Our Neighbour is planning a rear Extension and the Guttering will discharge water close to a Party Wall. Who is responsible for future Repairs?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Our neighbour at the rear of our garden is building a single storey structure 82cm behind the garden next to ours.  The rainwater downpipe will be situated approx 85cm immediately behind the boundary between ourselves and our next door neighbour.  There is a 100 year old brick wall running along the rear of our garden and that of our next-door neighbour, which is a party wall for which the owner of the new building is partially responsible.  There is no mains drainage for the rainwater to be discharged into and thus it will soak into the ground close to the party wall.  Our Local Authority have informed us that the positioning of guttering is a matter for building control.  However, the building is lightly smaller than 30 sq m and thus building control is not required.

In the event in the future of water damage to the wall, can you confirm who would be responsible for the cost of repairs if the owner of the new building has knowingly positioned the downpipe where such damage could occur?

AnswerShould the wall need to be repaired in the future one of the owners would have to serve notice on the other under Section 2(2)(b) of the Party Wall Act. If matters cannot be agreed between the owners you will go in to dispute under the Act and surveyors will have to be appointed and an Award agreed.

In that scenario the surveyors will have to decide who pays for what using the direction given in Section 11(5) of the Act, which basically says that the owner who was responsible for the damage occurring must pay for the repair.