Neighbour wants to dig up my alleyway...

Not really a DIY question (for me at least), but I'm just looking for a few pointers and this groups seems one of the sanest I've used...
My new neighbour, (3 houses away) a builder/developer is renovating the property but has a problem with the house in-front of it (really an unused shop) - his Electricity and water come through it and the current owner isn't happy about it. (Neither would I be, I guess)
Anyway, neighbour wants to dig up my alleyway to run new water & electricity supplys into his property. He says he'll do it all properly & make sure his lawyer contacts our lawyer to get the right approval, whatever, and he'll make good by laying a new pathway round my house (and round the 2 other houses he has to go by too)
I principle I think this will be OK (we could do with a new pathway!) and I don't doubt his building skills, etc. but I'm just after any info regarding stuff I ought to be aware off, things to ask, etc.
Any hints & advice would be appreciated!
Thanks,
Gordon
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 11:20:09 +0000 (UTC), Gordon Henderson wrote:

First thing I'd do is get a letter off to him, agreeing in principle to his request, but strictly subject to all your legal requirements being in place. That way, if he goes ahead without legal things tied up, you have got something you can point to.
All works and legal costs, including yours, to be at his expense. I'd think you'd also need to grant him some form of easement or permission to cover the route of the services, with a right to dig up, repair and make good, again strictly at his expense.
A decent conveyancing solicitor should be able to advise you on what is required. That sort of thing should be their bread and butter.
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"Wanderer" wrote | Gordon Henderson wrote: | > Anyway, neighbour wants to dig up my alleyway to run new water & | > electricity supplys into his property. He says he'll do it all properly | > & make sure his lawyer contacts our lawyer to get the right approval, | > whatever, and he'll make good by laying a new pathway round my house | > (and round the 2 other houses he has to go by too) | First thing I'd do is get a letter off to him, agreeing in principle to | his request, but strictly subject to all your legal requirements being | in place. That way, if he goes ahead without legal things tied up, you | have got something you can point to. | All works and legal costs, including yours, to be at his expense. I'd | think you'd also need to grant him some form of easement or permission | to cover the route of the services, with a right to dig up, repair and | make good, again strictly at his expense.
Also, that he indemnifies you against all claims and holds public liability insurance for the works in progress.
Owain
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Thanks for all your replies! There really isn't any other route for him to get electricitiy & water into his property - other than the current route which appears to be through the property in-front of his (a shop opening onto the street) aparently the shop owner has turned the electricity and water off! He'll have to go through my alley and round the back of my house (no garden at that location) and then through 2 other neighbours paths to get to his house. It's a weird path (ex. cartway round the back of the houses) where everyone has right of way over it, but segments belong to individual house owners - mine is the last in the chain which leads out to the street.
I'm going to take some legal advice to make sure everything is going to be OK if I go ahead with the deal.
Thanks again,
Gordon
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Gordon Henderson wrote:

Ask for a fee for the disruption, say 1-2k On the other hand, there may be easements in your deeds to allow these services to be run through your land anyway. This is the case in many modern properties...
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Isn't that illegal? You (he) has the right to water for sanitation. As for the 'leccy - I'd contact "the board"
Paul
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The owner of the shop might actually be breaking the law here then...
Was the builders` gaff split off and sold off by the shop ?
If it was there should be something about services to the property, and if not, I would imagine there would be an implied easement in place. uk.legal would be a good place to check, but it isn`t your problem to resolve.
If the builder had a seperate* electricity meter where he paid an eleccy company direct for the supply, the shop owner may well be in trouble... At very least for interfering with the supply companys` equipment.
* even if it was a looped service from another premises - such "loops" are very common around here, and may houses don`t even have a cutout (main fuse) in the premises to enable them to isolate the supply
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I'm not completely sure how it all works TBH! The houses up the street from us are all a bit weird with flying freeholds, odd ups and downs, etc. Ours, being the end of the row is the most sensible one IMO! They are all very old too - ours is c1760... They were probably all shops at one point in time, but have been converted and changed about. I understand the extension to the house the building has was once the towns telephone exchange too (next door is the post office!)

Indeed. We're about to get in-touch with out lawyer type person and give him the details then they can sort it all out and if I'm not happy then I won't sign on the dotted line.
Cheers,
Gordon
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Two obvious problems: suppose that he digs a trench & leaves it open for a long time?
Suppose that he fills in badly and it then subsides?
You definitely need competent legal advice. Also talk to the local authority, there may be regulations.
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This sounds a potentially complex situation. Someone needs to look into the deeds to find out exactly what easements might already be in place for this cartway and how this proposed work might affect any intersted parties.
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On Sun, 30 Nov 2003 14:30:10 +0000, Mark Evans

for an easement,dont agree anything with your neighbour and dont do any further work on it. If the utilities have no right of way through your property then they will have to apply for an easement,in which case you will be consulted. If you just agree infomrally then you may be bypassing a legal process.
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In my area the electricity company would have the agreement for the cable through your property not your new neighbour. Our water authority's responsibility stops at the boundary between the public footpath and our garden., I think who is responsible for your neighbours water pipe in your alley depends if it is adopted by the water authority or still owned by your new neighbour.
Getting a new path is fine, but what happens if the cable or pipe fails or you accidentally damage it, the path would have to be dug up. If your new neighbour sells the house the buyer may not be keen in expensive reinstatements to your path if they ever have to repair the pipe.
I wouldn't sign permanent agreement, as these services would become a burden on your property,
I can give you a few other points of line if you want.
Hope this helps.
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Also make sure his insurance is up to date in case things go really badly wrong. I guess you'd really need an official contract, as well as some quality factor on the final making good of the alley.
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I take it there is currently no electricity to the place they`re doing up ? - if there is, and there`s a fault, its down to the electricity company to restore supply at their own cost.
If they have no supply, the builders shouldn`t be asking about the run of the cable - the wayleave officer of the electricity company should be.
You do not have to grant them permission either...
Is the route through yours *really* the only way a supply could be provided to this premises ? - it may be that the builder is trying to hedge his bets and see if he can get the work done on the cheap, rather than having to pay for an extension of the mains (to minimise volt drop) and a new service via public highway.
As the other reply said, if a fault developed in the future, you could be the one left with all the hassle.
You may also find a bidding war between you and the owners of alternative routes to see who`ll grant them permission first, and the builder will have to pay those costs. Either way, a wayleave would be required and you shouldn`t allow any work until its in place.
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