To ignore difficult neighbour

(10 Posts)
Graceandfavour Mon 29-Feb-16 09:02:46

Some years ago I was left a flat by a much loved relative. I've let it out since then to a very quiet, thoughtful family. The downstairs neighbour has always been difficult and made my relative cry on a number of occasions. So far she's stopped my tenant using as an access road the road to the garages because my relative didn't own one of the original garages, just built one on her existing land next to the garages and always used the access road. I just let that go, even though it would have made absolutely no difference to her to continue to allow access, she was just being a busybody difficult. She then complained to the freeholder about some weeds in the garden in front of her property, which I own and have had landscaped since we moved in to make it easy to look after - with crushed slates which look very smart and have gardener a few times a year but can't go every day! I got s nasty letter threatening legal action. Anyhow today I'm having a fan fitted in the bathroom for new tenants and they need to drill through the soffit outside the bathroom window. As its my window upstairs and she's downstairs, I just assumed it was mine - as am also wholly responsible for the roof as the upstairs flat. I've just told the electrician to go ahead and drill. AIBU and will she sue? Eek

iknowimcoming Mon 29-Feb-16 09:08:34

I would assume the soffit is part of the roof so can't see the harm personally. Also re the access to the garage get that looked into by a conveyancing solicitor as they should be able to formalise a right of access since it has been assumed and used for some time before someone stopped you/your tenant as it will make selling a nightmare in the future and also will affect your rentals if someone relies on the garage, shouldn't cost a lot but well worth getting sorted out if only to stick two fingers up at the nasty neighbour!

CadleCrap Mon 29-Feb-16 09:12:12

Not sure about soffit but I always thought that any roof repairs were shared between all flats.

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Mon 29-Feb-16 09:19:30

YABU not to get the access road issue sorted by a solicitor. If the flat has enjoyed a right of access for several years as you imply that will have become an established right. You do not want to lose that! Do it via a lawyer. Do not interact personally.

CreamofTartar Mon 29-Feb-16 10:06:44

I own the ground floor flat in a Victorian house with four flats, and all owners are jointly responsible for roof repairs and general external repairs.

Graceandfavour Mon 29-Feb-16 10:24:46

Thanks everyone for your views. I'm wondering if it's worth all the hassle I get from this woman. I'm a pretty easy going person so don't like confrontation. I don't understand people who always want to make life difficult for others. Tempted to sell up tbh! But just got new tenants so can't let them down. If you jointly own the roof etc do you have to get everyone's permission before doing any work?

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 29-Feb-16 11:50:20

You ought to try and get a grip on this property and what your rights and responsibilities are. Especially if you are taking money of other people as rent for it. Renting can be a good investment, but you should start taking it more seriously. Rolling over for the neighbour all the time because of the hassle could seriously undermine that investment and may be unfair on your tenants.

You may have needed permission to drill. But not having got permission doesn't mean she can wrest thousands out of you in court. Read up on who is responsible for what and see if there is a process you should have followed. If appropriate follow it retroactively. If you can't understand the paperwork regarding ownership of and responsibilities for the building, or how the freehold works then get a decent solicitor and factor into your budget for the flat a small amount in costs for them every year. Even if you can understand the paperwork, using a solicitor (or renting through an agency) could allow you to remove yourself from the worst of any direct conflict, which may be what you need. But being a landlord is a business, not a hobby. You need to treat it as such.

Graceandfavour Mon 29-Feb-16 12:59:18

You made some good points BoomBoom. Ironically, I was trying to get things on a professional footing with these works: getting heat and carbon monoxide sensors put in and a bathroom fan, as well as testing the electrics to meet regulations. But I will look at what are my responsibilities going forward to avoid these clashes or at least to know what my rights are.

TheBouquets Mon 29-Feb-16 13:09:59

This is the second thread I have read today about the problems of renting out property. I had thought about renting out as well but these problems have put me off.
If buy to let landlords did not exist there would be very few places to be rented, so why tenants and others make life difficult for landlords and houses are trashed landlords will stop renting out I, have no idea.

Graceandfavour Mon 29-Feb-16 13:34:26

My problem is not so much with tenants Bouquets - I've had no problems there so far (fingers crossed), it's with awkward busybodies who haven't got enough to do so make other people's lives a misery. I have one friend whose neighbour CALLED THE POLICE because she cut down some overhanging branches on her side of the fence and then again when she was assembling IKEA furniture (unauthorised building works!). Someone else I know has had daily emails from her neighbour complaining about building works when she has bent over backwards to accommodate her. Just wish they could get a life and maybe do some good in the world instead of being bitter and twisted.

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