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Property Access Dispute

Hi, Just wondered whether anyone has any legal knowledge of property law. I own an end-terraced property that i rent out. I'm in the process of having a new roof installed as the current one has a leak into the bedroom every time there is heavy rain. Much to the annoyance of now previous tenant. Anyway, last year i appointed another roofer who on putting up the scaffold was sent a barrage of abusive threatening phone calls from my adjoining neighbour ordering the scaffold be taken down or face legal action. The roofer succumbed and left the job. Last week the latest roofer (who has taken 4 months to start) erected a scaffold and again the troll appeared. He contacted the scaffold company to complain and they obliged by moving a few poles etc. Later the same day i received a message from said neighbour, his words exactly:
"From the scaffolding the access is from our garden this is denied if this happens it will be trespassing and will be treated accordingly with a writ. With this in mind any damages will be charged to you photos of the yard are on file and will be enforced."

Now just to explain my entrance to the property is solely through my neighbours front yard. My tenant and any tradesmen, have no other access points to the property as the front door stands at first floor level with a garage underneath. My front yard measures around 15 feet x 5ft with a wall around it.

There is other history with this neighbour. Despite having a shared drive to our garages, I and the tenants have been unable to use the garage for a few years as the neighbour parks his car on the drive all day and night whilst he is at home / work. Last year whilst I had my car parked in my garage for a few weeks, when the property was empty, I returned to the house to fetch it and found it blocked in. I left my neighbour a civil note asking if he could refrain from parking in the drive so that I could get my car in and out and he threatened me, by saying it was not his problem and if i didn't like it, then come round and we could settle it face to face!

Does anyone know if my neighbour can actually stop any tradesmen from attending the property to complete works. I have approached a local solicitors firm but they wanted £500 on account and £265 just to provide an initial consultation on the issue. As my neighbour has not actually prevented the roofer from starting I thought i'd see how it goes before shelling out, then if the worst happens, consult a pro.

I find this kind of thing in my personal life very stressful (which is in contrast to how I would deal with such an arse in my professional life) and despite offers of visits from many not so well meaning friends (and tradesmen), I am trying to manage the situation in a legal agreeable manner.

Any constructive / informative advice is very much appreciated.
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Comments

  • edited September 2016
    Deck the twat, (from behind of course) then put the scaffolding on his car, when he complains tell him it's not your problem it's his and invite him to meet face to face to talk about it. In the meantime find a massive bouncer style guy you can hire to pretend to be you when this guy knocks, scare him half to death and you'll be able to get any traders in whenever you want!
  • edited September 2016
    Seriously though, hope it works out in the end, my girlfriend's family had a similar issue whereby they had an end of terrace with a rear garage that had access via a gated alleyway between houses, which everyone used to get to garages along the end of the gardens. New neighbour moved in when they were on holiday and put a massive padlock on the gate and refused to take it off, saying the land the alley is on is listed as his and it's everyone elses problem if they can't get their cars out, as it's private property. As you can imagine it got ugly very quickly and culminated in a guy coming with a chainsaw and cutting through the gate itself to get his Land Rover out, think in the end it was settled but doubt the neighbours swapped Christmas cards
  • sam3110 said:

    Seriously though, hope it works out in the end, my girlfriend's family had a similar issue whereby they had an end of terrace with a rear garage that had access via a gated alleyway between houses, which everyone used to get to garages along the end of the gardens. New neighbour moved in when they were on holiday and put a massive padlock on the gate and refused to take it off, saying the land the alley is on its listed as his and it's everyone elses problem if they can't get their cars out, as it's private property, got ugly very quickly and culminated in a guy coming with a chainsaw and cutting through the gate itself to get his Land Rover out.

    Seems like a lot of fuss.

    Just give the new tenants an umbrella each.
  • Greenie said:

    Whenever I read of neighbourly disputes like this I can help but think why are some people such arseholes? I mean what the hell has gone wrong with this tools life that he has to behave like this to someone. It beggars belief.

    Exactly what I was thinking. People are just c***s for the sake of it. My old man had a dispute like this with a tosser who's house backed onto his. He got it sorted but had to pay for a solicitor to do so. On the plus side the other bloke got found guilty of trying to solicite an underage girl a couple of years later so my old man had the last laugh.
  • Addickted said:

    Have you checked the covenants on the freehold of your property? There may be a right of entry specifically for the purposes of inspection or repair in the property’s legal documents.

    If there is no such right, or no agreement can be reached, the law allows you as the person wishing to carry out repairs to apply to the county court for an access order allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs.

