Neighbour is asking for a legal contract for us to put scaffolding on his driveway

(40 Posts)
chicaguapa Tue 02-Feb-16 07:50:33

We've just got planning permission for a 2nd story extension. The neighbours objected but permission was granted anyway.

We weren't aware of this until we got the report from the council but we went round and spoke to them to smooth things over. So things are ok, on the whole.

Just to clarify, so as to not drip feed. They bought their house 9 months before we did and there was lapsed planning permission on ours at the time so they knew that an extension was likely when buying theirs IYSWIM. We have just reapplied for it.

But they said that they want a proper contract drawn up for us to put scaffolding on their driveway, at our cost. To include cost penalties for going over the agreed timescales and to limit access to their driveway to certain times.

Tbh I hadn't even got to the stage of thinking where scaffolding would go other than the fact that it was one of their objections in the report. It may not even need to go on their driveway but I was surprised that there'd be legal costs to do this. Is this usual?

Berthatydfil Tue 02-Feb-16 08:01:47

I don't think they are being unreasonable in principal. Your work COULD go on months and months, block or reduce the access to their drive and really inconvenience them, cause parking issues or complaints from other residents, it could damage their drive or any plants they have in the vicinity or your builders could be inconsiderate idiots.
On the other hand it could go like a dream.
Having a legal agreement would give them some comfort the worst won't happen.
However first you need to work out if you will need to access their property etc so talk to a builder or architect about your plans and if you need an agreement with them.

rollonthesummer Tue 02-Feb-16 08:05:11

I think what they want is sensible. Our neighbours put scaffolding over our property, it was there for weeks, they caused damage to the garage and our car. It was a pain. Don't underestimate the inconvenience your extension will cause them.

If they said no to you using your driveway-could you still do the work? I think you might need to keep them happy.

FishWithABicycle Tue 02-Feb-16 08:09:00

That sounds reasonable to me. The cost would just mean paying his solicitor's fees as well as your own for the process of agreeing the contract - peanuts on the scale of the costs you are dealing with for an extension but why should he be out of pocket? first talk to the builder and get them to give you a realistic (not optimistic) timescales that take the neighbour's access restrictions into account and get written agreement from them to give you specific discounts on the work if they exceed reasonable limits. Your contract with the neighbour then reflects those discounts so it's cost-neutral to you.

NorthernLurker Tue 02-Feb-16 08:10:01

Your neighbours are absolutely right to ask for this. I came home from work one day to find my neighbour had put scaffolding up on my garden! They didn't even say they were having work done, let alone ask. I went mad with them but did agree it could stay up. That was for some short term roof work and I was still hugely annoyed. Give your neighbours what they want, you will have a better relationship as a result.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 02-Feb-16 08:13:25

Others extemtions are annoying - Constant workmen and noise - trampled plants dust cups left in my garden - kids couldn't play out - assumptions on stuff like scaffolding !!!!

Stop assuming and start thinking they suffer as much as you do!!

NDN wanted permission for the window cleaner to use our passage and climb our fence to wash her window - and a gate to use our passage to remove the bins!! Cheeky bitch!!!

JonSnowKnowsNowt Tue 02-Feb-16 08:14:27

You may not even need to put scaffolding in their garden. When our neighbour had work, his scaffolders built out a kind of platform from the scaffolding in their garden, so no upright poles had to go on ours. It was more expensive for him, I think, but I wouldn't have wanted it in our garden for the months that the work took. (he didn't even ask, so he obvs thought that was reasonable)

lighteningirl Tue 02-Feb-16 08:15:51

Totally reasonable we asked our neighbour if she minded one pole at the corner of scaffolding on the end of her drive, it didn't affect where she parked her car but meant a little slalom with bins. The guys working on the roof told us two days. With delays starting and finishing the work plus scaffolding going up early it was there for over three weeks including a week after the work finished. It was there until I phoned scaffolding company and told them to remove it or I was start charging them storage space, apparently they like to leave it at the last job until the next job iykwim.

