Retaining wall - who is responsible?

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  • Retaining wall - who is responsible?

    I am doing my own conveyancing to buy a btl. The rear boundary is a high retaining wall that goes across 4 terraces. The seller assures me that the business that is on the land behind is responsible for its maintenance. The deeds do not mention it.
    I was under the impression that any wall not mentioned in the deeds as belonging to one property or the other was deemed to be a party wall with joint responsibility for maintenance. Is this correct?
    Is there anywhere else I can look to see who owns it?
    Does the fact that it spans four properties mean that it belongs to the business, or is this just and assumption and not legally enforceable?
    There is no mention in the deeds that they have right of access through my garden to repair it.

    If anyone knows the answer I would be very grateful for some advice. I need this to be legally watertight as it will cost thousands should it have to be re-built.

  • #2
    You are right to be cautious get copy of deeds for business adjoining from land registry assuming title registered. If deeds are silent consider walking away particularly if the wall is not in good condition.

    You can not draw any conclusions on ownership by assumption that would give you certainty.


    • #3
      As Alexlandlord mentions checking the affected registered titles can assist but take a look at our online FAQs re boundaries as well -


      • #4
        Thank you for your replies. As you suggested I am trying to look at the deeds for the property behind.

        Land Registry rep - it's slightly complicated as I believe business A rents the land behind 'my' property from business B which is adjacent.
        Business A results from Find a Property are "Sorry, we have been unable to find a property that matches
        your enquiry. Please try searching in a different area."

        Business B comes up with "Sorry, we do not have a record of any titles for this property. This does not
        necessarily mean that the property is unregistered."

        Can you advise how I can see the deeds for business B? Is there another way to get the information from the Land Registry, or do I have to go & knock n the door....?


        • #5
          If the property is rented then it may come back to the freehold ownership anyway - all depends on the demise/extent of the lease etc

          If the postal address searched against has generated a lot of information e.g. several business units/leases all using the same or similar postal address in some way. Especially true if there is one large freehold title with numerous leases. The system would not reveal these electronically. Whilst some users might welcome this others might be aggrieved that they then had to look at each individual title and pay £3 a time.

          For Business B I would do a paper search using form SIM to establish what title(s) if any the title is registered. A plan identifying the precise piece of land/property would also be required. Our online FAQs refer to the process under Ownership of land/property

          The paper application is completed by return and any freehold and/or leasehold titles would be revealed. You could then search online against each title as appropriate or make further paper applications as you wish.

          Business A's result is likely to be related to the address searched against i.e. the address does not match that held. The paper SIM application mentioned above would resolve that but obviously any plan used would need to identify the full extent to be searched - if you have a copy of the plan for the title you are interested in buying and it also shows Business A and B then a copy of this clearly marked could be used.

          If you remain unsure of what is required then Contact Us via the website either by email or phone as directed and we can explain the processes as necessary.


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