UK Property Law
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Is your garage wall built along the boundary line please or is there a gap between your garage wall and your boundary line?
The garage wall is along the boundary line i.e. our garage is the boundary line. The height of the garage is therefore the height of the wall - their trellis takes it 1m further and the plants are about another 1m higher again.
When did you first notice the ivy causing damage and when did you notify the neighbours of the damage? Have they agreed to do anything about it?
We moved in a year ago and the person who sold us the house raised it as an issue but said the chap was difficult. We then got a surveyor to come and give an impartial opinion and he said it was causing damage so the neighbour agreed to take the plants off the wall and put them onto a new trellis and get rid of the ivy altogether. He has ignored my repeated requests to carry out the agreed plan. My husband suggested that perhaps we go on our garage roof and just chop anything above the level of the roof/wall to atleast reduce the blocking of our view and take some weight off the wall.
Many thanks. Finally presumably from what you say you have correspondence on the issue that shows the neighbour is aware and has been notified?
Yes - we have emails of our agreement, that I initially said it was fine being done at the end of last summer so his tenants could enjoy the garden as it is over summer. Then I asked why it was not done and he said he would rather do it at start of this summer as he would move back in and it was easier to do when he was here. He has not moved back in and has ignored my emails asking when it was therefore going to be done.
Thank you. The starting point for this is that because your garage wall forms the boundary line the neighbour has the right to attache things to it under the Party Wall Act. Providing these things are minor items such as small screws and so on your permission is not required. More significant items will require a party wall notice to be served on you first. However the PWA does not give your neighbour a right to damage your wall and can be liable for damage caused.
If the ivy belongs to the neighbour by virtue of it growing on his land and in the assumption that thy have no right to grow ivy on the wall in their deeds which is very likely to be the position then they are responsible for the damage to the wall if it has been caused by the ivy unless you have given them permission to grow the ivy up the wall which I presume is not the case.
You may not be able to recover the entire cost of removing the ivy and / or the damage caused to the wall if they can demonstrate that you could and should have noticed the matter earlier though from what you say this is probably not the case here. In any event if there was no way you could have noticed the damage then you may be able to defend against this.
in terms of actions available to you, you have the right of access to their land under the Access to Neighbouring Lands Act. You may also have a right in your title deeds for access for the purposes of maintenance though you may not.
under the Access to Neighbouring Lands Act, you can request permission for access for the purposes of maintenance and inspection. If they refuse, you can obtain a court order for access. You may consider retaining a contractor to inspect the wall and provide you with a quotation in respect of rectifying the damage. You may wish to consider claiming some or all of this quote from the council on the above basis.
If you are forced to take legal action in the above matter on the basis you consider you have a claim then at that stage you may decide to retain a solicitor or continue yourself. The form you require is form N244 if you wish to make an application to the court for access and or damages.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX of things. Why can we claim from the council? It is not there problem?! Also, what about if we just cut the entire thing down to the height of our garage wall - is there a level to which you can cut down neighbouring foliage if it is overgrown? Atleast then we would solve the fact the wall of overgrown folliage blocks our view and is disproportionate to the other garden wall.
It is good to know we can force access to do works to the wall as presumably we would be able to take down their ivy to repoint our brickwork and there would be nothing they could do about this?
My apologies - this is my fault. Council should have read "neighbour". Clearly brain was on autopilot and not engaged. You are correct it is nothing to do with the council.
Generally one needs planning permission to erect something higher than 2 m as a boundary structure but councils can take different views as to whether trellis is included in the 2m overall height. If any part of the foliage itself is overhanging your property you can cut this back. You cannot in and of itself cut back foliage that is not overhanging your property though other than as described above.
I presume overhanging has to be on our side of the wall not on the wall itself (albeit it goes directly up and therefore impacts us). I think this trellis must be about 20 years old so planning permission is irrelevant. I doubt it would have got planning if ever applied for.
Re overhanging I am afraid it is required to actually overhang your property to take direct action and cut it back. As you say given the age planning permission will not be enforceable in any event now. Your likely approach if he refuses to cooperate is a claim for damage to your wall and application for the same to be rectified and the source of the damage stopped if necessary with a court application as above.
OK, so just to clarify.
1. We get form you suggested and apply for access to do works to wall i.e. repointing
2. We take down his plants, do work to wall and put plants back on trellis
3. We ask him to contribute towards cost of damage
Firstly you may wish to ask him to carryout work, then failing which request access to carry out the work and but him on notice you may claim costs. If he refuses then you apply for a court order using the above form and costs of carrying out the work and repairing damage. this can be done as part of the same application if you have a quote for the cost.
Many thanks. Very helpful.