Should I sign a deed of easement?

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Jackie235 | 18:20 Wed 11th Feb 2009 | Property
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Hi! We purchased a new build house in Nov 06. We have been approached by a solicitor for the water board asking us to sign a deed of easement so they can have access to the main drain in th centre of the garden. However this means they will need access to the WHOLE garden right up to our patio doors! If they need to dig it up they want 3 meters either side for pilling up the muck and thats pretty much our whole garden! I realise that if there is a problem with the drain I dont want to be footing the bill for it but the deed says that the water board can appear at any time without warning, remove our fence, dig up the garden, patio, move the shed etc, do what they need to do and then not have to put it back the way it was? Sorry this is a bit long winded but not sure ehat to do, any help?? Thanks


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The solicitor has said that the searches were only for public sewers and this was apparently classed as a private sewer that is in my garden until it is adopted by Northubrian Water.
I also found out yesterday that on the origional approved plans for the phase of the estate there was a road where my garden is and this incorperated the sewer. however they sent in an amendment to the plans to remove the redundant road and add it to my and my neighbours.
the builders (grainger homes plc) have not informed anyone about the sewer until now.
My thoughts are I wouldn't have bought that house if I had known
Going to see an independant solicitor now once I have extracted a copy of my file from the origional solicitor that dealt with the purchase of the house

Any further thoughts from you guys, Thanks
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we are no further forward at the moment, Grainger Homes (PLG) have now been in touch as we have apparently not responded to the solicitor.

I am not sure quite what to do now. Our garden is effectively useless once the deed of easment is signed. I will be asking them to put in it that if any damage is done that they return the garden to its former state .

But, im still not happy that Grainger didnt see fit to tell me that the garden contained a unadopted sewer when I bought the house, do I have any right to ask for compensation from them for mis-selling or failing to disclose?

I feel that anyone purchasing the house in the future should I decide to sell would be told about this from water and drainage searches, however i never go the chance. had i known i dont think i would have bought that particular house and would have opted for one with a usable garden.

Any leagal eyes looking at this what do you think????
jacki my sister is having the same problem as you she is at the end of her tether she bought her house from barratts
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finally had a meeting with the solicitor appointed by grainger homes acting on our behalf, he said that there were grounds for compensation as we were never informed about the sewer in the 1st place. thing is, once this easement is signed, if we ever put the house back on the market, the potential buyer would be informed by their solicitor - "you have a sewer in the garden, you cant build on it, don't buy it!". We never got this chance! We think Grainger should buy te house back, sort 'their' sewers out and then sell it on. Any thoughts.

Hows yr sister getting on with barratts
I found this thread when Googling "deed of easement", and I'm adding this note in case anyone else arrives here looking for information about sewers. this is stuff gained from 2 years of house hunting, and a couple of other people's experiences. It's a little long, so I'm splitting into two parts

If you are thinking of buying a house:

1) If there's a manhole in the garden - ASK WHAT IT'S FOR. Don't let an EA or the owner say, "Oh, it doesn't matter - nobody's ever used it." If there's a problem they might need to. Two friends were hoping to extend their newly bought (ex-council) house at the back, and discovered - like the OP here - that the manhole meant that the water board needed access, and they could not build over it. No one had told them that in advance.

2) Don't believe that it won't be needed in a new house. We live in a group of houses built in 1999-2000, and there was recently a problem with a blocked sewer. It was cleared fairly easily, but the neighbour who works for the water board said that it might have required additional work, and that could have meant using our manhole.

Point 3 below
3) CHECK THE HIP YOURSELF - THOROUGHLY. One property we looked at seemed very nice. We looked carefully at the HIP when we had prised it out of the EA. The garage had been built over the main public sewer for the whole road - which was long, and old. The property developer who'd done that had then built an extension to give a fifth bedroom over the garage.

The HIP actually stated, "The map of waterworks does not indicate any water mains, resource mains or discharge pipes within the boundaries of the property.." The attached map showed the line of "contaminated water" going through the property boundary. Originally it had gone between the property and a detached garage, but the developer had moved the garage! So double-check looking at the maps. Incidentally a few HIP providers need to be sued as well.

This particular house dated back to the nineteenth century, so the sewers might be similarly dated. If there had been a serious problem then the water board might have had to pull down the garage and part of the house to repair the damage. If they'd needed 3m either side that would have involved demolition of the garage, the bedroom above it, a good chunk of the kitchen and part of the bathroom.

Now I don't think it would have gone that far - most of the manholes I've seen have not had a full 3m clearance each side. The one in our current (rented, built 2000) property is only 1m from the house. Still, I would not have wanted to run the risk of having part of the property *over* an old sewer run.

Would my solicitor have seen it? Probably not - he's a good solicitor, but not necessarily one who thinks its his job to scrutinise the maps, if the searches say, "no problem" in the text. The HIP regs mean that you have the ability to look at the maps yourself - do so.

BTW, I think HIPs regs do not apply to new houses, so that the OP could not have gone down that route. As I said, I'
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Update! Our land registry document has a map attached to it showing the public sewers to be located in front of our houses on the road. Our solicitor is looking into the drainage search carried out at the time by our solicitor and one ive just purchased from Northumbrian Water. the earlier one did not show any public sewers, but todays one shows them right in the middle of the garden! someone has definantley made a balls up when planning the last phase of houses!

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