Storm damage – guttering on neighbouring property

Storm damage – guttering on neighbouring property

12:33 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago 17

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Hi all, I wonder if any of the more legally minded here could help…

The house next door to one of my renters appears to be vacant, maybe going through probate I’m not sure..

Several roof slates have slipped from their roof at the rear and have lodged in the guttering pushing it away from the soffet. This has resulted in the guttering pouring water all down my walls with inevitable saturation and a damp patch in the bedroom and living room. Storm damage - guttering on neighbouring property

I’ve I put several notes through the door but to no avail. I then considered paying for the guttering to be re-fixed myself however the problem is the property is a terraced property and 3 stories high.

I had a roofer take a look at it but he said its too high to fix from a ladder, which is fair enough, so a scaffold would be needed, and as the property has no rear access then the scaffolding would have to be passed in its entirety over the top of the house which means re-fixing the guttering is not going to be a cheap or straight forward job!

I’m not sure where is stand, the damage is getting worse day by day.

Can I apply through the courts and put a charge on the house to cover my repairs?

Any pointers greatly accepted..

Best regards


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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:49 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi John

Have you considered a land registry search to track down the owners?

If they are deceased, there must be a way to track down the person(s) dealing with probate "executors". I've never had to deal with this problem but I would have thought details of the executors dealing with probate should be in the public domain. That said, I've had a very quick search on Google and nothing of much use jumped out at me.

Sharon Betton

12:55 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/02/2014 - 12:49":

I am in full agreement - land registry should hold the answer. However, have you considered contacting your local Environmental Services/Private Sector unit with the Council? They can access land registry and would also be concerned about the state of the roof. Tiles falling could lead to a fatal accident, so something needs to be done.

Industry Observer

13:08 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Hello John

It doesn't need me to tell you that you have a major problem on your hands here. Frankly tracing the living if they are in jail can be difficult enough (any cast iron method tips appreciated) never mind the dead. I know of two properties empty and going to rack and ruin and causing immense problems for the neighbours. One is near my son's flat here that he rents out, and has been untouched probably 10 years.

The other is near my daughter in Birmingham and in a state even longer.

So the first question is if it is that easy for some agency or another to do something in these situations why have these two properties never been touched?

And you are not sure it is a Probate matter but let's assume it is.

Land Registry I'm no expert on other than that it shows the last registered owner so presumably when probabte is done those details are updated? But will they show an Executor name and address, or only the legal firm if they dealt with it, though presumably they would only do so if an Executor.

Your problem here is geography as the previous owner may have lived anywhere so their Probate could be registered anywhere but the Probate Registry where the property is situated is worth trying - itr is a public register (I think).

One zany idea is to advise the Police of mysterious goings on at the property, or violent threats being heard and see if yu can get them to break the door down. Beware of wasting Police time but if you want a look inside I'd suggest that is your best route. You could also allege you think it may be being used as a crack house.

The other avenue is local authority maybe EHO if you can blame rats in your property's garden or inside (or allege it) - you need your tenants to do this.

Good luck with it you'll have to try really hard to get the Council interested though they have enough to do dealing with their own occupied and empty properties!!

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

13:15 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Why not try a "no-trace-no-fee" people tracing service?

See the dropdown menu on the "Legal" section of our navigation bar - top of this page.

It's a LOT cheaper than you might think!

Industry Observer

13:34 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago


That's a good point but the issue is still enforcement of repairs. I note the comment on costs but in these situations the normal cheaper quick and easy service often won't work.

I didn't like to add more doom and gloom but of course it is possible that the owner died abroad and indeed that the Estate is being dealt with abroad

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

13:41 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "13/02/2014 - 13:34":

If the owner/executor can be located he/she can be sued. If that happens then a charging order for the judgement can be secured against the property. That was my line of thinking.


13:44 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Tower scaffold is small enough to go through standard doors, if you mean no rear access to be back alley & not rear door that is ?
Cheap to hire & DIY to erect.

Andy Bell

14:25 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

The local council would be my first point of call, I understand it is something they are supposed to help with. Tracing owners, giving them a chance to sort it or sorting out the works and charging who ever later. But with the rain at the moment you might want to sort it yourself.

Most Plastic gutter repair work can be done off ladders, mine reach to three stories. So you might want to ask a few other builders (with longer ladders and a head for heights). Failing that yes a scaffold tower 'll sort it. Then try and see if you can get compensated later.

Yvette Newbury

14:54 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Regading scaffold and rear access. One of my properties was a terrace that was built on a spare piece of land in amongst other houses. Consequently it had no rear access from the front (except through the house) and the garden was surrounded by the gardens of 7 other houses. Scaffold was carried in via a neighbours garden, carried over a number of fences and then dropped into our garden! Work was halted by one neighbour who refused access and had big dogs, so we had to go to Land Registry to find out the landlord's name and get HIS permission, who then had to be at the property to ensure access. The work was required due to a similar situation to that above in that our walls were completely soaked by a failing chimney stack and roof that joined the shop wall next door, so we used Land Registry search to track the owner and we wrote to them (notes to the shop had not worked) to try to prompt them to take action. We had scaffolding up at our house and we asked our contractor to quote for the repair next door, so sent that off with our letter. Thankfully we did get a response and our contractor was used to do the repair. Job done. You need to make every effort to contact the owner of the property that is affecting your property.

Ray Davison

17:11 PM, 13th February 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andy Bell" at "13/02/2014 - 14:25":

You do need to be aware of your liabilities to ensure proper safe practices are used by your contractors. Just because a roofer is prepared to go up three stories on a ladder - if he fell of and killed himself - you could not escape all responsibility just because he was prepared to do it.

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