Neighbour’s Works Have Caused the Roof To Leak – What Are My Rights?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Some time ago (approx September 2008) my neighbour had some work done on the adjoining semidetached property to mine, employing a firm of builders, although the work came under the party wall act, he did not serve me notice at the time, but just went ahead and did the work. The work he did included re-roofing his property which meant he removed the ridge tiles along the adjoining party ridge with mine replacing some of the ridge tiles with a substandard modern non ornamental version it (is a Victorian property) soon after which I later developed a leak in my roof I then got a roofing firm to look at my roof, he said the felt under the slates and over the ridge had not been lapped over to my side and needed to be redone, very expensive.

He also built up the fire wall in the adjoining attic which does not seem to be causing me a problem at the moment, I wrote to my neighbour but got no reply he does not live at the property, it is let out in flats. I am not sure what my rights are or what I can do about it.

Answer

I’m not sure that the re-roofing part of the works would have been notifiable under the Act – Section 2(2) does include exposing a party wall which was hitherto enclosed but if he was building up the party wall within the loft that suggests that it was not directly below the roof covering.

It is all academic now anyway as nothing can be done retrospectively under the Act. You are therefore looking at dealing with the damage to your property which has caused the leak. If the neighbouring owner is unresponsive then you will need to make a claim although you should write to him explaining your intentions.

You may want to quote a piece of case law in the letter which may be relevant here.