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2712 posts

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# 211610 4-Apr-2017 11:24
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When we moved into our house several years ago we noticed  a 10mm black plastic tube teed off our back garden tape and disappear under the ground. I always assumed it was part of an old garden irrigation system that didn't work any more any ignored it.

 

When investigating things for some other plumbing work, we have now discovered that this little plastic tube is actually supplying the house on the back section behind us with all of their water.

 

The result is that all of the back neighbors water runs through our internal plumbing before it goes to their house, meaning when they have a shower etc our water pressure drops.

 

To help in identifying what this pipe was for I installed a ball valve on it so I could turn it on and off to see what it affected, so now (if I wanted) I could actually shut off their water from my own private property.

 

I informed the owner of the rear property of how their water is being supplied (who were also unaware of this), and they were initially happy to look at getting this rectified with a new water main to their property run from the street. However, after having received a quote for what it will cost, they are now saying it is not something they will consider because of the cost involved.

 

Questions:

 

- Can this current setup possibly be legal?

 

- If it is not legal, is the onus entirely on them to rectify the issue?

 

- If it is legal, am I out of luck if they won't do anything?

 

- What are my options if they don't want to play ball?

 

I want to be reasonable and not antagonize the neighbors, and also don't want to force them to do it straight away as it likely needs to be budgeted for. For these reasons am reluctant to contact the council yet in case they then say it needs to be rectified immediately.

 

Any help or advice would be great.

 

Thanks

 

Paul

 

EDIT: It is a cross lease section, where ours is the front (and much older) house. So section was presumably subdivided many years ago to build the back house.





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Banana?
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  # 1756212 4-Apr-2017 11:45
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Is your water metered? I'd assume not, otherwise you are paying for all of their water.

 

IS there a chance your council will start metering your water?

 

 

 

Can you just extend the 10mm pipe from your outside tap to your incoming supply, bypassing the rest of your homes plumbing?




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  # 1756220 4-Apr-2017 12:00
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trig42:

 

Is your water metered? I'd assume not, otherwise you are paying for all of their water.

 

IS there a chance your council will start metering your water?

 

 

There is a single water meter, but we aren't charged for water. However I think it is inevitable that we will be eventually.

 

trig42:

 

Can you just extend the 10mm pipe from your outside tap to your incoming supply, bypassing the rest of your homes plumbing?

 

 

Not easily.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1756243 4-Apr-2017 12:16
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Paul1977:

 

There is a single water meter, but we aren't charged for water. However I think it is inevitable that we will be eventually.

 

 

At which time you will have to arrange with the other house to install sub meters to split the bill like blocks of shops etc have.

 

Perhaps you need to just start really using the water heaps at times you think they might be having a shower?





Richard rich.ms

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  # 1756255 4-Apr-2017 12:30
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IANAL but I don't think you have anything to loose (other than neighbourly relations).

 

Check your cross-lease agreement (you should have had your solicitor obtain a copy when buying the place) to see if there is any provision for conveying utilities. Provided that the current arrangement isn't codified in the cross-lease agreement, then I can't see any fallback for you from notifying the council of the arrangement or turning off the tap (brutal as it may be).

 

The big proviso is neighbourly relations - I guess you need to ask yourself the question of what would be the impact of a frosty neighbour and is it worth it for more reliable water pressure. Do you need to collaborate on driveway maintenance, fencing, tree cutting? Do you see them everyday when they drive to the street?

 

10mm is a very small pipe for a house supply - my 1960s house is fed by 15mm, and I see modern houses have 25-32mm feeds. Perhaps suggest to them that higher pressure would be an advantage for them (i.e. carrot, not stick approach).

 

Can you help them dig the trench, to cut the cost for them a bit?


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  # 1756259 4-Apr-2017 12:37
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@Paul1977: So this advice assumes you and your back neighbour own (or are at least mortgaged owners) of your houses. Also, standard IANAL clause applies.

 

Start by going to council to look at the LIM and any other records you can find from the time the neighbour's house was built, to see if there is any note of this arrangement being put in place. You don't have to tell council what you're looking for, just ask for everything and go through it.

 

Can this current setup possibly be legal? 

 

I'd say no, unless there is an easment or agreement listed against your property. If there is, it should have been listed in the sale and purchase agreement when you bought the house. And if there is, and it wasn't listed, it's possible the vendor and real estate agent broke the law by not including it. But my best advice here is to ask your own solicitor.

 

What are my options if they don't want to play ball? 

 

First, how much is it bugging you? If you can stand the occasional drops in water pressure then perhaps you don't need to do anything. Alternatively, approach the neighbour again and politely explain the problems it's causing you and request they fix it within a reasonable time (say 6 months) but advise that if the council starts charging for water then they will need to fix it immediately.

 

And if they won't play ball, and you didn't agree to supplying you neighbour with water when you bought the house, I'd imagine you're entitled to cut the pipe at your garden tap, and again at the fence line.

 

This won't help with your goal of not antagonising the neighbour, but now he's aware of the problem, if he refuses to do anything about it then he's knowingly antagonising you.


