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‘My neighbour has laid an artificial lawn that is causing flooding in my garden. What can I do?’

Dear Property Doctors, 

My neighbour has had an artificial lawn laid in his garden. This was installed on an impermeable compacted hardcore base with a sand blinding on top. His garden is higher than ours, and the whole lawn was laid at a pitch that falls towards our boundary fence.

The result is that the lawn on our side of the boundary fence has become waterlogged, to the point where the weight of a footprint creates pools of water around the foot. Our lawn area further away from the boundary fence is not affected in the same way, nor is our lawn near the boundary fence closer to our house where he has a conservatory rather than an imitation lawn on the other side.

What recourse do we have?

PG, by email

In my view you have a claim here under the law of nuisance. That says that a person cannot unreasonably carry out work on his land which damages his neighbour’s property.  

Clearly, when the artificial lawn was laid, some thought should have been given to the flooding risk and it seems it was not  The best way forward will be for you to discuss the matter with your neighbour and try and come up with a solution to the problem. Although your neighbour ought to pay for it, to avoid litigation there is much to be said for you making some contribution to the cost.

If that is not possible, then your only remedy is to bring a claim in the county court for an injunction requiring your neighbour to carry out the necessary work and for damages (that is compensation) for any losses you have suffered which can include inconvenience and distress.  

Such litigation would inevitably be expensive. You would certainly need a surveyor or other expert to advise what needs to be done to prevent the flooding.

David Fleming is the head of property litigation at William Heath & Co solicitors (williamheath.co.uk)

Every week, The Telegraph’s Property Doctors bring expertise on renovations and DIY, planning, buying and selling, lettings, legal issues and taxes. Send your questions to propertydoctors@telegraph.co.uk

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