MuttonWasAGoose Tue 02-Feb-16 08:16:28

"Good walls make good neighbours."

sootica Tue 02-Feb-16 08:16:53

Sounds reasonable to me! Why don't you speak to your scaffolders as they may have a precedent cotract that they use that you can offer I imagine this comes up all the time

IoraRua Tue 02-Feb-16 08:18:29

Sounds completely reasonable to me.

kirinm Tue 02-Feb-16 08:23:47

I'd ask to see the public liability insurance for the builder / scaffolding company so you've got some recourse should anything happen.

NNalreadyinuse Tue 02-Feb-16 08:27:28

Where would you stand legally if ndn refused all access to your property? If my neighbour was building something wgich would cause me months of extra noise etc I would refuse all access on my property if I could. So best to do what they ask imo.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 02-Feb-16 09:04:56

I can see where you are coming from (we are about to start an extension) in that you don't want the costs escalating but you say you hadn't even got to the stage of thinking where the scaffolding would go - to be honest, you need to give details like that proper thought. This really will be worth its weight in gold if you keep your neighbours on side.

You need to look at it from their point of view - as others have said, it will be a pain in the neck at best. At worst, it could be dangerous / costly if your builders are cowboys. Effectively what the neighbour is saying is that they want a binding agreement - that they're giving you permission for X number of weeks between the hours of A and B. If you don't stick to that, then they'll want some financial compensation. I'd say thats entirely reasonable.

chicaguapa Tue 02-Feb-16 09:12:35

Thanks all. It's not a big extension so not sure how long it would take. I wasn't asking if it was unreasonable, just whether it was usual. My mum's neighbour had their scaffolding on my mum's driveway (by agreement) but there was no contract or legal fees involved. I was just surprised by this.

As I say, I haven't looked into this at all yet. I was just surprised that he was able incur legal costs for him to have a 'nice to have' rather than a necessity. Part of me does think that if he wants the reassurance of a legal contract, over and above the contractor's plan/ schedule they now need to have place before starting work, he should pay for it tbh. But I do understand his position and I'm not sure if I have a right to put scaffolding on his driveway anyway (other than by usual neighbourly agreement). It sounds like I don't.

He's just an awkward bugger (on the phone daily to the council by all accounts - his words) and I can just see him limiting access to 10-2 Mon-Thurs or something daft like that in a 'lump it or leave it' kind of way. Let's hope not.

NNalreadyinuse Tue 02-Feb-16 09:22:35

What you have to remember is that none of this work is for his benefit, only yours. So why should he have to incur any costs to absolutely ensure that his property remains as it was before you began the work and to minimise disruption to his life?

You do come across as thinking you have the right to do the work (which you do) but everyone else should put up with inconvenience and potential risk to their property (because they have no control over who you hire) just because you want what you want. Now if you can do everything without touching their property, then fair enough but if you want anythibg from your neighbour you have to respect his rights.

He might be an awkward bugger but if you were in his position can you honestly say you would be different? Our houses are the most expensive things we will buy and he is right to protect it. Try and see it from his pov and this process will be smoother. Remember you will have to live next door to him for years.

TannhauserGate Tue 02-Feb-16 09:24:32

Why would you have the right to put scaffolding on someone else's property?
Your neighbour has probably seen the dozens of MN threads where unthinking extenders have caused months of inconvenience or damage to neighbours' property, and realised a formal agreement is a sound idea.
Really- formalising it protects you too, if things go wrong. You'll be aware of what is legally required for redress hopefully.
I hope your extension goes well, and completes on time. This is just one more little hoop to jump, and is worth it for the sake of keeping friendly and on good terms with your neighbour.
Wish my neighbour had bothered!

namechangedtoday15 Tue 02-Feb-16 09:32:14

But OP you have the choice - if you don't want to pay for his legal fees (although its surprising that you can't see his point of view) then you find a solution with the scaffolding company that means no scaffolding goes into his garden.