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  # 1756267 4-Apr-2017 12:57
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I would try and get them to sort their own supply ASAP.  Better to do it now than when the water supplier one day starts metering. 

 

It would be nice to do it in a cordial fashion. 

 

Surely they can see it from your perspective? You don't want their water use impacting you. 

 

 

 

 





Mike



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  # 1756287 4-Apr-2017 13:18
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MikeAqua:

 

I would try and get them to sort their own supply ASAP.  Better to do it now than when the water supplier one day starts metering. 

 

It would be nice to do it in a cordial fashion. 

 

Surely they can see it from your perspective? You don't want their water use impacting you. 

 

 

Couldn't agree more, but I guess I need to find out what each of our rights and obligations are so I can go back to them and (hopefully) be able to show them that its actually something that isn't really optional. Hopefully the LIM will make that clear.

 

The quote was for directional drilling, I'll try to find out if open trenching will be cheaper, but I think it would have to be done by hand because of access limitations. Anyone know any cheap laborers in Christchurch? I'm not going to kid myself by pretending I would be of any use helping to dig a trench!

 

I've been the one organizing quotes (with the neighbors permission) since I have the most motivation to see the job done, I'm also trying to make it as easy for them as possible. Having seen the quote I am sympathetic, so I'll see if it can be done cheaper.


 
 
 
 




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  # 1756298 4-Apr-2017 13:27
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andrew027:

 

@Paul1977: So this advice assumes you and your back neighbour own (or are at least mortgaged owners) of your houses. Also, standard IANAL clause applies.

 

Start by going to council to look at the LIM and any other records you can find from the time the neighbour's house was built, to see if there is any note of this arrangement being put in place. You don't have to tell council what you're looking for, just ask for everything and go through it.

 

Can this current setup possibly be legal? 

 

I'd say no, unless there is an easment or agreement listed against your property. If there is, it should have been listed in the sale and purchase agreement when you bought the house. And if there is, and it wasn't listed, it's possible the vendor and real estate agent broke the law by not including it. But my best advice here is to ask your own solicitor.

 

What are my options if they don't want to play ball? 

 

First, how much is it bugging you? If you can stand the occasional drops in water pressure then perhaps you don't need to do anything. Alternatively, approach the neighbour again and politely explain the problems it's causing you and request they fix it within a reasonable time (say 6 months) but advise that if the council starts charging for water then they will need to fix it immediately.

 

And if they won't play ball, and you didn't agree to supplying you neighbour with water when you bought the house, I'd imagine you're entitled to cut the pipe at your garden tap, and again at the fence line.

 

This won't help with your goal of not antagonising the neighbour, but now he's aware of the problem, if he refuses to do anything about it then he's knowingly antagonising you.

 

 

I'll dig out all the paper work from the house purchase tonight. I don't recall anything on there, but it's a few years ago now. Depending on what that says I might see my solicitor also as you suggest - probably worth the money to know exactly where I stand.


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  # 1756304 4-Apr-2017 13:29
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A halfway option could be to install a pressure reducer on their pipe. That way they will have less impact on your pressure, and they might be further incentivised to sort out the situation


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  # 1756352 4-Apr-2017 14:42
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If the pipe is only 10mm that probably is already restricting the neighbour's connection. I would be wondering why that is causing a noticeable drop in the main connection.



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  # 1756390 4-Apr-2017 15:32
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Bung: If the pipe is only 10mm that probably is already restricting the neighbour's connection. I would be wondering why that is causing a noticeable drop in the main connection.

 

Because the pressure isn't that flash to begin with.


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  # 1756399 4-Apr-2017 15:51
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If your house is much older have you checked that your pipe isn't an old galvanised one? By now that will be almost completely blocked internally with rust. If you have a tap in the garden at the front does that have better flow than taps further back?

You and your neighbour could both be in line for new pipes :-)

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  # 1756405 4-Apr-2017 15:58
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Cross leased properties are a nightmare - I am dealing with a cross-leased block of 8 flats in Christchurch, of which I own 2. The water main which services all 8 units located under the shared driveway has just sprung a serious leak for the second time in a year. There is water gushing out over the footpath and onto the road and it's been like that for a few weeks now. I organised a plumber to fix it the first time this happened last year, and I am still waiting for a couple of the other unit owners to pay me back for that work, so there is no way I am going to arrange to have it fixed a second time and be out of pocket even more.

 

The sad reality is that none of the other owners are likely to do anything about it either.


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  # 1756448 4-Apr-2017 16:59
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My wife works in property law. Her advice is to contact a property lawyer for advice. Because this is a complex and unusual situation the lawyer will likely need to do some research.

 

She says not to get a LIM, the answer may be on the title documents. She said the council likely doesn't care.

 

Before doing anything extreme like turning the neighbor's water off or even restricting it, you may want to bear in mind that with a cross lease property you may need that neighbor's good will in the future. For example, if you extend your house in a way that changes the outline of the house as shown on the flat plan, you will need the neighbor's permission for these changes to be made on the Land Registry documents. With cross lease properties, keeping good relations with the neighbors is always a good plan.


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  # 1756458 4-Apr-2017 17:39
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Paying the plumber would be cheaper than the lawyer!

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