    Is your roof completely separate from your neighbours? If not you will also have to enter into a Party Wall Agreement.

    Not too sure the house was built in 1850 and it's leasehold. They didn't even have cars to go in garages then, lol. As for access, the access has only ever been through their front yard. The previous owner of next door had a new roof put on around 2 years ago, before it was sold to the troll. They never consulted me or offered any paperwork when completing their new roof which adjoins mine. Slight side issue but one of the roofer's quoting, even suggested that the leaks could be caused by the neighbouring roof not being installed correctly on the joining flashing.

    Right so an Access Order, is that simple to apply for? Also a party wall agreement? The roofer has notified the neighbour today that he is due to begin work next Monday. Should I just leave it to him?
  • Addickted said:

    Have you checked the covenants on the freehold of your property? There may be a right of entry specifically for the purposes of inspection or repair in the property’s legal documents.

    If there is no such right, or no agreement can be reached, the law allows you as the person wishing to carry out repairs to apply to the county court for an access order allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs.

    Is your roof completely separate from your neighbours? If not you will also have to enter into a Party Wall Agreement.

    more or less this.
    When you bought the property your solicitors should found all this out and explained it to you.
    From experience i can say to anyone thinking of buying a property never ever buy one where you have to access it across someone elses. It's a fucking nightmare as the Prince is finding out.
  • Just to throw in. Talk of me being a landlord, for some, might make me sound like i'm some sort of wealthy landed gentry. I'm far from it. This one-bed house was all i could afford when i divorced penniless and it is all I own in the world of any value (unless you count the MG Maestro in my garage) so i'm not in a position to throw money around. This new 'stone' roof is not an expense I had hoped to be paying out for in my lifetime. The original roof is 165 years old, so the chances of it going in my ownership were slimish! Bugger.
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  • I'm sure I read about a similar issue on the "speed, plod and the law" section of the pistonheads forum fairly recently. Try searching "neighbour" and see what comes up. pistonheads.com/gassing/forum.asp?h=0&f=10

    Once you've by-passed comments from some fruit loops suggesting hammering frozen sausages into lawns and similar, you can get some proper advice from people who sound like they know what they are talking about. Good luck. As others have said many deeds to properties give automatic right of access to carry out repairs. See this also problemneighbours.co.uk/rights-under-access-to-neighbouring-land-act.html

    AFAIK, the law on blocking access is an odd one way thing. My recollection is, if your car was in a garage or further doen the drive, blocking your egress to the highway would be an offence. However, blocking your access into the drive would not be. You'd need to research that further though. It seems to be by virtue of S103 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. But that is worded so as to apply to someone blocking a drive by parking across it on the highway. Not someone parked on private land.

    Hope that helps a bit!
  • cafcfan said:

    I'm sure I read about a similar issue on the "speed, plod and the law" section of the pistonheads forum fairly recently. Try searching "neighbour" and see what comes up. pistonheads.com/gassing/forum.asp?h=0&f=10



    AFAIK, the law on blocking access is an odd one way thing. My recollection is, if your car was in a garage or further doen the drive, blocking your egress to the highway would be an offence. However, blocking your access into the drive would not be. You'd need to research that further though. It seems to be by virtue of S103 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. But that is worded so as to apply to someone blocking a drive by parking across it on the highway. Not someone parked on private land.

    Hope that helps a bit!

    Yes heard this myself.
  • This is tricky, I think addicted is on the right track. Suggest you contact local Citizen's Advice who will run you through options. Likely to conclude that you will need a Solicitor as it all looks rather messy. Shop around for quotes and check Solicitor has experience in this field.
    Suggest reading all relevant parts of link below:-

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/problems-where-you-live/neighbour-disputes/
  • Addickted said:

    Have you checked the covenants on the freehold of your property? There may be a right of entry specifically for the purposes of inspection or repair in the property’s legal documents.

    If there is no such right, or no agreement can be reached, the law allows you as the person wishing to carry out repairs to apply to the county court for an access order allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs.

    Is your roof completely separate from your neighbours? If not you will also have to enter into a Party Wall Agreement.

    more or less this.
    When you bought the property your solicitors should found all this out and explained it to you.
    From experience i can say to anyone thinking of buying a property never ever buy one where you have to access it across someone elses. It's a fucking nightmare as the Prince is finding out.
    Unfortunatly this house was all I could afford at the time in the location near to
    my kids. I don't think the solicotors ever mentioned any issues with joint /shared access to the garage or house. When my neighbour moved in last year, he even put up a new fence around his garden, which included an entrance gate and a gate to my property, for which i was never consulted. To my amazement he even added a top bolt to the inside of the outer gate, when in reality he could never bolt it as this could lock out my tenent or any of their visitors.
  • Addickted said:

    Have you checked the covenants on the freehold of your property? There may be a right of entry specifically for the purposes of inspection or repair in the property’s legal documents.

