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Aspiring Contributor
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Message 1 of 22

A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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Evening all, I appear to be have a problem falling between 2 stools: BT and Openreach, and would like some advice about how to proceed.

 

I moved into a new house a year ago, the previous owner did little to look after the garden. there are two lines crossing the garden, one for my house, the other for several properties down the road.

 

My question is who do I contact for maintenence on this second line (the one that is not mine).

 

Openreach give me the option of paying several hundred pounds to start a conversation, but as the line is not mine, if seems not right I have to pay for the priviledge. It crosses about 40 metres of the property through significant tree cover so this is not something that could be done without originally having access to the property, and it could not be repeated\replaced without further access.

 

I have checked old wayleave agreements, and while there is an old agreement from the 1960's from the then owner of the property, this does not cover the aerial line, rather another subterranean cable.

 

So who do I speak to to start this conversation to confirm the responsibility for this line, future maintenence, and if there is any other wayleave considerations.

 

many thanks in advance

 

 

 

 

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 2 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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Openreach believe that they generally don't nead a specific wayleave for a flying wire https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/contactus/wayleaves/wayleavesfaqs/wayleavesfaqs.do-

 

Under certain circumstances, Openreach is allowed to "fly wires" over an adjacent property from an existing pole without the need for a wayleave. This permission only applies providing we do not need to enter the property concerned to do so, that the wires are at a height of 3m or more, and that they do not interfere with the normal business on the property.

 

Openreach don't do maintenance anyway.  If it ain't broke don't fix it.  If it does break, it's Openreach's problem to sort it.

 

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Aspiring Contributor
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Message 3 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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Thanks Ectophile,

 

a good starting point, so to query each point

 

1. Flying wayleave. The line threads through several trees, that may not have been there when it was put in, but 40M is a long way for a wire to pass without entering the property, and a replacement certainly could not be put in place now given the growth.

2. So if it aint broke, but I need to cut down a tree, to I simply

cut it down then call openreach with a problem, and face neighbours ire,

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Aspiring Contributor
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Message 4 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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to continue (fat fingers)
option b: tell them I am clairvoyant and that the line is about to break
option c: say I want to make them aware of the work but as it is not my line I don't understand why I should pay for something crossing my land.
thanks for the feedback thus far
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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 5 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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Hmm, interesting conundrum. In the old days, BT would have kept the trees trimmed back if there was a possibility that they would have chafed through the cable. Not sure if this is still the case, but presume not. If you cut the trees and accidently damage the cable in the process, then I suspect you are liable for the costs of re-instating the cable. Really not sure how you proceed with this. Have you tried speaking to Openreach on 0800 023 2023?

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Aspiring Contributor
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Message 6 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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Indeed I have, and the issue becomes lost in the circular conundrum, like you describe above. Ending in a request for payment in lieu of a visit.
There is a page for external network relocation, with a helpful questionnaire that included '3rd party lines' in the options. But that has the mandatory checkbox stating "Yes, I agree to pay for any work carried out", again catch 22 - how can I agree without understanding the costs. (https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/submitFeedback.do?contactReason=remove_relocate_external_netwo...

This also bypasses the point that I have generally no issue with the line except when wanting to cut down a large tree that may hit it.
A pragmatic conversation along the lines of: "we understand our line, crosses your garden to provide a paid for service for someone else and we can work together for a solution".

does this sound so impossible - or turn on a light bulb
for a solution ?
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Aspiring Expert
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Message 7 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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@barnes_johnathan, just a question (to clarify,) you wrote that you moved to a'new' house a year ago, but I'm assuming the house wasn't 'new' as such, it was an existing house that was 'new' to you. I'm asking this because you also wrote about an old agreement from the 1960's, and the garden being at least 40m across, this doesn't tie up for a 'new' development!
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Aspiring Contributor
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Message 8 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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you are correct in asking for a clarification. The house is new to me, but was built in the 19th Century. The existing subterranean wayleave dates from the late 60's and is text only, with no map available ut assumed to follow the course of the road. The flying line effectively connects from the ground junction box, back over my garden to where several new houses we built at some point after that.

thanks for asking

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 9 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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I think your only realistic option is to cut down the tree extremely carefully avoiding any damage to the cable. I very much doubt Openreach would be prepared to temporarily disconnect the customers whilst the work is carried out. It wouldn't be a trivial task in any case. The cost of removing the tree from the top down rather than felling would probably be cheaper than any charges Openreach would levy for damage.

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Aspiring Contributor
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Message 10 of 22

Re: A phoneline that is not mine crosses my garden - am I responsible to pay for maintenence.

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Thanks Licquorice, a sensisible approach, but of course one still performed at my risk and extra cost. In effect I am paying either way for inintentional damage, scheduled maintenence work or inconvenience by way of needing to use a more expensive process, for maintenence of my own property.

 

So in summary, we are saying that BT (openreach or whomwever) can place a 3rd party flying line over my property without ongoing agreement (wayleave), and from that point I have no rights to manage\maintain that line without incurring financial costs, and indeed I have to assume liability for any accidental damage.

 

If that statement is true, BT must have many people over a barrel, is it ?

 

as always feedback is appreciated.

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