By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q: My neighbour's roof is in a bad state of repair. I have raised this with them and asked them to repair the damage as it is causing problems in the attic of my property. They are not responding to my request to have the roof repaired. Can you advise me as to what action I could take against my neighbour?
A: Where it is likely that the omission of your neighbour to maintain his property is causing problems with your property, you could bring action against them under the law of nuisance.
This provides you with a remedy to protect you from a substantial and unreasonable interference to your land.
A 'nuisance' is usually anything that hurts, causes inconvenience or damage to your house. Your neighbour's roof leaking into your attic constitutes a nuisance.
It is highly likely you will need a surveyor's report or a structural engineer's report setting out the damage to your property and the cause of the damage.
In order to bring a claim for nuisance it would be advisable to consult a solicitor who specialises in civil litigation.
Ideally, to settle the claim without going to court would be the best solution for you, and it may well be if your neighbour receives a letter off your solicitor they will take action to remedy the problem and repair the damage to their roof.
If not, you will have to pursue the matter through the court, and if successful in your claim the court can order your neighbour to pay damages and order that they rectify the issue.
If your neighbour refuses to discuss the matter amicably, regretfully the only course of action will be to consult a solicitor.
Hopefully the solicitor's letter will resolve issues, but if not you will have no alternative but to make an application to the court.
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