Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

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nikp
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Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by nikp »

Hi

I'm looking for some advice in relation to penetrating damp that is caused by our neighbour's wall.

Our property is an end of terrace and the neighbour's wall adjoins the gable end. (90 degrees to the gable end wall, no gap). We didn't provide permission for the wall to be attached to our property but it has been there for many years.

The neighbour's garden wall is in poor condition causing penetrating damp to bridge our DPC.

I would like the neighbour to create a gap between their garden wall and our gable end to prevent the damp from reaching our property. The neighbour is concerned that the wall will become unstable if a gap is created and has suggested a vertical DPC as an alternative. In either case, the neighbour refuses to pay for the work, claiming it's not their problem.

Can I force my neighbour to pay for the work?
Rushton
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Re: Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by Rushton »

If you have sought a professional opinion on the issue and can evidence the cause and effect of the damp but can't get the neighbour to agree to contribute to a remedy, the next step would be to contact your insurance company. If you have legal expenses insurance and a good case, they may be able to use points of law to encourage your neighbour to see things differently.
Collaborate
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Re: Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by Collaborate »

The insurance company is highly unlikely to cover the cost of legal action. Such action is likely to cost considerably more than the cost of the practical remedy,
Rushton
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Re: Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by Rushton »

Legal action i.e. the Court is the far end of what LEI is for. Closer in, you would be looking at advice on what the law is in this situation, maybe leading to a solicitor's letter and preferably an invitation to mediation. If the OP has a claim for damp, the insurance company will want to mitigate its potential exposure. That said, Which Legal Services could also provide advice for a small fee and Citizens' Advice also.
mr rusty
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Re: Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by mr rusty »

Do you have a cavity wall or a solid wall? I think it is highly unlikely that just the width of a wall across a DPC would on its own create a damp issue. You may have an issue on the inside where the wall is, but that does not necessarily mean the wall is the cause. I expect this is low down near a corner of your house - i.e. the coldest part of the wall. If there is any condensation risk it will appear on the coldest spot. The dew point of ambient room air (20-22 degrees, 55-65% RH) is around 12-13 degrees, so you can see how easily at night some parts of exterior walls can easily get cool enough to attract condensation. Combined with any salt contamination which old houses often have in any rooms where there has been coal fires for long periods of time, it is very common to find "damp" around the lower sections of walls in older houses, that is not "rising damp".

As already said, if you have professional evidence that the wall is the cause, then you maybe have a claim, but "damp" is a challenging thing to prove, and there is a lot of conflicting info out there. Have a read here. https://www.heritage-house.org/
nikp
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Re: Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by nikp »

Many thanks for the advice so far.

@Collaborate I agree that the cost of legal action will likely be more than a practical remedy, but I can't repair the wall without my neighbour's consent.

@mr_rusty my wall is a solid wall, the damp is >1.5m on the ground floor and low down on the first floor. We have sought a professional opinion and their guidance was penetrating damp due to unsuitable render on the neighbour's wall acting like a sponge transferring moisture absorbed along the entire length of the neighbour's wall (damp patches are visible to the naked eye on the neighbour's wall and on the exterior of our wall where the neighbour's wall joins our wall)
mr rusty
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Re: Penetrating damp from neighbour's wall

Post by mr rusty »

There you go then - if you have professional opinion that it is the wall (that's an independent opinion - not a damp proof company trying to sell you something) you may have a case. However, if the wall was put there before you moved in, how do you know that permission wasn't originally granted? Going legal on a subjective issue tends to only benefit the lawyers, so pragmatic cooperation, or even censored it up and dealing with the problem yourself is often the most practical solution.
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