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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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damage to my cottage due to a neighbours shed

Customer Question

Next to the outside wall of my cottage my neighbour has a small (4 x 3) rotting 'summerhouse'. (There is 6 inches from my outside wall and the back of his summerhouse) He has attempted to put some guttering but it is blocked. The outside wall and inside wall is now very damp and the outside wall needs to be repaired and painted. He is refusing to move his summerhouse. No builder can do any works and the issue is worsening. What can I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer! If you've any queries once you've read my answer do ask. When satisfied, kindly click the Green ACCEPT button.

Could you explain exactly precisely what is causing the damp to your wall in specific terms please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The rain water is running off his shed onto the outside of our cottage wall. Plus there is not a sufficient gap for the outside wall of our cottage to 'air' or to do any repairs. There has been gutters stuffed behind the shed/summerhouse but they are blocked with leaves.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The rain water is running off his shed onto the outside of our cottage wall. Plus there is not a sufficient gap for the outside wall of our cottage to 'air' or to do any repairs. There has been gutters stuffed behind the shed/summerhouse but they are blocked with leaves.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Thanks. In order to claim against the neighbour it would be necessary to demonstrate some sort of negligence on their part - for example in maintaining the shed. If the damp had been caused for example as a result of extreme weather then it is possible that it is just an accident. It is not possible to claim compensation for an accident. However this does not seem to be the case here.

You will need to be able to point to some form of failure by him to maintain the shed properly to be successful otherwise it will be a matter for your insurers. The easiest way of showing negligence is either if there is something obvious that you can identify as a maintenance failure that gave rise to the damp, which here should be relatively straightforward, or that this has happened before (on an ongoing basis and you have told the neighbour about it and they failed to take recommended remedial action.

The running of water onto your property constitutes a trespass for which (subject as above) you can claim damages. You can also seek and injunction to force him to remedy the issue so your wall is no longer adversely effected.

If you decide you need to apply for an injunction you need to complete form N16A and submit to the County Court. You can claim costs and also sue for damages as above if necessary.

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/HMCSCourtFinder/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=402

If you just decide to sue for damages you need form N1 or I suggest the www.moneyclaimonline.gov.uk website.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
How much space legally should there be between an outside wall to a cottage and a shed? As we cannot repair .. I have a feeling that he is going to try and get us to move the shed and buy him a new one as it looks pretty rotten.
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
This depends upon whether your wall is built along the boundary line or within your boundary so there is a gap between your wall and the edge of your boundary?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The boundary line is the outside wall of my cottage. Then 6 inches further is his shed adjacent to the cottage. Enough room for a half drain pipe blocked with leaves.
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Thanks. There are no regulations about how far a wall can be but the party wall act applies here. He cannot excavate within 3 m of your wall without serving a party wall act notice. In addition if he builds so close to your wall that you can no longer access your wall to carry out maintenance, you can if necessary require him to move the shed in order that you can carry out repairs though this would be at your expense.

This does not prejudice your above rights however to require that he does not discharge water onto your wall and you can request and require him by way of injunction if necessary to address this issue as described above
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So in summary what you are saying is that I can ask him to move the shed adn I could sue him for damage made to my property as he shouldn't have put the summerhouse/shed so close to my property? How far should it be away from the outside wall of my cottage? So what distance does a neighbour have to be from your property as 3 m does not sound right.
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
that is not quite accurate. There is nothing stopping him from placing the shed right next to your wall. The issue here is that he is discharging water onto your wall by virtue of the shed and it is this, not the distance in itself, that you have cause to complain about. It is this which you can require the neighbour to remedy by either moving the shed or renovating the shed or replacing the shed so that it does not discharge water onto your wall.

Providing he is not excavating or attaching the shed to your wall, he can place it is close to your wall as he wishes as the land upon which the shed is situated is his land.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But by placing it 6 inches from the outside of my house shouldn't he make space for general maintenance? So if I want to paint the outside of my house should or can i force him to move it?
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
it may well be sensible to do so as you say, but he has no legal obligation to do so. This is one of the drawbacks one has to accept if the wall is built along the boundary line. Because it is built along the boundary line, he also has the right to attach things to the wall providing he makes good damage though he should serve a party wall act notice before he does so.

If you need to maintain the wall, then you have a right to do so both under the party wall act and under the access to neighbouring lands act and you could require the shed is moved for this purpose though this would be at your cost and you would need to replace the shed once you have finished.

Please kindly remember to click ACCEPT
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 24527
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Joshua and 2 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your accept. You have posted a reply but no text appears. Did you mean to post something else? If not, good luck with the issue.

Kind regards

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Joshua
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LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice