To think I can stay living next door to this neighbour?

(64 Posts)
hooliodancer Fri 13-May-16 16:49:26

I will try to keep the story brief.

We have lived in our house for nearly 20 years. We have a tiny back garden- 12 feet wide.

New neighbours bought next door and said our garden was too wide by 8 inches. They wanted this 8 inch wide strip 'back'. They were planning an extension.

We did lots of research and told them that as we had had possession of this strip for so long it was ours, and it was difficult to prove either way, as Land Registry plans state they cannot be used to determine the boundary. After months of him threatening us with legal action ( delaying his extension because we wouldn't give in to him), sending threatening emails daily, awful pressure we said we would split the 8 inches with him. Our solicitor told us that we would be likely to win the case in court, but that a judge would probably not award us costs as they hate boundary disputes over such as small piece of land. Which seems very unfair to me. He said it could cost us 30k.

So we agreed he could build his wall 4 inches in from where the boundary was. This involved destroying a garden border filled with beautiful climbing plants. We thought we would be compensated for this, but he decided not to get a party wall agreement- which would have protected our interests. The only way we could have forced him to issue a party wall notice was to get an injunction. Again we were warned off doing this, as our 'loss' would have been minimal.

We agreed he would compensate us for the plants. He is now refusing to pay us, because I called him a bully! I feel we need to claim this money from him in the small claims court, but that drags it out even more. But if we don't, we will be out of pocket as well as having lost part of our garden.

He has bullied and harassed us for months. His 9 metre wide extension is 4 inches wider than it would have been, and I have lost my beloved plants. He lies to us. He now ignores our emails. He used to email us saying "if you don't reply by the end of today I will do x y z".

The layout of our gardens is complicated, but basically we cannot fence ourselves off from him. We will see him every day. He is having bi fold doors right up to the back boundary, and not putting a fence in front of them. We will be able to see him all the time!

Will I be able to stay here? Hate is not strong enough for how I feel. He has made me ill, my partner and I have had huge arguments, it's just been awful. The neighbour hates us, he seems to think we have wronged him in some way. The atmosphere is dreadful.

I love my house, and can't really afford to move, but am I kidding myself to think it will be possible to stay? The build is happening at the moment, will it be better when it's done? Thanks for reading the essay. Has anyone been through anything similar?

mistlethrush Fri 13-May-16 16:53:22

Who told you not to have a party wall agreement - he would have had to pay for the surveyor that you could have chosen and would have acted on your behalf?

FannyFifer Fri 13-May-16 16:53:33

Can you build a big fence? What a dick!

youshouldcancelthecheque Fri 13-May-16 16:55:22

My friend was in a boundary dispute, £110k later they lost. If you can't afford to move then I would make attempts to engage with him. Agree any upkeep etc now.

Fwiw my friend couldn't afford to move either so he rented it out and rented elsewhere.

Fedupagain1975 Fri 13-May-16 16:56:13

Sounds like my neighbour! Could you put in some big trees??

hooliodancer Fri 13-May-16 17:15:50

We wanted a party wall agreement, but it has to be instigated by him. That's the problem, we couldn't force him to have one. There is no legal comeback.

We have a restrictive covenant prohibiting a fence in that part of the garden!

shiveringhiccup Fri 13-May-16 17:19:46

If he has been harassing you/ bullying you and left a paper trail of emails couldn't you go to the police?

Or a friendlier plan would be as cheque says - try to engage with him and make some agreements. Maybe even get some stuff written down. Get him to agree in writing to the compensation for the plants, in return think of something you could agree to.

Good luck, sounds awful.

TwistedFlaxPlease Fri 13-May-16 17:20:30

Does the covenant prevent a hedge?

Kidnapped Fri 13-May-16 17:21:50

Put a big skip there for him to look at.

Or pile up loads of rubbish to burn.

Or, perhaps more reasonably, plant up some bamboo in large rectangular planters in your garden. Move them anywhere he can see in your garden.

TheHobbitMum Fri 13-May-16 17:26:38

Have you ever thought of buying a BBQ smoker? We have a few (although at the end of a long garden) and regularly smoke food for dinner. Smoking can be for 18hrs ;) He'd love that! Although I'm a vindictive old bag when someone upsets me and doesn't forget much LOL You've been more than reasonable towards the bully. Not sure about any other recourse you may have. I'd be tempted to move sad

Muddlewitch Fri 13-May-16 17:28:05

Sounds awful, what a horrible man.

