Cost of repair of retaining wall

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YorkshireLandMan
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Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by YorkshireLandMan »

Good day and thank you for taking the time to read

We live on a slight hill and the neighbour to our left (when looking at the front of the house) is uphill of us. They have a drive between their house and a passage that runs down the side of my house giving me access to the rear. Between their drive and the passage is a wall and as they are in an elevated position their drive is some 2m above our passage and is retained by a brick built wall on our side.

Their drive shows movement where the car tyres are, like indentations (it's block paved) and the wall is now leaning over towards us. This has happened over years of usage and this couple only bought the house 2/3 years ago. The wall is also showing signs of water "leaking", not a lot, but indicates either water pipe damage on the neighbours side or lack of drainage. This was the same during the period of no rain (although we are in Yorkshire and that is rare !!)

My deeds state the following:
"It was thereby agreed and declared that all walls and fences which might then or thereafter separate the land thereby conveyed and any dwellinghouse and buildings which were then or thereafter erected thereon from any adjoining land or dwellings and buildings forming part of the Vendors estate at xxxxx aforesaid should be deemed to be mesne or party walls and fences maintainable and repairable accordingly and that all chimney stacks eaves spouts fallpipes traps gutters gullies drains sewers manholes roads ways footpaths services easements quasi-easements and privileges which were then or thereafter used and enjoyed jointly for the benefit of the land thereby conveyed and any dwellinghouse and buildings which were then or thereafter erected thereon and any other land forming part of the Vendors estate at xxxx aforesaid and any dwellinghouse or dwellinghouses and buildings which were then or thereafter erected thereon should be maintained and repaired at the joint expense appointed according to user of the owner or owners for the time being of the respective properties using and enjoying the same and all rights necessary for such use and enjoyment were thereby respectively granted and reserved."

My question to my learned friends is am I jointly responsible for the cost of repair?
especially in-light of the fact that it has been caused by their vehicles (or the previous owners) and potentially lack of drainage and possible pipe damage in the ground under their drive.

The cost of a correct repair will be of the order of £10k as their drive will need to be excavated back from the wall and a reinforced structure is built to retain their drive correctly.

I do look forward to hearing back from you and your advice on whether I should pursue a costly legal manoeuvre by initiating a response from a Property Lawyer.
Collaborate
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Collaborate »

Firstly, you will need to look at the document that contained the quoted declaration. Was it the first sale of your house after it was built?

What is the vendor's estate at xxxxx? Is it the housing estate? Are the vendors the building company? Or was it the sale of a large building plot to the developers?

Assuming it is the former, then you will be responsible for contributing to the cost of rebuilding the wall. In the event of a dispute the mechanisms of the Party Wall Act come in to play. Will common sense on both sides you would jointly pay for a PWA surveyor to determine these issues for you.

The likelihood is that because you were built on a slope part of next door was built up and part of your land was dug out to create that 2m height difference. Therefore both properties will have a responsibility for maintaining the wall.

That should not stretch, I would imagine, to contributing to the cost of repair of their driveway, but the PWA surveyor should know better than me.
YorkshireLandMan
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by YorkshireLandMan »

Collaborate wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:15 pm Firstly, you will need to look at the document that contained the quoted declaration. Was it the first sale of your house after it was built?

What is the vendor's estate at xxxxx? Is it the housing estate? Are the vendors the building company? Or was it the sale of a large building plot to the developers?

Assuming it is the former, then you will be responsible for contributing to the cost of rebuilding the wall. In the event of a dispute the mechanisms of the Party Wall Act come in to play. Will common sense on both sides you would jointly pay for a PWA surveyor to determine these issues for you.

The likelihood is that because you were built on a slope part of next door was built up and part of your land was dug out to create that 2m height difference. Therefore both properties will have a responsibility for maintaining the wall.

That should not stretch, I would imagine, to contributing to the cost of repair of their driveway, but the PWA surveyor should know better than me.
Thank you so much for your response.

The site was a originally, prior to 1974 farmland and was bought by a property developer, I bought the property in 1994. Mine's a detached whereas my neighbours in a chalet style semi-detached.

"A Conveyance of the land in this title and other land dated 28 November 1972 made between (1) Bacal Construction (Northern) Limited (Vendor) and (2) Kass Homes Limited contains the following provision:-" and also:

"A Conveyance of the land in this title dated 2 March 1974 made between (1) Kass Homes Limited (2) Abbey National Building Society and (3) Douglas Richard Denison and Katrina Elizabeth Margaret Mary Denison contains restrictive covenants."

Not sure if this information changes anything. I was hoping that as it was a retaining wall, keeping their drive viable and that the "damage" is being caused by their usage of their drive ! :D But, very happy to follow the legal position, whatever that is.

I think it is the best approach to get a PWA Surveyor to give an independent unbiased response.

Kindest regards
Collaborate
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Collaborate »

The deeds will only help you determine ownership of the wall if the deeds are from the time the house was built and first sold.
YorkshireLandMan
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by YorkshireLandMan »

Collaborate wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:12 pm The deeds will only help you determine ownership of the wall if the deeds are from the time the house was built and first sold.
ok, I see.... I guess the PWA Surveyor would look into all the details anyway?

Is responsibility regardless of ownership?

