Question: We live in a semi-detached house. The guttering next door has broken so that, every time it rains, water pours down our walls and over a window causing damage you can see even inside our house.
© Merrily Harpur
Because our neighbour refused to get the gutter fixed, we decided to arrange for the work to be done at our expense. The repair has been completed but the builder has warned us that our neighbour’s gutter really needs replacing entirely.
Can we force our neighbour to get this work done before our house suffers any further damage?
Answer: If damage is caused to your property by something on your neighbour’s land, your neighbour could be required to compensate you for that damage.
To succeed with such a claim you would need to be able to prove that the damage was as a result of the condition of the guttering, so it is important to take photos and to obtain advice from a surveyor. Check your title deeds, too, to see if these contain any references to the maintenance of the guttering.
Try to talk to your neighbour once you have advice from the surveyor and you are aware of the contents of your title deeds. If you still do not have any joy with your neighbour ask your solicitor to send a letter threatening a claim for damages, which may prompt your neighbour to get the work done.
If all this fails, you could apply to a court for an injunction but this is not always straightforward and you will require specialist legal advice first.
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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.
Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.