Agree with pp, plant up some bamboo/other tall plants and place them all along. As they are in pots they are not a permanent fixture so you should be ok. Or really, really big gnomes.

WriteforFun1 Fri 13-May-16 17:32:31

I just want to say how I much I feel for you. I can't believe how the law is set up with regards to things like this.

I'm interpreting from your post that the law is on his side apart from him needing to compensate you for loss of plants. He is clearly a really nasty piece of work so I wouldn't bother going for that money tbh.

in terms of whether or not you feel you can stay, don't decide now. It will be harder to sell up when he has his building work going on so I'd just sit tight for a while and see how you feel.

sorry you are having a nightmare.

leelu66 Fri 13-May-16 17:32:34

Sounds wretched. Hope someone comes along with stonking advice.

Have you tried the property boards?

ElectroStallion Fri 13-May-16 17:34:26

If his bifolds are up to the boundary, how can he use them? Wouldn't he have to step into your garden to leave his house?

How on earth could anyone get permission for a 9m wide extension. How much garden is left on his side? Surely he will have covered most of it with building? How is that permitted?

You should not have let any work happen without a party wall agreement though. What kind of cowboys did the building work, without an agreement in place?

What is to stop you (legally) from digging an enormous pit on your side of the boundary, and waiting for his extension to subside? Are there any ramifications?

ElectroStallion Fri 13-May-16 17:35:17

Oh, and move this to Legal- people there are unlikely to frequent AIBU.

mamafridi Fri 13-May-16 17:36:36

We are having a similar nightmare with a bullying, tyrannical neighbour that is basically extending onto and beyond the party wall and upwards so he can have a wonderful view into our garden. It's awful, it just seems that the more money a person has the more power they have to do what they want even if it encroaches onto your space. No leg to stand on and now we feel the pressure to move as well. I feel for you, it has made our home not a place to come to and feel secure and at peace but a battle ground :-( sorry I could not give you any advice, but at least you know you are not alone.

RidersOnTheStorm Fri 13-May-16 17:38:30

Fast growing bamboo. Right up to your boundary.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 13-May-16 17:42:08

Oh OP it sounds awful. I have no advice but you do have my sympathies

Have you talked to the people in the planning dept? I assume you have

WriteforFun1 Fri 13-May-16 17:42:12

Electric, if the poster has further legal queries then legal might be useful but I'm not sure she does.

I am no expert but I understood that planning regulations were massively relaxed under the ConDems. I found this out because I was woken by an earthquake - no wait, I was woken by pile drivers for a house that was built in what had been the garden of the block of flats next door. We didn't know, that block didn't know and the violence of the pile driving was such that the block immediately next to it had mirrors falling etc falling off walls.

Anyway, it was given planning permission retrospectively - I can't believe it got it at all! It's a joke, but when we complained to the council that's what we were told.

so if you can now occupy 90% of your own garden with a building, sadly I'm not surprised. If I'm ever well off enough to buy a house I think I will try a conservation area - can this happen there?

LIZS Fri 13-May-16 17:45:40

Did you post about this before? He can't gave bifolds facing into your garden , side windows should be opaque glass. Can you check the plans have been followed and request council inspection if not.

jesterkat Fri 13-May-16 17:48:40

Have you seen the 3ft tall gnomes shaped like the queen and other royal family members the have in Asda at the moment. I think they would really brighten his day when he gets to see them outside his marvellous new bifold doors! How could he not love them!

LIZS Fri 13-May-16 17:51:42

Have you checked re. Covenant with solicitor. Some become unenforceable over time as the builder or previous landowner ceases to have an interest. Something temporary like bamboo screening or trellis might be acceptable even do.

RupertPupkin Fri 13-May-16 18:02:46

That sounds awful, I felt angry just reading that. What a horrible bully. No advice but much sympathy.

Kidnapped Fri 13-May-16 18:12:37

Also, OP, I'm sure you're thinking that you need to increase your security, what with Psycho next door.

How about a dog with a kennel right outside his bifolds? Perhaps a large barky type would be best. For security of course.

WriteforFun1 Fri 13-May-16 18:23:56

hoolio "Our solicitor told us that we would be likely to win the case in court, but that a judge would probably not award us costs as they hate boundary disputes over such as small piece of land. Which seems very unfair to me. He said it could cost us 30k."

on reflection, this is quite striking. The judge might hate it but surely the cost award shouldn't be connected to that - and the neighbour is the one who wants a change...?

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