Is my Tarmac trespassing?

Is my Tarmac trespassing?

0:04 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago 17

Text Size

Hello, There is tarmac to the front and side of my property and my neighbour has told me that it is trespassing on their land along the side of their house where it is under their eave projection, ie it oversteps their boundary if a notional line is taken from their roof eaves to the ground – about 300mm.

They tell me that they have had wet rot to the sub floor structural timbers due to the ground level bridging the damp proof course and, in places, the open airbricks and that the external ground level needs to be urgently reduced.

They require me to excavate this strip of land to a suitable depth (possibly 6″) and retain/support the excavated edge.

Can anyone tell me whose liability is this please?

I own the whole freehold of the property which is an old detached house converted into 4 flats and I also own 3 of the 4 flats. The tarmac pre-dates my association with the property.

Your opinion would be most appreciated.


Share This Article



12:08 PM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

I have another situation with my neighbour where I live. His land is about 3 feet above mine. There is a retaining wall along the front but nothing along my annexe further back where the earth is piled against it causing a lot of damp. The deeds say its his fence. Can anyone tell me whose responsibility it would be to shore up the earth to keep it off my annexe?

Disillusioned landlord

12:24 PM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

As stated in other posts, litigation is the very last thing you need, there is only one winner and that is neither you nor your nieghbour! Splitting the cost of the drive work would cement a good relationship for the future perhaps, but this should be on the basis of no liability for the damage to the nieghbours property otherwise it will be an open book.
You would seem to have the benifical use of the full width of this footpath for a long time and you will have acquired rights unless the title states that your nieghbour also has some rights of access along this as well.
Leaving a trench next to the wall will be a hazard for your tenants and visitors and most be avoided otherwise you may be liable for injury. If as you say the drive is only a few inches above the dpc level, you could have a channel drain installed against the wall which would achieve the same result by catching water running off the drive and effectively lowering the ground level whilst retaining the current drive level and width. I can imaging having the gates attached to this wall will be a a possible nuisance as the noise and vibration, slamming shut etc will be transmitted into your nieghbours house. Try and come to a compromise on these. I would not just roll over and accept that this 300mm strip belongs to your nieghbour though as in my experiance it rarely does!


12:35 PM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Disillusioned landlord at 07/02/2024 - 12:24
I agree, no one but the solicitor benefits from litigation. I thought I may just sit it out and see what the neighbour does next

Mark Smith

15:12 PM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago

These are my instincts

First check the deeds - if the land is yours it is ultimately your responsibility. If it is belongs to your neighbour it is the neighbours responsibility

When you purchased the property you did not purchase any tarmac any land outside of you boundary. It is not your responsibility. If the previous owner tarmacced your neighbours land without permission then he has a case against the previous owner not you. (unless a dispute had already been raised)

You should not do anything think that says or implies it is your responsibility (like doing work on his land ) without clear legal agreements that limit and define your future responsibility .or you may regret it.

As your neighbour has threatened litigation be very careful about this.

Personally I would say something like " make no claim to the tarmacked area of land under you eaves. I have no power to prevent you removing the tarmac on your side of the boundary tarmac if you wish (maybe yuou should have done this a long time ago) and will provide reasonable access on my land for contractors you may employ so long as you do so in way that leaves the land on my side of the boundary in its former state and I will to cooperate in any way I can with you wish to take legal action against previous owners or contractors who may have laid tarmac without your permission But I did not purchase the land or tarmac that is under your eaves, and accept no responsibility for that land , or any actions taken by previous owners of my property . .

Then I would wait and see what he did.

I don't think he has a case against you and if he tried to take legal action against you I reckon he risks paying both your and his legal costs gaining nothing.

DISCLAIMER: But this is just personal opinion and does not constitute legal advice or .a recomendation. Just the musings of a fellow landlord. . You should of course make your own mind up or accept the advice of a qualified legal professional


9:48 AM, 8th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Many thanks everyone for your posts - its very helpful to have another opinion.

Simon F

17:13 PM, 10th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Ground level should be 2 brick courses below DPC or lower. But floor joists will be quite a bit lower than external leaf DPC in most older buildings in any case, so the tarmac is not the whole story. If he has replacement joists, they should be on metal hangers not embedded into the wall as the original ones will have been. If he's impregnated the old joist ends with resin (wet rot wood hardener) they won't continue to take moisture. If it's a cavity wall, the cavity will need clearing of debris (remove air bricks to do this). Generally, the fact that the wall is in an alleyway with no sun and no wind that draws moisture out will be as much the issue as ground level. In your neighbours shoes, I'd go direct to a damp specialist company and not bother with a surveyor. In your shoes, I'd offer to pay half of ground works on the proviso that access is not made any narrower.


14:24 PM, 12th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by JB at 07/02/2024 - 10:37Adverse possession only applies if you have exclusive use of the area in question (so doesn't apply to parking areas and similar) and since the LR Act of 2002 is no longer an automatic right, a claim has to be made without objection from the original owner. You might be able to establish some form of right of way if it has actually been in use and needed for access

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now