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Problem neighbour

(17 Posts)

Hi,

I'm posting this in the hope that somebody out there can offer some advice or a least a ray of hope. Here goes!

I bought my own 2 bed terrace in 2011, neighbour to the right has access to his garden through my garden, path runs past my kitchen window. This was no problem at time of purchase as this was always assumed to be the case.
Last tenant (little old lady) allowed my neighbour to have his black bin in my garden on a path running up the side of my garden as easier for collection purposes. I stupidly allowed this arrangement to continue. However when my local council decided to implement separate green & black bins I. Neighbour assumed that I was willing to have all four bins inc his still kept on my pathway. I advised him that I didn't want this as taking up too much space and asked him to put his own bins in his own garden which he objected to. An argument then ensued.
In my garden I have a block of 2 outdoor toilets to the left. These are in a poor state of repair and i would ideally like to knock them down to make more useable space in the garden. At the time of the sale these were listed in the particulars for my house. The left toilet still has a toilet in it that has not worked for many years and the right hand side has no toilet in it. What I was unaware of, at the time of sale is that the right toilet belongs to my neighbour and that he has access to this along a path at the top of my garden and this has been confirmed with the land registry.
Out of spite, my neighbour now stores his black bin and other pieces of crap in the toilet to the right, and his father has actually taken a large piece out my fence in order to allow him access. This makes no sense other than to be spiteful as he actually makes himself a longer journey taking the bin through my garden, through his own and then along my garden path! As a result of these actions I have now not spoken to the neighbour for at least 2 yrs.
In addition to this his property is damp & as we have an adjoining kitchen wall I can smell the damp every time I open kitchen cupboards. This poses a problem as I wish to replace my kitchen but obvs I am not going to fit units onto a damp wall. I have been advised by a contractor that the damp problem Is to his side but could be tricky to resolve due to it being a party wall.
So at this moment in time I have an unsecure garden (that I would very much like to makeover!) with 2 ugly outbuildings in my garden that serve no purpose and a kitchen that badly needs replacing. I have had various suggestions: charge him ground rent, knock them down anyway, get them condemned etc but I really don't know which route to take on this and any advice or suggestions would be very much appreciated.
sorry if this is really long but its been kind of cathartic to post this & I wanted to make sure I included all relevant details. ta in advance smile

halfwaytosomewhere Wed 21-Aug-13 18:38:10

Dont have an answer but you could try www.gardenlaw.co.uk
there's another site that has advise for partywalls but I can't find it just now.
If you knock it down and it's his you would have a bigger problem.
Good luck and you might be able to buy his loo off him?

ta v.much halfway...ive looked on the site you suggested which has led me onto other sites one of which I think may have provided the answer. his outbuilding no longer has a loo in it meaning that it may now be classed as "easement of use" meaning that the outbuilding no longer serves its original purpose. Bearing this in mind i'm gonna ask a solicitor to clarify & then it will be all systems go! smile

WeAreEternal Thu 22-Aug-13 09:24:28

Does he own the just the building shack or the small part pf land it is on as well?

If it is just the structure I would research what qualifies a structure to be condemned and then when I know the neighbour is out I would ensure that the structure is not sound (even if it meant I had to cause damage).
I would then phone the council (or whomever you need to call) and ask that they come and declare the structure condemned so that it can be demolished.
I may even make an 'anonymous' call as a 'comcerned neighbour' complaining about the dangerous structure in Clara's garden.

Then you can knock it down block up the hole in the fence and stick two fingers up to him.

I would also put two gates with locks at either side of the path for 'security', you may have to give him a key but I would be tempted to tell him that when he requires access he needs to knock and ask, it depends how the access is written.

But the first thing I would do is look into buying his access from him (I have done this with a property I own) its difficult but if you make the neighbours access as undesirable as possible he will be more willing to sell.

alreadytaken Thu 22-Aug-13 09:34:45

Restricting access with gates could be illegal, take legal advice. There is party wall legislation that may help over the damp www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/40/contents

check any insurance you have as some include free legal helplines, although they seem to be staffed by students of variable quality.

If you don't have a free legal helpline see if a local solicitor offers a free half hour interview as this could become very expensive if you act illegally.

Weareeternal you can't really try to make someone give up this kind of acces when it's a terraced house as often the acces over the neighbours side is the only way they can get to the back of their house and the alternative would be for the neighhbiurs to bring his bins through the house. That would be very unreasonable.

I learned the hard way never ever to buy a house with shared access. Did it once when young and naive. The potential for disputes is immense, as we found out when neighbours son started bringing his motorbike up the ginned which WE were expected to maintain, and through the yard at the back of mine and two other houses.

Of course the motorbike owner and his mother, being in the end house, had walled off a bit just for themselves whilst insisting that the rest of the yard was communal... So me and the other two owners started puting our washing out in 'their' bit and the bike was soon kept in the front street.

The bad feeling it caused though, I moved the following year and will never ever even go and view a house with shared access ever again.

OP personally I think that the neighbour keeping is bin in his outdoor loo is ok, and he probably is ok to remove the bit of fence to get access to it as well. You need to keep things as amicable as poss when you live so close to people in terraced houses. I'd suggest to him knocking down both loos and building a shed type arrangement or bin store that you both use?

