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Soakaways - farmer has crushed 60+yr old soakaway. Who is liable?

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  • Soakaways - farmer has crushed 60+yr old soakaway. Who is liable?

    My father bought his house from a farmer in 1994.¬* The house is about 200yrs old and has a soakaway that is about 100-150m away in a field - that was, of course, the farmers at the time.¬* ¬*The field was sold on farmers' passing.¬* The current owner was informed of the location of the soakaway, but year on year has continued to plough/farm over it.¬* The previous farmer had left this area untouched because of¬* the soakaway. My father had put posts in the area to mark it out to deter them but they just kept taking them out and continuing.¬*
    It looks like now the tank has been completely crushed as there is a pool of green sludge with algae on it at the edge of the field where the tractor has left tracks.¬* There is also water coming out the ground halfway up the piping system.¬*

    I am unsure of the liability now of the situation, as we have no funds available to fix this.¬* And had it been left untouched as the previous farmer had there would have been no issue. I know that the law did change recently, though what I found related to the installation of new systems and not to older ones.¬*¬*

    Has anyone got any experience on this?¬*¬*

    We have tried to figure out where else on our land would be suitable for a soakaway, but the location it is on, and the course the pipes take were the ones with a fall away from the property, anything else is uphill so I guess at the time was unsuitable.¬* Though now that we have heavy machinery that isn't such an issue. It would just be lack fo access.¬*


    ¬*
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  • #2
    It is not clear from what you write - is the soakaway located on your father's land or the farmer's? If the latter presumably some agreement was in place with the previous farmer to allow its location there?

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    • #3
      the way i read it; is the house was sold "seperately" to the field, to two different parties (?).

      if this is correct; i believe it's their property so they can (as general statement) "do what they want with it", UNLESS - there were stipulations in the land or properties documentation pertaining to said soakaway (it definitely should be mentioned in both regardless (and ideally this issue should have been remedied PRIOR to sale(s)).

      thus; speculatively; there is potential liability on the farmer for "damaging your property" but also speculative liability on yourself for "unlawful use of somebody elses property", potentially also on the estate agents (as above) thus i would very much try to find said stipulations of rights etc and try to avoid any argument as you are providing irrigation for their crops at the moment (which is a pretty good deal for both of you, seemingly).

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