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Topic # 239690 30-Jul-2018 17:20
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Do neighbours have any legal obligation to prevent surface water from entering another private property?

 

Our section is adjacent to a school. The school land is all slightly higher than ours. Quite a lot of water comes onto our property due to the shallow slope down onto our section.

 

There is a boundary fence between the two properties and it has a concrete nib along its base. However the nib is in most places at ground level and doesn't stop much water from coming over.


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  Reply # 2065124 30-Jul-2018 18:02
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Not if that's the drainage regime that has always existed, it's called Natural Servitude. 

 

Different story if there's been recent work done on the neighbouring property and the amount or the concentration of runoff has changed.


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  Reply # 2065173 30-Jul-2018 19:26
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Yep - although that only applies to natural water runoff, right? You can't have water coming out of a down-pipe, channeled off an impermeable surface or any kind of drain flowing onto your neighbour's property?

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 2065175 30-Jul-2018 19:28
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kryptonjohn:

 

Yep - although that only applies to natural water runoff, right? You can't have water coming out of a down-pipe, channeled off an impermeable surface or any kind of drain flowing onto your neighbour's property?

 

 

 

 

Im sure that's correct. I had this query with the last house we sold. Natural is nature, but any runoff thats caused by the house, drains, and other man made things, isn't allowed.


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  Reply # 2065214 30-Jul-2018 19:46
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Overland flow paths that spill across private land must be maintained and not diverted but private drainage from housing and other impermeable areas must be captured and detained at source pending slow discharge to avoid discharge peaks.  If a Council entity diverts a flow path without agreement or change at plan level then that is wrong, otherwise not much you can do about that one!




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  Reply # 2065254 30-Jul-2018 20:06
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Cheers for the above answers. I get on well with the school caretaker. He's letting me dig a shallow channel on their side of the boundary fence, to allow the surface water to head downhill and towards the street. Our section is like a swamp presently so any reduction in water coming over here is going to be a bonus.


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  Reply # 2065258 30-Jul-2018 20:10
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The leaky garage wall thread if you haven't seen it, has some ideas for capturing run off

 

https://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=141&topicid=239680

 

 


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  Reply # 2065478 31-Jul-2018 10:01
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So what would the situation be with a neighbors garage with rusted out guttering near the boundry? Would that be something i could contact the council about? 

 

We are of course the lower property and have a nice swamp of a lawn. 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2065507 31-Jul-2018 10:33
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ratsun81:

 

So what would the situation be with a neighbors garage with rusted out guttering near the boundry? Would that be something i could contact the council about? 

 

We are of course the lower property and have a nice swamp of a lawn. 

 

 

Good luck with that, getting the council to ask your neighbour to fix their guttering is probably one of the more inefficient ways of trying to have anything done....

 

also you must be suffering "harm"

 

see:

 

https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resources/research/reports/260/docs/260.pdf

 

Example

 

In Davis v Lethbridge [1976] (NZLR 689 Mahon J) the Court summarised the law relating to the natural servitude in some detail under a case in which the plaintiffs sought damages for nuisance.

 

Facts

 

The plaintiffs and defendants were owners of adjoining residential properties in a new subdivision. Prior to the subdivision, the plaintiffs’ land would receive surface water from the defendants’ land. The prior owner of the defendants’ land had built a concrete wall which deflected the natural flow of water from the defendants’ land on to the plaintiffs’ land. This was the position when the plaintiffs bought their land and then built a house on it. The defendants then bought their land and proceeded to fill the rear part of their land so that it was brought level with the top of the concrete wall. As a result, in heavy rain the surface water from the defendants’ land ran over the top of and in some places percolated through the wall, discharging at a point about halfway along the common boundary instead of at the end of it. The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction to prevent such occurrence.

 

 

The High Court set out the rule of natural servitude in detail.

 

 

The Court found that the building of the wall was only an intermediate stage, so that when the filling was complete the water flowed as before and therefore the plaintiffs had no right to seek an injunction preventing that flow of water. The Court also reaffirmed the position that there has to be some sort of "substantial harm" for a party to be successful and not merely a claim which technically amounts to a nuisance.

 

 


UHD

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  Reply # 2065549 31-Jul-2018 11:01
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ratsun81:

 

So what would the situation be with a neighbors garage with rusted out guttering near the boundry? Would that be something i could contact the council about? 

 

We are of course the lower property and have a nice swamp of a lawn. 

 

 

 

 

I'd probably recommend contacting the neighbour before the council but it sounds like they will need to rectify their drainage to stop it flowing on to your section.


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  Reply # 2065558 31-Jul-2018 11:18
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UHD:

 

ratsun81:

 

So what would the situation be with a neighbors garage with rusted out guttering near the boundry? Would that be something i could contact the council about? 

 

We are of course the lower property and have a nice swamp of a lawn. 

 

 

 

 

I'd probably recommend contacting the neighbour before the council but it sounds like they will need to rectify their drainage to stop it flowing on to your section.

 

 

Yep i tried that already, they weren't inclined to do so. Its a rental and the owner i've only seen once.... 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 


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