Neighbour Wars, AIBU?(80 Posts)
I have name changed for this, for obvious reasons.
We live down a dead-end track, at the end of which are two semi-detached houses (one of which is ours) and a recently converted barn. The track maintenance falls between all three families and it tends to get quite pot-hole-y in the winter. Historically, some farmers used to own a big metal shed on the track and the old man of the family who owned it used to potter up every morning and liked to fill in the pot holes a tiny bit at a time and we'd give them some money to pay for the planings that would be delivered periodically (the black tarry scrapings from when they tarmac roads). This worked really well and the track never got too bad. The maintenance of the track fell four ways at that point - us, our attached neighbours, the farmers who owned the metal barn/shed and the property developer who owned the brick barn at the time.
Some new people bought the old brick barn and converted it, then decided they also wanted to buy the metal bar/shed to use for storage. This caused a bit of consternation as they then told us that the track maintenance would now be split three ways instead of four (still with me?). As far as we were concerned, the barn owners should now be responsible for 2/4 of the track maintenance and we stay with 1/4 as previously - we shouldn't have our share increased because they've bought extra property, should we?
Anyway. Now the old man doesn't come anymore obviously, so DH, and very occasionally our attached neighbour, will go out and fill in some of the pot holes, using stone that we all pay for (doesn't need much as often the stone is all still around the edges of the actual holes). The barn owners - who have been here for about three years now - have NEVER helped with this. Their solution is to buy a shit load of stone, hire a bloke for a day and to just smother the entire track, which doesn't actually solve the underlying pot hole problem so they come back again quickly.
This time, that option came up again and DH said he'd rather we all went out there for a couple of hours and filled in the holes with the existing stone. Barn man wasn't happy with this and said he'd speak to the other neighbour and then yesterday there appeared a massive pile of stone and a bloke this morning filling in the holes. He's demanded £130 off us for this. DH has refused and the neighbour has had a massive row with him, telling him that DH wouldn't know a hard day's work if it hit him in the face etc etc etc (DH works incredibly hard but barn man is a plumber so does a manual job). He also threatened DH if we didn't pay - I'll get that money off you, don't you worry mate, you see if I don't.
AIBU? Should we pay for the unnecessary stone and the labour? DH has been out there for 2 hours and has actually done more of the track than the bloke who was hired to do it. I'm absolutely fuming.
Sorry for the rant, but the background info was pertinent!
Shared drives - recipe for neighbour wars!
Who actually owns the track? And is there legal paperwork documenting how the maintenance should be done and paid for?
Yes, the deeds of our house details very accurately how each of the (then) four properties were responsible for how much of the track. Imagine a straight line, at one end is the main road. At the other end are four properties in a row. Track maintenance on the docs say that from the road up to the boundary of the third property from the other end is split four ways. Up to the boundary of the second property from the end is split 3 ways, etc etc. So the very end property is responsible for the part directly in front of their house but no-one else is, does that make sense?
If your deeds say you pay a quarter i cant see how that can be changed unilaterally. But the real issue is you all agreeing how it is maintained. Is it really impossible for the 3 to sit down and agree?
pulls up armchair, settles down with popcorn. I love a good neighbours war I do.
I agree with greenfolder, you are responsible for what your deeds say you are responsible for. New barn owner can't just decide to alter your legal requirement to pay. I'd pay the quarter only...but suspect this is going to be an ongoing problem, so in your shoes if he persists, I'd bite the bullet and take legal advice sooner rather than later.
How the work (Ie in what manner it is carried out) complicates things because it would be easier if you can all agree. As part of said legal advice I'd clarify that (presumably) amount has to be agreed first. Eg barn owner can't decide he likes a 'nice drive' so will order £130 of stone every month and demand payment...or get it tarmaced and demand payment!
To me it would seem that three dwellings=split three ways.
How does the shed used as storage affect the amount/type of traffic?
I agree though that legal advice would be the best starting point.
