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Neighbour BU - access for repairs

(21 Posts)
trytolovethynieghbour Fri 10-Nov-17 16:10:31

Hi MNers,

Longtime lurker but have joined to hopefully tap into your collective wisdom over a neighbour situation that I am hitting a bit of a wall with. Don't think I am BU but here goes:

I live in a semi which was extended up to the boundary by the previous owner. Its come to light recently that the whole house needs the pebble dash cutting off and re-rendering. The neighbour informed me thusly that a large patch had fallen onto their drive in high winds whilst we were away for a weekend. I engaged our insurer pretty quickly, no dice there, got a few quotes and had to bite the bullet that the whole house needs cutting off and re-rendering PDQ.

This is problem, as the extension is up to the boundary, the builders need access to the neighbour's driveway and back garden to hack it off and put up scaffolding in better weather to renew the render. Initially the neighbour didn't announce any issues with the access.

Having now gone to them with a potential date for works to commence, they are being extremely awkward. First they don't want the work going on whilst they are away for a week as they will lock their front gate and aren't happy leaving us a key. All fair and good you might think, however their next complaints are they only want the work doing one day a week when they are not on shifts, they don't want the noise, the mess, they don't want any work doing in December as they do longer shifts at work.

Appreciate it'll be a little imposition for 3 days and then a week next year, but fuck me the world don't revolve around them.

Anyroad they said no to the builder's first date when they are away, builder has offered a week in December, I am going round tonight to ask but expect the conversation not to go so well.

I should add these are really odd people and we've barely said a word to them in years of living here. I'm not so bothered about getting on with them as there is no previous period of getting on so to speak. I just want to get my house repaired.

Anyone got any ideas for how the fuck to get these awkward lot to agree to the work? I checked the legal route, its possible but could be very costly to get access enforced through a court order. The mind boggles as there will be more rendering falling off as the weather turns, potentially over the path to their front door.

My bad its a long one, any advice/ideas greatly received.

SnowBallsAreHere Fri 10-Nov-17 16:13:35

There’s little you can do except ask which dates suit them, and point out that the longer it’s left the more dangerous it could be for them.
Only the removal should be noisy. Re rending would be quite quiet —as long as the builders don’t have a radio on & about at each other as they work—

Ttbb Fri 10-Nov-17 16:16:00

Do you think that they would notice if you removed your fence while they were away to let the builders in and put it back before they returned? (Don't actually do this). Can't you just give them two/three dates to pick from and tell them that if they won't assent to one of those dates you will pursue them in court and claim costs from them? (Best to try to do this over email if possible so that you have a record.

trytolovethynieghbour Fri 10-Nov-17 16:24:17

Ttbb, lol yes believe me the thought crossed my mind to just ask the builders to make a little access.

I've asked for an email address and dates, the first being a no and the second have not been forthcoming. As I understand it under ANLA 1992 the party requesting access cannot claim costs.

I did consider offering a couple of nights in a hotel, whilst this may be cheaper than the legal route it really doesn't sit well with me.

I suspect I'll have to keep chipping away to get some dates, its just a pain as they don't seem to give a shit about it being repaired, they don't resond to notes through the door and its hit and miss getting them at home or them answering the door.

I'll persevere, trading awkward neighbours for cake.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 10-Nov-17 16:25:10

Gosh really don't do what Ttbb says. Especially not by email!

I think all you can do is as Snowballs says and stress that it's going to inconvenience them a lot more if it doesn't get done quickly.

Offer them dates to choose from, be polite, be understanding and say things like how much you appreciate their help (while inwardly thinking what difficult dicks they are).

You need to be overly polite, calm and reasonable - while giving them little room to manoeuvre because it will get done.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 10-Nov-17 16:27:50

Oh in that case I probably would just do the work that week they're away by taking the fence out and putting it back again.

I wouldn't email them threatening legal action. That'll just piss them off.

SoupDragon Fri 10-Nov-17 16:29:59

Do you think that they would notice if you removed your fence while they were away to let the builders in and put it back before they returned?