How many times WA week is he actually taking the bin through your property? You may find that you need to calm down about it all because he DOES have that legal access to bring his bins out through your yard.

Can another neighbour mediate for you, he may genuinely think that by using the old loo he has found a good solution. Does he know you are not happy about it?
I bet all these bins are causing all sorts of boter at my old house, we're have 2 bins, sacks for paper, and boxes for food waste all to go out on different days.

WeAreEternal Thu 22-Aug-13 10:01:56

As I said clara may have to give him a key to the gates, it does depend on the type of access that he has.

Flibberty I am not denying that he has access through my garden to his own using the path that runs past my kitchen window & that was always a given when I bought the house as I live in an area with a high concentration of terraced housing. Neither do I object to taking his bin through my property in order to put it out every 2 wks. BUT he often doesn't put his bin out for up to a month. Next door to his property is a chipshop and I have 3 cats which regularly bring back mice, which surely is no coincidence??
The land on which the outbuildings are built on form part of my garden, the garden which I wish to improve & secure.
What I object to is that I am currently saddled with 2 useless outbuildings in my garden which I don't want. If you knew my neighbour then you would know that he was keeping his bin in the FORMER outdoor loo purely out of spite, from when I asked him to start keeping his own bin in his own garden. There is no other reason for him to keep the bin in there as he has a bare paved yard that he never uses and he actually ends up taking his bin on a longer journey. I also have an objection that thanks to his father vandalising my fence my garden now is unsecure & looks a mess (children or dogs would not be secure in my garden as it is). In addition to this, the current state of my garden would inhibit any possible sale of my property was I ever to put it on the market.I have no objection to whatsoever to erecting a new fence at my own expense. But, no I don't think I am being unreasonable to want to:

demolish the outbuildings in question

for my neighbour to keep his own bin in his own garden

Make my garden secure as currently it is not

He has always been aware that I am not happy with the current situation and as a result we have not spoken for 5 years. TBH I am dreading approaching the party wall scenario. I think my only route will be to get clarity from a solitor and set the ball rolling.

fingers crossed!! :/

weare & already cheers for your replies too! smile .....I don't think i'd go the bother of fitting key locks to gates as as tbh he only uses my garden path for purposes of putting his bin out but I shall defo dig out my house insurance dets tomoz as I have legal cover! smile

OliviaBenson Fri 23-Aug-13 12:37:44

With regard to the outbuilding, if it is his toilet, and he wishes to keep his bins in there, I really don't think there is anything you can do. The fence- them vandalising it is not on. Could you repair it to make it secure and them provide him with a key to the padlock- that way you are not preventing access whilst making your garden secure?

These types of disputes can get very ugly and be very costly. I feel for you, but I'd advise caution.

I'm not sure about the legalities of demolishing the outbuildings - you would need to seek advice on that.

SoupDragon Fri 23-Aug-13 12:42:29

I imagine you could put a gate in the fence that allows him access but is not wide enough to fit a bin through. But that may be petty.

Hi,
I've spoken to the legal advice line through my house insurance. They've advised that I need to get hold of the deeds to my house proving what rights of access he has to where & if indeed the former toilet does belong to him. I then need to write to him detailing possible & my preferred outcomes to resolve. If he doesn't reply within 14 days I then need to send a second letter that he needs to reply to within 7 working days. All this is called "first step complaints procedure". if no reply or not resolved then a solicitor needs to get involved.

fingers crossed!

kittycat68 Sat 24-Aug-13 17:19:04

i would have thought you would have the upper hand here as damaging your fence is criminal damage which you could either report to the police or apply to small claims court for the damage! do you have any proof that he damaged the fence?

Hi Kitty,

I do know that he damaged the fence as he did it in front of me! however proving it would be another matter as I wouldn't it past him & his father to deny it, but the fence panel is still in his back garden to this day. Think best way forward is to write demanding that they replace fence & incorporate a fence which I think they're going to be far from happy with....but I suppose if negotiations need to take place then it could be a case of "fork out for a new complete fence or allow me to demolish the outbuildings and I shall replace the whole fence myself". At the end of the day I just want to have a secure garden, minus the outbuildings that I can actually do something with lol! smile

pardon...."incorporate a gate"...that should've read!

kittycat68 Sun 25-Aug-13 11:08:40

he would be made to repair the fence to its original condtion! iw ould suggest that you get someone in to give you a quote for this in writting. Obviously any chages to the original fence would have to be agreed by you grin take photos of the fence panel in his garden too! as that would be evidence. then i would wait and see what happens via the house insurance before doing any thing else. OP which is more important the fence or the toilet block with access?

mycatlikestwiglets Sun 25-Aug-13 11:33:35

Is "his" toilet on the boundary to his property? If so I'd be thinking about fencing around it so he can access it from his side but can't get into your garden that way. Clearly though you need to establish was access/ownership rights he has before doing anything else.

The council might help with getting him to take action over damp. My last house (a terrace) was derelict with extensive penetrating damp when I bought it and the seller disclosed letters he'd received from the local Council pointing out the issues and telling him it needed to be sorted. Might be worth looking into rather than going down the legal route to start with.

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