I would be inclined to agree with the barn owner in that a 3 way split is fairest, yes I can see that it is rather annoying that there isn't a 4th party to share the cost with any longer but the barn/shed is not a separate residence with people living in it so it seems very churlish for you to expect the owner to pay half when you and the other neighbour only pay a quarter
You really need to sit down with all 3 owners present and agree a plan for maintaining the road. It sounds like you have all been guilty of making unilateral decisions in the past. Perhaps time to agree to brush aside previous disagreements and start a fresh?
at diagram request
YANBU your new neighbour is an arse
Here's a diagram of what the actual deeds of our house (and the neighbour's house) say we are legally responsible for. We've had three years of their renovation related traffic going up and down our track, damaging the fence along the track (which has still not been fixed), knocking out one of our gate posts (which also wasn't fixed) and blocking us in on a regular basis.
You are legally responsible for a quarter of the costs/maintenance. Get some legal advice, as katronfon as said.
The biggest problem you're facing is barn owner now essentially has '2 votes' to yours (he should be paying half; none of this thirds nonsense) and the other neighbor's two votes between you.
You're going to have to come to some agreement as to how to maintain the road; he shouldn't be allowed to bully you into doing it his way. Seek the legal advice.
It's in the deeds, tell them to fuck off.
From what you said (and what I believe is normal), going from where your road meets the public road:
Property 1 pays 1/4 of the costs from the road to the property.
Property 2 pays as Property 1 PLUS 1/3 of the costs from Property 1 to his Property.
Property 3 pays as Property 2 PLUS 1/2 of the costs from Property 2 to his Property
Property 4 pays as Property 3 PLUS all of the costs from Property 3 to his Property
If property 3 and 4 happen to be owned by the same person then tough luck them, the liabilities of the owners of Properties 1 & 2 remain the same. The owner of properties 3 & 4 is liable for 1/2 of the cost of maintenance up to the first property PLUS 2/3 of the cost from the fist to the second and all the cost from the second to the fourth.
If the lengths of road were equal and required equal maintenance then the owner of 3 & 4 would be responsible for around 79.17% of the total cost (if I've done the maths right!).
Property 1 would be liable for 6.25% and Property 2 would be liable for 14.58%.
And ask your semi-detached neighbour to see the legal advice with you if you can to share the costs?
YANBU. I would just bite the bullet and get a written agreement with legal help if required. Presumably your neighbour can't just unilaterally decide to get a workman in and charge you all for it without your agreement.
I've just seen the diagram - it's the other way around to how I imagined it and the deeds don't say what I thought you said, so ignore my last post - it's bollocks!
What you've put in the diagram doesn't match what you wrote in your second post does it?
The diagram doesn't make sense to me. And I'm a lawyer and supposed to be able to make sense of these sorts of things!
Sorry, I meant FROM the boundary of the second property...
The split should be as set out in the Deeds.
Although there are 3 property owners (one of whom owns 2 properties) the split should be worked out by property from the Deeds and the one who owns 2 proprties (barn and old barn) should pay for both of those.
We live in a similar situation. 5 Barns down the lane responsible for 1/2 so 5/10 (1/10 each) and farmer responsible for other half.
Historically barn owners bought some hardcore to fill potholes and farm workers filled the holes (ie. labour covered farmer's half).
However farmer now leases land to another party and has no on site workers. He then wanted in effect an upgrade to the lane which cost £3,000 (so £1,500 - or £300 per barn). Within a year it was the same as when we used to chip in £50 a year. Also the last few times a combination of people living there did the work.
There is a meeting soon to discuss what to do next as its pretty bad again. Luckily we have never had the situation to argue what the split is. I would continue to refer to the deeds for the fair and legal split (so 1/4).
I would say on this occasion you'll pay your 1/4 but any future expenditure has to be agreed between the property owners prior to the expenditure.
I will never again buy a property that has shared anything or is reliant on other people!
I've cocked up my diagram (was in the middle of making omelettes for the kids).
First figure is correct split four ways between all four buildings. Second is split three ways between three buildings, next is split two ways and the last bit is only paid for by one property.
It is nonsense that the person who owns the two properties has his share reduced. He bought the second property knowing the liability that was attached to it.
If he decides to sell it on separately at some point no doubt he will be selling with that liability. It is not a choice but a legal obligation.
Glad I'm not the only one who couldn't understand the diagram!
I get that everyone is responsible to a certain point but then it lost me!
Tucker, your figures are exactly right (just the other way around).
He has a cheek expecting his 'share' to now be 1/3..Also he doesn't get to decide how you to spend your money. Yes the lane needs maintnence but it must be decided by all properties
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