the condition of the wall was mostly to blame and the extensive vegetation growing on their side.
The other contributing factors being the stormy weather and the walls construction using 2 different styles of brick laying.

The collapse has affected 3 houses on this side.
The recommendation is for the wall to be carefully taken down and the replaced with 1/2 wall and fence or rebuilt.

The people who live the other side are now saying as it doesn’t belong to anyone on anyone’s deeds that we should all pay a bit and get it made safe. After that then will discuss replacing it and us all paying.

The remaining wall is leaning & building control and surveyor have declared it dangerous and cordoned it off with tape!

We don’t know what to do.
If we go to court it will potentially cost thousands.
why would that be on the cards?!?!

you neighbour’s appreciation of ownership/responsibility is sound and their suggestion to share costs is reasonable and commendable
Selopig
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2024 5:15 am

Re: Victorian wall collapse

Post by Selopig »

Great advice.
Only, it was their neglect of their side of the wall that caused the collapse, as per the surveyors report.

Hence not being sure what to do.
MacadamB53
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Re: Victorian wall collapse

Post by MacadamB53 »

Selopig wrote: Fri Apr 26, 2024 12:26 pm Great advice.
Only, it was their neglect of their side of the wall that caused the collapse, as per the surveyors report.

Hence not being sure what to do.
contributed to, not caused - so MIGHT be found PARTIALLY liable for any damage only were a judge to determine that its contribution was foreseeable

the report identified 1. the condition of the wall 2. poor construction and 3. an act of god as (possibly greater) contributing factors

in summary, an old, poorly constructed wall - that has been neglected (to a lesser or greater extent by all neighbouring properties over its lifetime) and weakened by dryness/rain/freeze/thaw for the last +125 years - succumbed.

kind regards, Mac
Selopig
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2024 5:15 am

Re: Victorian wall collapse

Post by Selopig »

I see

It’s our first experience of this.

Unfortunately we had asked repeatedly for the other party to look to remove the jungle of ivy growing on their side (2 meters thick) on several occasions.

In fact the people next door got their wall cleared only when they brought in legal advice.
But they didn’t clear the whole wall.
Just their bit.

Our only experience of this sort of thing is when you have a situation of someone reversing into your wall & being responsible for the repairs to it.
wtc
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Re: Victorian wall collapse

Post by wtc »

Mac's advice seems reasonable here. With the reversing scenario, there is the one clear owner and one external party responsible for the damage, so all quite clear cut. For the retaining wall, ownership is described as unclear. It is not automatically the one higher up. Damage may be partly down to (lack of) action by one of those owners but there are various reasons applying together here.

If neighbours can sit down and calmly talk to other then this helps hugely.

This does mean it comes down to negotiation. If I understand the layout as described, there are three plots on one side of the wall and the single overgrown plot on the other. One potentially equitable outcome would be for each to contribute to the wall cost based on how much length borders their property and that any party pays for their own clearance of vegetation in the way and/or reinstating their plot as required. That would put half the wall cost on the overgrown property, but they will receive benefit from one side of the whole repaired section. The other three homes together benefit from the other side of the wall. The overgrown plot sorts out their ivy; you would sort any squashed plants or new lawn needed in your garden.

If you can even stay clear of solicitors letters, never mind court, there is a financial saving that can be put to the wall instead. Though if negotiations do break down, do you have legal cover on your home insurance?
MacadamB53
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Re: Victorian wall collapse

Post by MacadamB53 »

wtc wrote: Fri Apr 26, 2024 2:58 pm Mac's advice seems reasonable here. With the reversing scenario, there is the one clear owner and one external party responsible for the damage, so all quite clear cut. For the retaining wall, ownership is described as unclear. It is not automatically the one higher up. Damage may be partly down to (lack of) action by one of those owners but there are various reasons applying together here.

If neighbours can sit down and calmly talk to other then this helps hugely.

This does mean it comes down to negotiation. If I understand the layout as described, there are three plots on one side of the wall and the single overgrown plot on the other. One potentially equitable outcome would be for each to contribute to the wall cost based on how much length borders their property and that any party pays for their own clearance of vegetation in the way and/or reinstating their plot as required. That would put half the wall cost on the overgrown property, but they will receive benefit from one side of the whole repaired section. The other three homes together benefit from the other side of the wall. The overgrown plot sorts out their ivy; you would sort any squashed plants or new lawn needed in your garden.

If you can even stay clear of solicitors letters, never mind court, there is a financial saving that can be put to the wall instead. Though if negotiations do break down, do you have legal cover on your home insurance?
+1 that is how I’d approach it too
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