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Access Pipe Leak Dilema


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Hi all.

 

I am hoping someone can offer some advice on my options with an issue I have on a property I own. A few years ago the water board wrote to me advising that there was a leak in the water access pipe within my boundary that needed attention. I own an upstairs flat that I have a tenant in for a number of years. My insurance company sent contractors who investigated and advised the leak in the pipe was under the ground floor flat which is unoccupied. Letters were written to request access by myself, the the contractor an the water board with no response. We did a land registry report and wrote to the owner registered address (not the flat address) and the letters were signed for also but no reply. Eventually the water board told me that they were closing the case as they were satisfied we had done all we could. My property has not noticed any reduction in water pressure or any other ill effects so far. 

 

Fast forward to present day and I would like to potentially sell the property in the next year or so. My concern is will a survey pick this up and hamper any potential sale - or even if it is legal for me to sell as it is or something I need to declare when selling?

 

Many thanks

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Have you looked at your Deeds to see what communal obligations and access rights are specified for maintenance of the shell of the building?

 

How long has the flat below being vacant? If it is over 10 years and you have a right of access for essential maintenance then at some point you could initiate a claim for adverse possession and become the legal owner of the ground floor flat.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Tennentslager said:

Can you find another route for the main...cap it in the garden and run it in another way?

 

I did ask the contractor if they could re-route the pipe to the rear of the flats but they advised this is not an option without getting access to the ground floor flat as it is on a shared supply. 

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42 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

Have you looked at your Deeds to see what communal obligations and access rights are specified for maintenance of the shell of the building?

 

How long has the flat below being vacant? If it is over 10 years and you have a right of access for essential maintenance then at some point you could initiate a claim for adverse possession and become the legal owner of the ground floor flat.

 

 

 

I spoke briefly with a solicitor who advised we could go down the route of the neighbouring land act but I could not contemplate it at the time due to the cost involved. I believe the flat has been empty for at least 4 years now. 

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I think I would write to them again asking for access stating that if not granted you have been advised you can apply for an access order under the act, together with costs for the work and legal expenses, which if not paid may be collected by a County Court judgement and ultimately seizure and sale of property by bailiffs. Spell it all out.

 

Then say if access is granted you will cover all costs.

 

If they agree get the supply split and leave theirs turned off.

 

Another option might be to offer to purchase their flat at a knock down price due to the problem.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Temp said:

I think I would write to them again asking for access stating that if not granted you have been advised you can apply for an access order under the act, together with costs for the work and legal expenses, which if not paid may be collected by a County Court judgement and ultimately seizure and sale of property by bailiffs. Spell it all out.

 

 

I really do not think it would be sensible to initiate a legal dispute, especially with a party that is hard to trace.  The OP wants to be able to sell the place with no issues.  Presently there are none and the water supply is all fine.

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1 hour ago, Mr Punter said:

 

 

I really do not think it would be sensible to initiate a legal dispute, especially with a party that is hard to trace.  The OP wants to be able to sell the place with no issues.  Presently there are none and the water supply is all fine.

 

Yes ideally I would just like to sell if I can - but concerned that it will surface on a survey and potentially then leave me in limbo with no tenant until resolved. I have sent an enquiry to the local county court to see if I can pursue a neighbouring land act with little to no cost. The downstairs owner has had multiple court injunctions/failure to comply histories from other property he owns so I do not think I am going to get any response from him directly. 

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