If the neighbour was parking a monster truck (extreme example) on the drive, would I still be liable to share the cost of damage caused? (on the face of it, this sounds highly unreasonable, doesn't it)?
Collaborate
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Collaborate »

YorkshireLandMan wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:23 pm
Collaborate wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:12 pm The deeds will only help you determine ownership of the wall if the deeds are from the time the house was built and first sold.
ok, I see.... I guess the PWA Surveyor would look into all the details anyway?

Is responsibility regardless of ownership?

If the neighbour was parking a monster truck (extreme example) on the drive, would I still be liable to share the cost of damage caused? (on the face of it, this sounds highly unreasonable, doesn't it)?
I'm not sure that the PW surveyor will think it within their remit but you could ask them.

I must stress that a deed created when the developer bought a large field from a farmer does not indicate ownership of internal boundaries of properties on the housing development.

If the deeds are silent chances are it's a party wall because as I said in my first post your land will have been lowered and theirs raised.

It is unnecessary to consider extreme cases. There is no evidence they have placed their driveway under unusual stresses and these walls don't last forever without regular maintenance.
YorkshireLandMan
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by YorkshireLandMan »

I was under the impression that if the deeds were silent, then the responsibility was deemed to rest with the "retained land" owner.

Maybe the extreme case as an example was too far-fetched, but as I stated in the original post, "the evidence" is that there are undulations in their drive from the tyres and the block paving has moved. This movement is inline with the movement of the wall; along with the point about there being a potential leak under their driveway or at best poor drainage.

The length of the wall is some 20m in total.

Thank you for your time and advice, the discussion is very useful as it helps me to articulate the situation and learn from your expertise.
Paddock
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Paddock »

To answer the original question of...

'I do look forward to hearing back from you and your advice on whether I should pursue a costly legal manoeuvre by initiating a response from a Property Lawyer.'

imho It seems to me that a share of £10k to fix 20m of retaining wall isnt worth adding extra legal costs to. Solicitors bills only come in chunks of £1000 a time in my experience.

Have you actually had a proper quote for the work?

Paddock
ukmicky
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by ukmicky »

If it’s a party wall, a party wall surveyor will look at cause of failure and who gain most benefit when determining who pays what for the repair of wall and surveyor costs.

So if it’s a retaining wall and it’s not holding up your land your neighbour is gaining most of the benefit so will pay most of the cost of repair


The higher land also legally has to prevent his land collapsing onto the lower land so needs to ensure the wall is in good repair more than the lower land
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
Collaborate
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Collaborate »

The above statement is only correct if the original level of the land was as it is on your side. If the natural levels have been adjusted on both sides to an equal degree it cannot be said that it is the responsibility of the higher land. There is no rule that the higher land is always responsible.
arborlad
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by arborlad »

YorkshireLandMan wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 2:50 pm Good day and thank you for taking the time to read

We live on a slight hill and the neighbour to our left (when looking at the front of the house) is uphill of us. They have a drive between their house and a passage that runs down the side of my house giving me access to the rear. Between their drive and the passage is a wall and as they are in an elevated position their drive is some 2m above our passage and is retained by a brick built wall on our side.




How did the height difference come about, it could be, as intimated, 50-50, but with 2m on a slight slope, seems unlikely?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
YorkshireLandMan
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by YorkshireLandMan »

ukmicky wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 12:29 am If it’s a party wall, a party wall surveyor will look at cause of failure and who gain most benefit when determining who pays what for the repair of wall and surveyor costs.

So if it’s a retaining wall and it’s not holding up your land your neighbour is gaining most of the benefit so will pay most of the cost of repair


The higher land also legally has to prevent his land collapsing onto the lower land so needs to ensure the wall is in good repair more than the lower land
This seems a fair and logical position, the cause of the movement must hold a higher degree of responsibility.
arborlad wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 8:15 am
How did the height difference come about, it could be, as intimated, 50-50, but with 2m on a slight slope, seems unlikely?
The land is on a natural slope (unfortunately I don't know the exact gradient but using Google Earth I can roughly calculate it is between ~5 to 7%). The bottom of our neighbours first floor kitchen window is almost level with our second floor level.
Collaborate wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 5:54 am The above statement is only correct if the original level of the land was as it is on your side. If the natural levels have been adjusted on both sides to an equal degree it cannot be said that it is the responsibility of the higher land. There is no rule that the higher land is always responsible.
Ah, in my naivety, and lay reading I thought this was a a general rule that applied. However, I do think that there was a natural lay of the land that was inevitably manipulated somewhat to erect homes, but having said that it is a natural slope. Also note that their drive is not at street level over it's length, it rises over the first 5m (if you think of a ramp) to the front of their house and then levels out for the remaining 15m to their garage.
Collaborate
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Collaborate »

It would not be unreasonable to assume that the road is more likely to be the original level of the slope, and take it from there.
YorkshireLandMan
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by YorkshireLandMan »

Collaborate wrote: Wed Sep 01, 2021 9:22 am It would not be unreasonable to assume that the road is more likely to be the original level of the slope, and take it from there.
Thank you, is 5-7% slope give enough information about the lay of the land?
Collaborate
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Re: Cost of repair of retaining wall

Post by Collaborate »

Far less than you would get by standing in front of both properties and taking a look for yourself.
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