They'll probably notice the whole side of the house has been re-rendered which would be a giveaway! 😂

Uptheduffy Fri 10-Nov-17 16:30:03

Well this is probably why houses were built with a bit of access along the side, to avoid inconveniencing anyone to repair your property!
I can see your frustration but having had scaffolding in my garden for a neighbour’s repair it was no fun at all and damaged my grass and spoiled my use of the garden for a couple of (summertime) weeks. So, rather annoying.

jacks11 Fri 10-Nov-17 16:37:27

If they are working shifts (more particularly if they are nightshifts) I can see the point about long periods of noise when they are trying to sleep around their shifts- several days/nights disturbed sleep could cause tiredness/make life unpleasant (or depending on their job perhaps even dangerous). If that were to be the case, I would not want it done during that shift pattern- but would try to come to an agreement at a better time. It will be a pain for them, no doubt about it, but it does need to be done so sometimes you just have to grin and bear these things.

charlestonchaplin Fri 10-Nov-17 16:46:31

Too stingy to even offer a few nights in a hotel when you are inconveniencing them for your benefit. Considering trampling over their property and showing your contempt for them by accessing their property when they are away and have explicitly forbidden it. It would serve you right if they force you to take it all the way to court with all the associated costs. And if you do access their property without permission be prepared for them to turn into the neighbours from hell. Not everyone will quietly tolerate such rampant disrespect.

SoupDragon Fri 10-Nov-17 16:49:04

A hotel?? Don't be ridiculous!

trytolovethynieghbour Fri 10-Nov-17 16:53:46

Oh do wind your neck in charleston or have your sense of humour bypass reversed.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Fri 10-Nov-17 18:11:29

Realistically what are they going to do if you do the work while they're on holiday?

They're not going to want the hassle and cost of a civil legal action unless they are idiots or have money to burn.

Chattymummyhere Fri 10-Nov-17 18:24:03

Just don’t do that wall... don’t neighbours by law have to give access for essential maintaince? You might have to pay for inconvience though. I would presume parts of your house falling off was pretty essential to fix.

kali110 Fri 10-Nov-17 18:32:44

I can see it from both sides, you need the work doing, however when you work shift work things like this would be an absolute nightmare.
We had building work right outside few years ago and it was absolute torture!
All you can do is keep giving them dates and see what will work.
Unfair comment charlestonchaplin as they do have a fair point.

whoareyou123 Fri 10-Nov-17 19:51:44

Have you read the guidance here?
(Assuming it's relevant to you)

www.gov.uk/guidance/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

SD1978 Sat 11-Nov-17 05:01:43

Any chance they are renting and you can make the request through the land lord? They still need to agree to the dates, but maybe if it’s the house owner asking then they may be more reasonable?

violetbunny Sat 11-Nov-17 05:07:35

Is there someone whom they could entrust the key to who could allow the builders access while they are away? Perhaps a relative who lives nearby?

MimiSunshine Sat 11-Nov-17 06:27:01

Don’t ask them for dates that suit them, you could be waiting for 6 months for those dates to tie up with your builders availability only for them to change their mind.

Just take 2/3 dates for the work that the builder can do and offer them the choice of those.
If they say no to all then say something like ok, well I’ll have to notify you and my insurance in writing that you are obstructing repair so that when more falls off any potential damage to your property isn’t our liability.

Not sure if it would really hold any weight but might make them think

ZZZZ1111 Sat 11-Nov-17 07:47:31

Do your builders absolutely need to use scaffolding? We had some re rendering done recently, and the builders just used ladders. Smaller scale than what you’re doing but could be worth asking.

rwalker Sat 11-Nov-17 08:01:44

if the are on night shift fair enough but if not just been awkward .Tell them you have offered to redo and make safe they have refused offer a few dates . Then tell them you will just leave it as you never see it and will save you hundreds of pounds. You need to send recorded delivery letter stating this so you have no liability for damage or injury cause as you have offered to rectify the problem but they have refused.

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