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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    • CommentAuthormikrt
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2018
     
    We Finished building main house & garage a few years ago, now concentrating on finishing outside.

    We've always had a problem with a soaking muddy front area where the lawn will be (not for a few weeks though!).

    Our neighbours, who were living there before we built, keep telling me to get tons of slate and topsoil in to build up the height by a foot or so.

    Now, with the dry weather and some weed-killing been done, I can now see that there's at least 6 x 25 - 30mm holes drilled down in the dividing wall in-between us, so all their water runs onto my lawn area!

    Am I within my right to blank off these holes from my end, or are they allowed to continue as they have been?

    Any advice would be really appreciated,

    Thanks in advance.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2018
     
    I don't think there's a simple answer. First off, who does the wall belong to? If it's yours then you can block the holes; if it's theirs then you can't, I think.

    I presume you don't want to build up the height of your lawn, so you could instead dig down and put some drainage in, but that depends on where you can drain to.

    So lots more information needed to make a reasonable plan.
    • CommentAuthormikrt
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2018
     
    Thanks for that.

    I'm not sure who's wall it is. The supporting pillars are on my side, does that make a difference?
  1.  
    AFAIK if the supporting pillars are on your side then this would make it your wall. Have you seen the deeds held in land registry and is there a helpful map there? Has the boundary line been officially measured? Easy over here, if it is a straight line then about 100 quid max. but I'm not sure about the UK. Knowing where the boundary is will define who own the wall.

    A fly in the ointment is that you have to accept rainwater from your up hill neighbours land and your down hill neighbour must take rainwater from your land. You can not interrupt the natural flow of the rainwater. There is an exception where 'improvements' have been made e.g. if the up hill neighbour has paved over a large area of their garden. Natural run-off does not include water from gutter down pipes.

    If you raised the level of the lawn this IMO would be an 'improvement' which, if it caused issues with the flow of the run off then you could be liable. On the other hand if the neighbour owns the wall then this would be an improvement disturbing the natural flow and the 'local flooding' caused by the holes drilled in the wall would be their liability. But if you own the wall this would be an improvement affecting the natural flow (gutters and patio run off excluded) so your neighbour might be entitled to the holes to alleviate the problems caused by your wall.

    Such issues can be messy and at the end of the day you have to live next door to your neighbour so getting litigious or acting unilaterally by blocking up the holes and so causing a problem on their side may not be the best option.

    Is there somewhere (on either side of the wall) for the rainwater to be directed or drained that won't cause problems? Bearing in mind that any modification to the natural flow could give a liability for any down hill problems.

    The above is just my opinion given without legal qualification
    • CommentAuthorJamster
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2018
     
    Are they not weep holes to stop the water building up behind the wall and blowing the cement? As above, I believe you should not impede the natural flow of water downslope.

    If you haven't got any turf down yet, sounds a good time to get a french drain in if you can run it away somewhere or some soakaway crates if not...?
    • CommentAuthormikrt
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2018
     
    Thanks for responses, actually a French drain was plan A before I noticed the drain holes. No they're definitely not weep holes, there to stop their drive flooding, which was built up years ago before they owned it.
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2018
     
    I think you have a choice - either water draining onto your land, or water and driveway together draining onto your land - easier I think to deal with just the water.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2018
     
    Posted By: mikrtThanks for responses, actually a French drain was plan A before I noticed the drain holes. No they're definitely not weep holes, there to stop their drive flooding, which was built up years ago before they owned it.

    Can you see which side the holes were drilled from? I expect there's be bits broken off on the other side. They may be intended to prevent a build up of water behind the wall, which would destabilise the wall.
    • CommentAuthormikrt
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2018
     
    Holes are definitely drilled downwards from the other side. Next door is flat-ish, the holes are purely to prevent their drive & garden getting soaked. If I were to block the holes, they'd have only an inch or so before it would drain into one of their storm drains.
  2.  
    IMO if the drive is impermeable then under the rules they would be responsible for the drive run off and any issues from that drive run off. On the other hand if the wall causes local problems where the holes were drilled then the owner of the wall would have a liability. (Does their gutter water also end up on the drive?)

    It sounds to me, from the brief description so far, that a french drain on the neighbours side would be the best solution as this would also protect the wall as well and remove any problems of the holes getting blocking up. And you could argue that such a french drain should have been installed when the drive was built up.

    It is a good case for neighbourly cooperation to get a problem fixed but I'm not so sure that your neighbour will be keen to put his hand in his pocket to solve a liability caused by his built up drive, but they might let the drain be on their side if that proves to be the best place.

    Back to who own the wall and was it built before the drive?
  3.  
    I'd just continue with Plan A and fit the french drain. Doing anything else will just create bad feeling with the neighbour and as this work was carried out prior to you buying the house, I don't think there is much you can do anyway. We have a french drain around the periphery of our home and it's amazing at shifting water, so it you get it fitted correctly and have it run off into a main sewer, soakaway or alternative then that should be the end of the problem.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2018
     
    +1

    One option might be to connect the French drain to the gravel surrounding your foul drains or other service trenches that go off site.
    • CommentAuthormikrt
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2018
     
    What I'm seriously considering, is having a chat with said neighbours and letting them know I'm considering plugging the holes. I will offer to put a French drain on my side if they'd pay towards the cost. And then see how it goes.
    A French drain their side is a non starter as it's tarmac up to the wall. They could pay to divert into the storm drain (where their gutters run into) but that would be expensive for them and a lot of hassle.
  4.  
    I doubt the neighbour would pay towards a french drain on your property, the drainage problem is currently yours not theirs. They fixed their drainage issue by simply drilling holes. Job done.

