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Gail Peacock


Latest posts by Gail Peacock

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Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 18/09/2013 at 17:08

Hi Welshonion, I agree, lime looks beautiful on a wall doesn't it.  I wish we had you as neighbours instead of who we have:-;  He was in the garden recently cutting back some roses that were overhanging our wall.  I didn't mind them being there, so I never asked him to prune them, looks like he's gearing up for litigation.  I wish he'd just discuss it with us instead, save us all a lot of trouble!

Hi Birdy,
 I know what you mean, it does seem very one sided!  I think we will get an opinion from another surveyor, none of this seems fair at all. And as you say, the law doesn't seem to bear much resemblence to reality!  I'm thinking the Party Wall Act certainly doesn't, I hope the bloomin wall collapses into the neighbour's garden.  The solicitor I was speaking to advised me to look into keeping the wall dry on our side instead.  I looked into it, and apparently we could get it tanked (like they do for cellars), but unfortunately we're in a conservation area and so we'd need planning permission to do it.  (Because it's damp proofing.)  The surveyor who looked at the wall and who knows the local conservation committee said that they'll very likely tell us no, that we'd have to deal with the neighbour and get it sorted with him.  So back to litigation.

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 18/09/2013 at 08:38

 

Hi Birdy,

We thought it was a roof problem at first, since it is damp where the bottom of the roof meets the wall.  We had a few roofers around to look, and they couldn't find anything wrong with the roof, which is one relief I guess:-;  The floor isn't damp, but it's hard to tell because it's concrete overlaid with modern tiles that damp wouldn't be able to get through.  You're right though, we could have a leak, perhaps we'll investigate.  We probably do have pipes underneath, but I'm not sure.  Don't worry about scaring me, to be honest it would be a relief if it was the floor, at least that's something we could get fixed without our neighbour's permission!

I spoke to a party wall surveyor about our rights over the wall.  Sadly because it's a party wall, he's entitled to do what he likes on his side, even though for example painting it with non breathable paint like masonry paint would damage the lime render we've had put on, and stop the wall from breathing again, making our damp problem worse.  Apparently we could pursue him through the courts for damage to our kitchen, but apparently it would be costly and we might not win.  Nuts isn't it?  We've asked our neighbour not to paint it, that we would lime wash it if he wanted, and explained to him why.  I guess we just have to keep our fingers crossed.  To be honest we're seriously thinking of just selling the house and getting a nice modern one with a damp proof already built in:-;

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 17/09/2013 at 20:13

 

Hi Birdy,

The patio is built behind the back wall of his house.  Some of it is the same level as the rest of his garden, and the bit directly behind his back wall is lower than the rest of the garden (and some of the patio).  After reading your comments, it does strike me that the lowest part of his patio, where it meets his back wall, is only just below the bottom of his back door. It's definitely not as much as 6 inches below. So you're probably right, it might be bridging any damp course he has as well, because there's no room for it between the patio and the back door.  I think the main patio level has been raised up a bit.  The patio levels drop towards a drain just behind his back wall, which is on the other side of the garden from our wall.  So I guess that directs the water away from our wall, which is something:-; 

Thank you, reading your post has given me a bit of hope that we can resolve the issue.  We're going to take the damaged plaster off the wall inside, and use a dehimidifier for a while before we re-plaster.  We're hoping that taking the old concrete render off the wall and replacing with lime render will go some way to solving the problem, now that the water can escape from the wall.  We're just keeping our fingers crossed that he doesn't decide to paint it with masonry paint and trap the water again:-;  If that doesn't work, we'll go to a solicitor and put some of the points you've raised, and see what can be done.  Thank you again, I really appreciate your time. 

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 17/09/2013 at 16:41

 

Thank you Waterbutts, I'm sure as well that we have the right to enter his garden for maintenance.  I think your idea of a solicitors letter is a good one, as you say he has an obligation to make sure he doesn't damage our property. 

And thank you Birdy for your points, I've been wondering something similar.  Because our kitchen extension was built around 1920 (before today's tight regulations probably!), we can't rule out the possibility that the kitchen floor was cut down a little into the ground.  And there's no way really of finding out.  But his patio isn't higher than the back of his house (it's a little lower in fact), which suggests that the patio may have been built up from the original ground level.  The edging of the patio definitely has, as it's higher than the ground level even of his garden.  The next time he's out, I'm going to stick my head out of our kitchen window to see if there's any damp course visible (he did mention putting one in).  Thanks that's a good point, I didn't think to look at that before.  And it's interesting what you say about your patio and splash back.  I'd defnitely feel easier if he would pull his patio away from our house a little!  Thanks for your points, they're very helpful.