    If there is no such right, or no agreement can be reached, the law allows you as the person wishing to carry out repairs to apply to the county court for an access order allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs.

    Is your roof completely separate from your neighbours? If not you will also have to enter into a Party Wall Agreement.

    Not too sure the house was built in 1850 and it's leasehold. They didn't even have cars to go in garages then, lol. As for access, the access has only ever been through their front yard. The previous owner of next door had a new roof put on around 2 years ago, before it was sold to the troll. They never consulted me or offered any paperwork when completing their new roof which adjoins mine. Slight side issue but one of the roofer's quoting, even suggested that the leaks could be caused by the neighbouring roof not being installed correctly on the joining flashing.

    Right so an Access Order, is that simple to apply for? Also a party wall agreement? The roofer has notified the neighbour today that he is due to begin work next Monday. Should I just leave it to him?
    May be best to look up Access To Neighbouring Land Act 1992 and The Party Wall Act 1996.

    I've worked with both - particularly the Party Wall Act, but if it was involving my house I'd get an experienced Solicitor involved.

    I would also ask the Solicitor to investigate the roofing works carried out by your neighbour. If it adjoins any part of your property, they haven't issued you with a party wall notice and there is a defect as a result, it is a serious issue for your neighbour. Fines can be massive.



  • Addickted said:

    Addickted said:

    Have you checked the covenants on the freehold of your property? There may be a right of entry specifically for the purposes of inspection or repair in the property’s legal documents.

    If there is no such right, or no agreement can be reached, the law allows you as the person wishing to carry out repairs to apply to the county court for an access order allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs.

    Is your roof completely separate from your neighbours? If not you will also have to enter into a Party Wall Agreement.

    Not too sure the house was built in 1850 and it's leasehold. They didn't even have cars to go in garages then, lol. As for access, the access has only ever been through their front yard. The previous owner of next door had a new roof put on around 2 years ago, before it was sold to the troll. They never consulted me or offered any paperwork when completing their new roof which adjoins mine. Slight side issue but one of the roofer's quoting, even suggested that the leaks could be caused by the neighbouring roof not being installed correctly on the joining flashing.

    Right so an Access Order, is that simple to apply for? Also a party wall agreement? The roofer has notified the neighbour today that he is due to begin work next Monday. Should I just leave it to him?
    May be best to look up Access To Neighbouring Land Act 1992 and The Party Wall Act 1996.

    I've worked with both - particularly the Party Wall Act, but if it was involving my house I'd get an experienced Solicitor involved.

    I would also ask the Solicitor to investigate the roofing works carried out by your neighbour. If it adjoins any part of your property, they haven't issued you with a party wall notice and there is a defect as a result, it is a serious issue for your neighbour. Fines can be massive.



    Please let this happen to the bloke.
    This would be good but instructing solicitors to find out anything is expensive. The first thing to do is read your lease, everything should be on that.
  • And find out if you are even responsible for the roof. A lot of leasehold property, the roof is the responsibility of the Lessors.
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  • Refer back to the savings & investments thread...........letting out property for income is a risk just as investing in shares.

    Also, seek specialist advice - and if you have to pay for it, then that's life I'm afraid.
  • cafcfan said:

    I'm sure I read about a similar issue on the "speed, plod and the law" section of the pistonheads forum fairly recently. Try searching "neighbour" and see what comes up. pistonheads.com/gassing/forum.asp?h=0&f=10

    Once you've by-passed comments from some fruit loops suggesting hammering frozen sausages into lawns and similar, you can get some proper advice from people who sound like they know what they are talking about. Good luck. As others have said many deeds to properties give automatic right of access to carry out repairs. See this also problemneighbours.co.uk/rights-under-access-to-neighbouring-land-act.html

    AFAIK, the law on blocking access is an odd one way thing. My recollection is, if your car was in a garage or further doen the drive, blocking your egress to the highway would be an offence. However, blocking your access into the drive would not be. You'd need to research that further though. It seems to be by virtue of S103 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. But that is worded so as to apply to someone blocking a drive by parking across it on the highway. Not someone parked on private land.