    An option would be to fill the holes and then place a raised bed next to the wall to hide the fact you've filled the holes. By the time we get a large amount of rain, your beds will have been established and you could claim you didn't know about the holes, that they are probably blocked by the raised bed soil and that you're not removing your new beds just because he has a problem with his drainage. Even if the neighbour re-drills the holes when you're out for the day (which he will), the soil in the raised bed will hold back the water and keep most of it on his property where it came from.

    However, If you let him know that you know about the holes, then you can't really do the above without causing even more bad feeling. It's one thing to "inadvertently" flood his driveway with your raised beds (and to then stick to your guns and insist you're not removing part of your garden for his drainage) than to tell him you're going to flood his garden by blocking his drainage and then proceed to do so. As I said, all he will do is re-drill them and the cycle of tit-for-tat begins with a possible TV appearance on Nightmare Neighbours to look forward to.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2018
     
    @ mikrt

    As djh mentioned initially, surely you need to find out who's wall it is before you do anything. If yours was a building plot, i.e. not previously built on the chances are that your neighbours or their predecessors built the wall. Although that may not be an indication of current ownership. Title deeds do change, my neighbours removed an existing old wall (mine) and rebuilt one wall of their new garage in exactly the same place. So now AFAIK that new wall is mine.
  5.  
    Posted By: owlmanchances are that your neighbours or their predecessors built the wall.

    But on whose land is the wall built. over here as said above it's easy to get a boundary measured within less than 5cm, but I'm not sure about the UK
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2018
     
    My title deeds show measurements and arrows around the boundaries, as normal I think, to what degree of accuracy, I don't know either. I seem to remember reading somewhere that boundary disputes are one of the most common of neighbourly disputes, you'd think we'd have it sorted by now.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2018
     
    In my (french) town, we are not allowed to build on a property line.
    Therefore when we replaced the common hedge with a common fence, it strictly needed to go on one side of the line or the other. Neighbour refused, so the fence is ON the line.
    Over Here they are like that...

    gg
  6.  
    Posted By: owlmanI seem to remember reading somewhere that boundary disputes are one of the most common of neighbourly disputes, you'd think we'd have it sorted by now.

    Indeed you would. Over here the land registry hold maps of the whole country with each plot assigned a number. The law says in case of dispute what is held in land registry is accepted as fact. If any boundary questions arise a land measurer comes out with his survey quality GPS, makes the measurement, puts a red stick in the ground, job done.
    Oh and who owns the land is also public information and free to view.
  7.  
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryOh and who owns the land is also public information and free to view.


    Do you have a link to this free service? There is some unused land behind my home that I'd love to buy but I have no idea who owns it. I had a look on the land registry site and it didn't seem to have a way to click on a map. It was good for finding properties but not land (or at least I couldn't figure it out). The LR site also charged a £4 fee for each title deed to see who owns the property.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTime7 days ago edited
     
    [wrong thread]!
  8.  
    Posted By: Pile-o-Stone
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryOh and who owns the land is also public information and free to view.


    Do you have a link to this free service? There is some unused land behind my home that I'd love to buy but I have no idea who owns it.

    Sorry but I did say 'over here' and my forum name is Peter_in_Hungary. So my comments regarding land measurement etc. apply to Hungary. And yes it is a much better system than in the UK
  9.  
    .
    • CommentAuthormikrt
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    I've not responded for a few days as I have had a "friendly" chat with my solicitor to confirm who's responsible for the wall, and was waiting for confirmation.

    Apparently the deeds are inconclusive and are "silent" with regards to the ownership and responsibility of said wall.

    An inquiry was raised 4 years ago on purchase of the plot with the sellers, but as they were representatives of the deceased owner they did not know the answer.

    I may be able to confirm who actually built the wall as the farmer who sold the original plots 20 odd years ago is a friend of my aunt (my plot is at the end of 5 roadside plots with mine at one end next to a much older bungalow )

    To further muddy the waters, The original owner of older bungalow next door which is leaking water, also owned my plot. He originally bought my plot to prevent anyone building next door to him, so when he put the holes in the wall, he owned both properties and obviously the wall in between. On his passing my neighbours bought his bungalow, and after being vacant for a few years, I purchased the plot.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime7 days ago edited
     
    Pile-o-Stone wrote: "There is some unused land behind my home that I'd love to buy but I have no idea who owns it. I had a look on the land registry site and it didn't seem to have a way to click on a map. It was good for finding properties but not land (or at least I couldn't figure it out). The LR site also charged a £4 fee for each title deed to see who owns the property."

    I think you're looking for https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/eservices/FindAProperty/view/MapEnquiryMapSearch.do and that seems easy enough to use IMHO. I've no idea whether £4 is reasonable or not but it does seem affordable.
  10.  
    Posted By: djhPile-o-Stone wrote: "There is some unused land behind my home that I'd love to buy but I have no idea who owns it. I had a look on the land registry site and it didn't seem to have a way to click on a map. It was good for finding properties but not land (or at least I couldn't figure it out). The LR site also charged a £4 fee for each title deed to see who owns the property."

    I think you're looking forhttps://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/eservices/FindAProperty/view/MapEnquiryMapSearch.do" rel="nofollow" >https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/eservices/FindAProperty/view/MapEnquiryMapSearch.doand that seems easy enough to use IMHO. I've no idea whether £4 is reasonable or not but it does seem affordable.


    Thanks, djh, I was OK with paying the £4 fee, but obviously if there was a free site, I'd much prefer that (and thanks to P_i_H for the explanation). I've sent off my £4 to the land registry and we shall see who owns the land behind us. Hopefully they will be keen to sell and I'll be a step closer to a more off-grid lifestyle.
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