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Owner of Mid-terrace House Poses Tricky Question Regarding Water Supply

Daniel Fitzpatrick

Daniel Fitzpatrick, Deputy Head of our Housing Law team offered advice in the ‘Home Front’ section of the Sunday Times (20th September 2020).

A Sunday Times reader wrote in to ask for assistance in a dispute they were having with a neighbour. The anonymous reader, who lives in a mid-terrace house, shares a water supply with the adjacent property. Their neighbour recently had a pump fitted to their shower, resulting in the reader’s water supply cutting out when the neighbour uses their shower.

When the home owner approached their neighbour to discuss the issue, they were dismissive about the reader’s concerns, telling them that it was “not their problem” and that they should instead raise the issue with the water board. However, the water board informed the reader that the water pressure was meeting their legal obligation and were unwilling to investigate further. With their neighbour still refusing to co-operate, the reader wrote in to The Sunday Times to ask for expert advice.

Daniel responded: “It seems that the neighbour has interfered with your existing service pipe or supply of water under section 64, subsection 2(d)of the Water Industry Act 1991, by fitting a shower pump that interferes with your water pressure. Under this act and section I think the water supplier has a duty to remedy the situation to ensure that it is not in breach of its duty to provide a supply of water to your premises. The water board will likely have a complaints process. 

Daniel also suggested that the reader “exhaust all internal procedures before trying a solicitor. Explain the situation and quote the section as to why it may have a responsibility to resolve the matter. Present a chronology of events and evidence of how the water pressure is not meeting legal obligations. This could be through a diary that you have kept to show that the problem is persistent.”

Daniel Fitzpatrick has been a Partner at Hodge Jones and Allen since 2007, and is regularly invited to give his views and insights into housing and property dispute matters.