    Hope that helps a bit!

    This is correct. It's not actually written specifically in any law but was tested in a court case and this interpretation of the law was the outcome. The (in my opinion stupid) legal reasoning is that if you're only being blocked from accessing your driveway then you're not actually being blocked from travelling anywhere, which you are if you're blocked whilst on your drive.
    Can't see that there would be any road traffic laws covering blocking on private land as they cover public roads. Becomes a private civil dispute.
  • If it's a leasehold house, there may be a requirement for the leaseholder to be involved in the lease but I would expect you will ultimately have to pay and sometimes it's better not to have the leaseholders get his chums to do a shoddy expensive job at your expense.

    I haven't done any party wall work. My best mate from university currently is earning a load of cash as a party wall surveyor, he's a practical guy and most disputes do not get out of hand, getting out of hand can be expensive, especially for the losing party.

    If you have a right of way detailed on your title deeds I don't think he can refuse access. If here is no other access, I would be surprised if you didn't have some legal right to use that space.
    Depending on how it's written up in the documents you may be able to get some of his blocking measures removed.

    I'm afraid I can't help with any experience of having done this, the process or how much it costs though.

    We had a boundary dispute a few years ago when some developers were trying to get access to garage land at the end of our then house and we were trying as a group to block them as they didn't own the access.

    I found this quite helpful....

    http://www.howtolaw.co/enforce-your-rights-under-an-easement-392139
  • I would check the paperwork from when you bought the property as access would have been identified by your solicitor. If there is not adequate provision you might have taken an indemnity policy which would find any costs you have in relation to it.

    If this is the case you might be able to call on them to deal with your neighbour on your behalf. A letter from a huge financial powerhouse with lawyers on the payroll might be enough to encourage your neighbour to allow you access.
  • I would check the paperwork from when you bought the property as access would have been identified by your solicitor. If there is not adequate provision you might have taken an indemnity policy which would find any costs you have in relation to it.

    If this is the case you might be able to call on them to deal with your neighbour on your behalf. A letter from a huge financial powerhouse with lawyers on the payroll might be enough to encourage your neighbour to allow you access.

    Great advice. On that point, the solicitors firm I used To do the conveyancing has since closed down their offices. Does anyone know what I do in this situation?
  • Before you do anything read all the paperwork relating to your purchase, preferably with someone who has a good knowledge of buying and selling property.
  • Your neighbour sounds an arsehole but he might just be pissed off because you didn't bother to ask him. To save you time and money you might want to swallow your pride, approach him and apologise for not thinking to ask him and would he now give permission. You can explain that you can obtain a Court Order under the Access to Neighbouring Property Act but that is pointless if the same result can be reached by agreement like grown ups.

    You must have rights of access over the common area, or you would have had a clear warning from the solicitor, unless he was a complete fraud. It is not so certain, being an old property, that you have rights to access from his land for doing maintenance, but you must check the deeds first. If you have a mortgage the lender will have all the details and has an interest in helping you protect your property.

  • I would check the paperwork from when you bought the property as access would have been identified by your solicitor. If there is not adequate provision you might have taken an indemnity policy which would find any costs you have in relation to it.

    If this is the case you might be able to call on them to deal with your neighbour on your behalf. A letter from a huge financial powerhouse with lawyers on the payroll might be enough to encourage your neighbour to allow you access.

    Great advice. On that point, the solicitors firm I used To do the conveyancing has since closed down their offices. Does anyone know what I do in this situation?
    Someone might have bought their 'clients' so the documents might be with someone else.
  • edited September 2016

    I would check the paperwork from when you bought the property as access would have been identified by your solicitor. If there is not adequate provision you might have taken an indemnity policy which would find any costs you have in relation to it.

    If this is the case you might be able to call on them to deal with your neighbour on your behalf. A letter from a huge financial powerhouse with lawyers on the payroll might be enough to encourage your neighbour to allow you access.

    Great advice. On that point, the solicitors firm I used To do the conveyancing has since closed down their offices. Does anyone know what I do in this situation?
    I think when a solicitor closes they have to pass their current and old files to a new firm of lawyers. They cannot just destroy them. They also have to hold indemnity insurance themselves for I think 6 years after they close in case they have made a mistake. I would have as others suggest look at the papers for when you bought the house as your solicitor should have highlighted that access was not over your land. This is a critical point particularly for old houses. If they did not point it out they are negligent and can be sued I suspect. See below what happens when solicitor closes

    http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/solicitor-closed-down.page
  • Any update on scaffoldgate?
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