Have you looked at the Party Wall Act by the way? If you are building within 3 metres of his house and your foundations are likely to be lower than his, then you need to serve a formal notice on him. If you're digging within 6 metres of his house and you have deep foundations that will be at a 45 degree angle from his, then the Act will apply. And then he really has the opportunity to be difficult! Have a look online.

babydad Tue 02-Feb-16 10:01:52

What your neighbour is looking for is a Scaffolding Licence to be entered into between both parties and there will be costs associated with it. In bigger developments, the adjacent owner can rightfully request a % of the difference of how much a development is worth with and without the scaffolding being placed on their land.
As others have said, they stand to gain no benefit from you extending your home and a 2nd story extension is time consuming and will impact their quite enjoyment.
So it is not unreasonable of them and if I was in their shoes I would insist on the same thing.

Wuffleflump Tue 02-Feb-16 10:05:23

I can see the OPs point of view on this one.

Look at it this way: neighbour realised the planning application went in, but rather than discuss it and their concerns, they jeopardised the planning by putting in an objection without even the courtesy of telling the OP. OP only found out afterwards this had happened.

They are being bad neighbours.

It's not like people get extensions every other year. It's a one-off piece of work. NDN might want to make some alterations to their house in the future, and they've set a precedent of being a bit of a twat about it.

They don't even know there will be impact on their drive yet. Discuss it if and when it comes up.

Kr1stina Tue 02-Feb-16 10:16:29

I was just surprised that he was able incur legal costs for him to have a 'nice to have' rather than a necessity. Part of me does think that if he wants the reassurance of a legal contract, over and above the contractor's plan/ schedule they now need to have place before starting work, he should pay for it

I'm not sure if I have a right to put scaffolding on his driveway anyway (other than by usual neighbourly agreement). It sounds like I don't

This makes you sound extremely entitled . Why should he pay legal costs so that you can disrupt his access to his property? And why do you imagine that you have a right to put anything in his driveway ?

If this is how you come across in RL, I would be asking for a contract too .

And if you wanted to keep on good terms with them, you should have approached them personally about your extension plans and not let them find out from the council.

Theendispie Tue 02-Feb-16 10:22:27

I actually think the op should have gone round and told them they were putting in planning permission and discussed it in the first instance. It's just got in to a tit for tat situation.

My friends extension took a year to complete due to issues, their work did not encroach on to neighbours land but imagine if it had. I think it is perfectly OK to ask for a document when someone if actually sticking stuff on to your property.

I actually think you are being massively unreasonable.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 02-Feb-16 10:26:20

Wuffle - the OP should have been the one to start the discussion, not the neighbour. If they'd have gone to the neighbours with the plans, said planning had been granted previously but had lapsed so in all likelihood it would be granted again, we'll be as considerate as possible, ensure we minimise the impact on you, talked about their concerns - maybe the neighbour wouldn't have objected in the first place.

chicaguapa Tue 02-Feb-16 10:49:51

Nope. Not entitled. Just merely querying the necessity for a legal contract at my cost. This isn't AIBU. hmm

The query was based on my mum's experience of having her NDN's scaffolding on her driveway (thus requiring her to remove all her raspberry plants along that wall) and it apparently being the NDN's right to be able to do that. No contracts or negotiation beyond usual neighbourly discussions and verbal agreement.

Fwiw NDN put a 6/7ft gate across his driveway by way of attaching a post to the side of my house (garage). I didn't say anything in the interests of being neighbourly but we came home one day and there it was. No prior discussion.

As pointed out by a PP, being neighbourly is a two-way thing.

TannhauserGate Tue 02-Feb-16 11:23:06

Now that is what is known as a drip feed!grin
Have they removed the gate? What if it damages your garage?

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