Trespass by Housing Association

by Readers Question

6 months ago

Trespass by Housing Association

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Trespass by Housing Association

Hi, hope someone can advise on this. I am a leaseholder in a block of six flats owning a top floor one. With this flat comes the front garden.

Back in the middle of the year the housing association fitted a new condensing boiler to the flat below us (ground floor) and installed the pipe which carries the condense waste (acidic) into our front garden. I have made the housing association aware on several occasions that they have trespassed and have no authority to put this pipe discharging into our front garden flower bed.

I spoke with their local neighbourhood housing officer two weeks ago who assured me that she would have this rectified and moved.

Last week I sent her an email stating that if this pipe was not removed by Thursday 26th October that I would take further action and escalate the complaint.

My question is that how do I stand legally on this and what further steps can I take to get the pipe removed?

I know that I shouldn’t remove the offending pipe myself as this is part of the workings of the boiler.

Thanks
Barry

Comments

Neil Patterson

6 months ago

Hi Barry,
Some basic detective Google work seems to suggest that it may be trespass if it is damaging your property (flower bed). Although if you damage the pipe this could also be criminal damage so don't do anything without proper legal advice.

If the Housing Association sound like they are prepared to fix it then just chasing them a bit more would save a lot of money on a legal dispute.

Gary Nock

6 months ago

Barry you need to check your lease. It will probably allow access to your property for maintenance works. So it probably isn't trespass. However the discharge of the condensate may well be a breach of the lease by the superior leaseholder who may be the Housing Association. This may include your right to peaceful enjoyment of the property. In breach of lease cases you would need to apply to the First Tier Property Tribunal for a determination there has been a breach. To enforce it then you would need to go to County Court.
Such actions are not advised unless you have sufficient legal knowledge to represent yourself or deep pockets to pay for solicitors. This doesn't preclude you from pointing out the breach in the lease and the action you could take to remedy it.

Ros poldermans

6 months ago

Barry
The condense waste (acidic) into our front garden. This must go into the drain not the flower bed as it's an acid
Roy

Rob Crawford

6 months ago

Hi Barry, you seem to be emphasising the "acidic" nature of the discharge. How do you know this? Have you measured the acidity of the discharge? The reason I ask is that an "Acidic Neutraliser" may have already been installed. They are quite small (200cm) tubes with a cartridge that is installed in the vent pipe, probably just below the boiler. The reason I bring this to your attention is that your case could be undermined if one has been fitted or is fitted in response to you complaint. The point is that you don't want any form of discharge from the vent pipe dripping onto your land (assuming the land is yours etc). I have dealt with housing organisations previously and I would suggest any letter is sent to the CEO who will hand it to their commercial or legal advisor to respond to. At least then you know it has gone to a decision maker who understands the threat of legal action. Give the CEO 4 weeks and then get a solicitor to sent a "final warning before court action" letter - this assumes you have a case (as mentioned before in Gary's response.

Jerry Jones

6 months ago

I would be asking Gas Safe about what is required for a condensate drain - does it have to go into a drain?

Kaye Moss

6 months ago

Hi Barry

The FREE to you - also the easiest and least hassle way - of dealing with this is to contact the Gas Safe Register. Follow link below:

https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/complaints-report-an-illegal/

Let the Housing Association know that the Gas Safe Register people will need access..... then just wait for their visit.

They will check everything about the installation - at no cost to you. Anything wrong with it, rest assured - it will get put right by their intervention. Nothing more for you to do!

Worked a treat for me in the past.

Good luck!

Mike W

6 months ago

Hi Barry,
I think you need to first check your deeds to see if there are any freeholder rights. I suspect not for this.
The most likely cause is the ignorance of the installer who took the easiest solution without considering the legal aspects. It would be normal to discharge into a drain - either internal or external. However is it the condensate line or the blowdown line - which would be much more serious? If it is the condensate line where has he put the blowdown line?
You can't do nothing as that would be tacit acceptance of the situation. Frankly I am not sure the condensate is harmful if it is normally discharged to drains ..... but I am not an expert. I had this sort of situation years ago but prior to installation asked my neighbour if i could discharge the condensate into the water drain which took the rainwater off my roof. (The drain was located in his garden when the properties were originally built and there were provisions in the deeds to allow me to do it - but I thought I better 'ask' first - just to be polite.)

Paul Kaye

6 months ago

Hi
It is acceptable to install like this however,it should be into a drainpipe,
Google. HHIC heating &hotwater industry council.
Here you will find all the info you need.
Paul

Barry Day

6 months ago

Hi everyone and many thanks for your replies/suggestions, appreciated. I believe, as Mike suggested, that the installer took the easiest route to install the pipe rather than hook it up to the flat's waste system. I will certainly check my deeds & lease and also if nothing has happened by Thursday a letter will be sent to the CEO.

ben whitley

6 months ago

Condensate pipe into ground should always be a last resort but is perfectly acceptable in some cases this is the only option if no drain/soil stack is available.. it should terminate into a soakaway which is basically a plastic container dug into ground and filled with limestone chipping which neutralise the acidity and just disperse water into soil.. Is there a accessible drain to connect to inside or out as if not there is no going back to installing an old non condensing boiler now so not sure where u would stand with getting it removed..

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