My back garden borders Council land and over the last few years we have begun to get water flowing into the garden to the point where it now floods the garden whenever it rains. The water table level has risen around two feet since 1996. Other land adjacent to this council green belt has had extra buiding development on it over that period. Can we sue the council to sort out the problem?
Province/Country relating to question : England
Advisede local parish councellors and the City Council who say nothing can be done as they don't know who is responsible for the change.
Thanks for your question. Please RATE my answer when you are satisfied by clicking on 3 STARS *** or ABOVE.Please kindly only RATE my answer when you are satisfied. If you rate my answer as less than 3 stars this is recorded as negative feedback. If you decide to click less than 3 stars please stop and reply to me first by clicking on REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION. It is important to me that you are satisfied with the service you receive from me. May I clarify with you please - do you know or believe the water now flows onto your land because of building work that has been undertaken on the land in question please or are you uncertain as to the reason for the flooding?
Uncertain, as is everyone else.
Thanks. The above is the central issue that will govern the quality of a potential claim you may have. You would have no claim against the council as the landowner for water that enters your property as a result of the natural topography of the land. However if you can show that the ingress is as a result of development they have carried out on the land then the ingress of water may constitute a trespass on their part in his running water off onto your land without a legal right to do so.As an example to illustrate if you lived next to someone and the water table changed so that water entered your land but not because of anything your neighbour had done, you would have no claim. If on the other hand he built a patio on his land and water subsequently ran off onto your land you would have a potential claim. Unfortunately your situation from what you say is considerable more subtle than this. Since the burden of proof is upon you prove trespass you would need to consider starting with a report as to both the damage and the likely cause of the damage from a surveyor who has expertise water run off. From there you can move to try to establish whether the landowner is liable as above. If your report demonstrates that he is on the balance of probability you can both seek an injunction if necessary to order him to remedy the run off and issue a claim against the landowner for any damage caused to your land as a result.
Check your insurer for legal cover to see if it covers you for pursuing such a claim against the council. Some policies will have cover for fees and costs.
Is there anything else I can help you with or clarify above? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly remember to RATE my answer with 3 STARS *** or above as appropriate. Your feedback is important to me. If you intend to click less than 3 STARS please reply back to me so I can help with any further questions of clarifications first. Kind regards
The topology of the land has not changed in any way. The only changes are developments in the village that were given planning permission by the council - including those that abut the land in question. So someone has altered the water flows.
Thank you for your rating. I am sorry you have submitted a negative rating. Your satisfaction is important to me and I did ask that you consider replying to me so I can expand on any areas you wanted further information on before you submitted a rating as your feedback is recorded as a guide to all customers. If the cause of the water flow change is not obvious as is the case here it is essential that you retain a surveyor or a similar specialist to compile a report for you in order that you can try to discover the cause of the run off. Without this evidence any attempted claim cannot succeed as the court will require you to show how the defendant has caused the run off. From what you say at present you would not be able to demonstrate how he is so causing the run off. Surveyors who specialise in this area can often identify the cause of run off from an inspection survey and tests. Sometimes it is either not possible to identify the cause due to the expense of the tests that would be required or the cause can be too remote to be able to build a successful claim however that may not be the case here. Where this is the case it can be more economical to consider flood defences and improved drainage solutions for your land rather than pursuing surveys with possibly no definite favourable outcome. However an initial survey can be carried out at a reasonable cost which will in many cases either identify the likely cause or give you some guidance as to whether it is likely to be worthwhile proceeding with further test or surveys. Armed with the evidence you can then establish whether you have a reasonable claim against the neighbour landowner or not. As above your insurer can sometime offer cover to assist with sort of claim. If you have any further question please come back to me rather than leaving further negative feedback. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly remember to RATE my answer with 3 STARS *** or above as appropriate. Your feedback is important to me. If you intend to click less than 3 STARS please reply back to me so I can help with any further questions of clarifications first. Kind regards
LL.B (Hons), Prof Dip Law & Practice. 9 years experience in private practice in England
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