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 17/09/2013 at 09:15

I'm thinking too that we'll have a problem selling, as any surveyor doing their job properly will see it.  If he tries to put sheds in his garden I think he would need planning permission (we're in a conservation area), and so hopefully we'd be able to block him doing that.  His garden (and ours) are pretty small anyway, so hopefully he'll never want to:-;  I'll admit I regret the day we bought this house, a nice modern one with an inbuilt damp proof course would have been much better!  Access is the one thing we did check though, apparently we have a right to go in to his garden if it's just for repairs to our house.  And we wouldn't be interested in making any alterations, so we'd only ever want access for maintenance.  I know what you mean about litigation, the thought of ending up with an endless law suit scares the life out of me!

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 20:15

I know what you mean, Welshonion:-;  I think part of the garden at least has been built up, as some of it is higher than the rest of the garden.  And thanks all for the tanking idea.  We have a damp proof specialist (another one!) coming on Thursday, so I'll ask him if he can do it.  As you say KT, if it can keep damp out of a cellar it should be able to sort out one wall.  It would certainly be less hassle than litigation. 

Thanks everyone again for your advice, I'm grateful that you've all taken the time to write with ideas. 

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 18:37

 

Many thanks everyone for your help, I appreciate it.  The surveyor reckons the kitchen extension was built in the early 20th century, so we don't have any paperwork for it.  On our solicitor's advice we paid for indemnity insurance against any alterations without guarantees, in case anything went wrong with the work.  Looks like we might be needing it:-;  I phoned our buildings insurer, and we don't have legal cover.  I think we'll get another structural surveyor around to see what can be done, it's a bit beyond me:-;  Thanks again everyone for all your help and advice.

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 15:51

 

Hi Obelixx,

Many thanks for your suggestions.  It's interesting that you had a higher damp proof course put in, maybe we could do that.  We don't mind redecorating as long as the new damp proofing keeps the wall dry.  We have another damp specialist coming to look at the wall on Thursday, I'll ask him if he can solve the problem that way.

Thanks again.

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 15:40

 

Hi Fidgetbones, and many thanks for your advice.

Yes we had a full structural survey done, at a cost of £624:-;  We're wondering too if the surveyor may be liable for some of the costs.  He said in the survey that without access to our neighbour's garden he couldn't see the outside of the wall.  He's right, but he could definitely see the height of the patio through our kitchen window. 

As far as we know, our kitchen wall is on the boundary, because the garden wall continues in exactly the same line on from it.  I'm hoping that gives us access for repairs.:-;  Sounds like you had a similar problem, and managed to sort it without a long legal battle.  I think I'll pay a solicitor for an hour's worth of advice, I'm sure we have a case too.  I'm just hoping our neighbour isn't daft enough to enter into a long drawn out legal battle, I'm worried that his bullish atttitude might outweigh his common sense!

Thanks again for your help and your time, I appreciate it.

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 15:09

Can anyone help please?  We recently moved into an old property with solid walls.  We have a kitchen extension (built by a previous owner), and the left hand wall is very damp.  Every time it rains, plaster falls off the wall and the ceiling just above it. A mason who did some work for us identified 2 problems.  The first was that the wall was rendered in concrete, which had cracked and was letting water in.  Since the water couldn't escape again, it was trapped, and when he took the plaster off he discovered considerable frost damage to the bricks.  To remedy it, he suggested removing the old plaster and re-rendering in lime to let the water escape.  To do this we needed our neighbour's permission.  After much complaining and threatening to sue us if we damaged his plants, he agreed to let us do it if our guys finished it within the week that he and his wife were away on holiday.  The guys managed it, even plastering in the rain to get it done!  But they identified a second problem that we don't know how to fix.  Our neighbour's garden has been built up to a level a few inches higher than our kitchen floor.  This includes a patio edging and a flower bed, which are right against the wall.  Our guys said that this is bridging our internal damp proof course, and preventing a specialist from injecting an extenernal damp course. They said that unless our neighbour lowered his patio and bed by a few inches, and allowed a damp course to be injected, rising damp would ensure that an already saturated wall would remain wet.  A damp proof specialist and a structural surveyor confirmed that this is correct.

When our neighbour returned from holiday, we explained the situation and asked if he would lower his garden level a little.  He said over his dead body, that we are upsetting his wife, he will sue us for trespass if anyone goes into his garden even to look at the wall, and asked us to leave.

Please does anyone have any ideas?  We're rather at the end of our rope!  We don't want to go down the litigation route, as you hear stories of neighbours running up tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees, but we can't leave the wall the way it is.  As well as worrying about an already fragile wall, we're concerned about the damp in the roof rafters.

Many thanks.

1 to 10 of 16

Discussions started by Gail Peacock

Neighbour's Garden is Damaging our Wall

Our neighbour won't lower the height of his garden, and it's making our wall damp. 
Replies: 37    Views: 3172
Last Post: 18/09/2013 at 17:08

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