I have today returned after a two day trip to find that builders working on a property adjacent to mine have blocked up and taped a surface water pipe taking water from my garage roof running into a land drain across the garden. The pipe discharges to a the ditch on a piece of land not owned by either of us, but the ditch is culverted under the land under development. My husband went to speak to the builders two weeks ago to point out this culvert and the significance of it. Most of the water comes from land higher up than our garden and if this was blocked our house garden and garage are at risk of flooding. On this occasion the backed up water has caused minor flooding behind the garage. I have taken photos of all this today and took photos previously of the ditch and culvert in case they caused detrimental impact, which they now have. I removed the tape and blockage to the end of my pipe and the backed up water gushed out. I suspect that the builders have also been going into my garden as access is easy from there, due to the state of my path at this point. Until now, we have been the only people able to access this piece of land even though we are not the legal owners. The legal owners appear to be a defunct estate. What can I do to prevent these builders from knowingly causing damage to my property and what are my rights and theirs in this case?Yours,Mrs VHC Lang
Province/Country relating to question : Wales
Taking photographic evidence and explaining the consequences of their actions
Hi there. Thanks for your question, I will assist you with this.
Nobody can unlawfully knowingly cause damage to your property. If they do so, it will amount to trespass under the civil law.
In such circumstances, if they threaten to do so, or to do any act which foreseeably will cause damage to your property, then you are entitled to apply to the court for an injunction to restrain them from carrying out that act.
In addition, in respect of any damage already caused, you should be entitled to compensation. Traditionally, this is the sum required to put the property back into the state that it would have been but for the wrong doing on their part.
Does this answer your question?
Does this also apply if they have not actually been on my property? I realise that it is not conclusive that they have been on my property owned by me.
Yes, this still applies even if they have damaged the property. However, in this case, it will be easier to obtain an injunction in respect of further damage, as there is evidence that they are willing to do damage, or even if not willing, have done damage.
So, those are the legal options, although in practice, most issues like this are promptly resolved once a solicitors letter is sent.
How do I get an injunction?
The best way would be to use a solicitor, because as I mentioned, a solicitors' letter will often avoid the need to formally seek a court injunction. however, if you wanted to go and do this on your own, then you would need to complete form N244, the application form, together with a claim form N1.
The application notice would be for the interim (or urgent) injunction, and then the claim would be determined in due course, whether you were right to seek the injunction at the early interim stage. In this type of case, the court does not consider the full facts and merits of the arguments at an interim stage, as it does not have time to do so, given that the injunction is sought on an urgent basis.
I see. Thank you very much for your advice.
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