Q&A - Neighbour entered without permission, causing damage to our land. What can we do?

Q: We had not visited our holiday cottage for over a year until last week. Instead of the enjoyable, long awaited break we hoped for, however, it was a nightmare. Our neighbour had built himself a pond and large wooden leisure structure, clearly using our land as access without our permission. Our fence, which he must have temporarily removed, is damaged and our garden is a quagmire as the pond is leaking into our garden. His place is also a holiday home, and no-one appeared whilst we were down there. We were told by another neighbour that he is aware of the problems he has caused us but seems unconcerned. What should we do?

A: Firstly, your neighbour broke the law by trespassing on your land. In law trespass is defined as any “intentional direct interference” with a person’s possession of land without their consent. By entering your property, removing your fence, and allowing water to escape from his pond across your property, your neighbour has interfered with your land.

Seemingly the biggest problem is the continuous discharge of water which you clearly need to stop immediately. You can apply to the court for compensatory damages for the trespass and can also apply for an injunction order requiring the neighbour to repair the leak that is causing the flow of water onto your land. In addition, you could claim damages for the nuisance of this unlawful interference with your use or enjoyment of land.

However, before starting any court action it would be wise to try and meet with your neighbour to discuss the problems amicably. If this fails to bring a result, write and tell him you will be taking the matter to court. A dispute resolution solicitor with experience of handling the complex areas of trespass law and resolving disputes will be able to help you.

Article 03/05/2021

This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

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Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

James Denton

James Denton

Solicitor

Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team in the Oswestry and Wrexham offices.