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Title: Issues with Plumbing Revealed After House Refurbishment: Who Holds Responsibility?

Recently, I completed the purchase of a Victorian end-of-terrace house in a dilapidated condition. I embarked on a full refurbishment project, including the renovation of the kitchen. Unfortunately, post-refurbishment, an unexpected plumbing issue has arisen, leading to concerns regarding legal responsibilities. However, the AI Legalese Decoder can offer valuable assistance in comprehending the complex situation and potential resolutions.

Plumbing Mishap Unveiled:
After hiring a plumber to relocate the boiler and address convoluted water pipes that were concealed behind flimsy wooden panels in my kitchen, a distressing discovery was made. The plumber found that the water main supplying my property was connected just inside my back door. Consequently, he turned off this main and removed the pipework, causing the water supply to be disrupted until tomorrow.

Neighbor’s Water Supply Dependent on My Plumbing:
Surprisingly, shortly after the plumber departed, my adjoining neighbor inquired about the availability of water in my property. I explained that the water was disconnected due to the plumber’s actions, prompting us to contact the water company for assistance. Subsequently, the water company confirmed that a pipe originating from the corner of my kitchen, visibly attached to the wall, provided mains water to my neighbor’s residence.

Dilemma Regarding Legal Responsibility:
Amidst this situation, uncertainty surrounds the legal obligations involved. My concern stems from the fact that my neighbor’s property relies on exposed pipework within my kitchen, rather than being directly connected to the water main. The water company insisted that it was my responsibility to promptly reactivate the neighbor’s water supply, citing no substantial reasoning for their stance.

Potential Implications and Financial Burden:
There is a looming worry that when the plumber returns tomorrow, he may inform me that reconnecting the neighbor’s water supply could result in significant costs. Moreover, I had initially removed the pipework due to its unsightly appearance. The plumber went as far as embedding the new pipes in concrete within the floor, making it inconvenient to reconnect the neighbor’s water supply without potentially causing damage.

Legal Implications and Accountability:
Oddly, this issue did not emerge during property inquiries or searches. The title register of both properties lacks any mention of relevant covenants or obligations regarding this situation. From my perspective, it would seem logical for the neighboring property’s owner, being a landlord, to ensure their water supply is individually connected. Alternatively, the water company should bear the cost of linking the neighbor to their own supply, since the neighbor already pays them substantial amounts annually for water.

Ensuring Fairness and Adequate Solutions:
Naturally, it is my desire to resolve this matter in a fair and appropriate manner. As a responsible homeowner, I am empathetic towards the tenant next door who should not be deprived of water service. However, I am aware that the landlord has a reputation for being reluctant to spend money on property maintenance. The water company representative verified that usage for neither property is metered; thus, I have not been inadvertently subsidizing my neighbor’s water consumption.

AI Legalese Decoder as a Solution:
In light of the complexity surrounding this situation, seeking advice is crucial before discussing the matter further with the plumber. The AI Legalese Decoder can provide invaluable assistance in comprehending legal intricacies and recommending potential courses of action. Its expertise will help me navigate the underlying legal concerns and reach a satisfactory resolution for all parties involved.

In conclusion, the unexpected plumbing issue has raised questions regarding legal responsibilities pertaining to the neighbor’s water supply. While uncertainties persist, the assistance of the AI Legalese Decoder can shed light on possible solutions and alleviate concerns.

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View Reference


  • C2BK

    This is very common in Victorian terraces, and yes you as a property owner are liable for your actions in having removed your neighbour’s water supply.

    I would contact your house insurance company and ask for their advice; you may have free legal advice under your policy.

    Your plumber may well have been negligent in removing all of the pipework without first checking whether they’re cutting off someone else’s water supply. Your insurance company *may* arrange for it to be reinstated and pursue your plumber’s professional indemnity insurance to recover their costs.

    EDIT: If your supply from the mains to your kitchen is via lead pipework then your water company may have a “lead pipe” scheme to contribute greatly to the cost of removing the existing supply to both properties and providing a new separate metered supply to each property – but that’s a longer term solution.

  • Jealous-Stable3630

    Can you not install a temporary solution? Get a flexible upvc blue pipe and connect it between the mains (in your property) and the point where it goes to the neighbours property. Leave it above ground till all the work gets done!

  • crystalbumblebee

    I have this in my house. When I replumbed the plumber fitted a tap so that I could turn off the supply to my house but not the neighbours at the same time. It wasn’t complicated and made the rest of the renovation easier

  • Keycuk

    I work for a water company and used to do the role of the person who came out to you. They were correct it is a private issue between you and your neighbour unfortunately. But as someone else said if you have a lead supply pipe (Pipe that runs from property boundary to inside stop tap) then your local water company may have a replacement scheme. They also may have a replacement scheme for shared supply (Which is what you currently have) if there are problems with it (Low pressure/flow or a leak or other problems). It is worth phoning them again or checking the website for more info.

  • liquidio

    Assuming that the pipe arrangement has been in place for over 20 years, your neighbour will have an ‘easement by prescription’ – a right to have a pipe run over your property to maintain their supply. They will also have a ancillary right to maintain that pipe if needed.

    There are other ways to gain an easement, but that is the most likely situation if it’s not mentioned on the deeds.

    This doesn’t need to be a big deal – just ensure they have a functioning temporary connection asap and then ensure that one is installed suitable for the long term.

  • el_matt

    Not a lawyer, but I’ve been through 3 property purchases and in each case searches returned a water supply and drainage report indicating where all the local pipework went and which properties it served. If your local authority or solicitor didn’t flag this up before you exchanged, cna anyone indicate whether you have any recourse to them?

  • durtibrizzle

    I’m afraid this is your problem, yep.

    I think your plumber must have been negligent not to notice that one of the pipes that was previously being supplied wasn’t hooked up to a new supply. See what he says about fixing the issue.

  • GwenDragon

    As a bit of an aside and you may already have thought this, when the plumber comes back, ask him to put an isolator in so you can turn off the water independently of next door. That should resolve almost all issues in future.

    Apologies to moderators – I know this isn’t legal advice per se but I hope it’s helpful enough that you’ll think it’s ok?

  • UK-USfuzz

    So, you’re paying your neighbor’s water bill? Do they have a meter?

  • [deleted]


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