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Extension common land issues Neighbour from HELl

(6 Posts)
samsmother Mon 15-Oct-12 22:18:52

My DH and I live in a ground floor flat and proposed to build an extension in the side return to build a bedroom for our 2yr old (nothing major just trying to make a better place to live). Neighbour upstairs had no objections in the 6 months before even submitting plans to council, nor did she object during the 28 days that the planning notice has to be displayed.... So she waits until the day the builders tear out the back of our flat, so no bathroom, kitchen, ceilings, plaster that she discloses that this land is actually common ground in her deeds and demands us stop work. This neighbor has been reciting her lease to us for the last 12 yrs so there is no way she didn't know about the land issue, unfortunately for us our copy of the plans is on black and white so we were unaware of this. As freeholder for the building and owner of the ground floor flat we assumed that as long as we maintain access for them to pass through the side access to reach their garden which is situated behind ours that the land was free forbid to do as we wished especially as she had shown no objections until we could no longer live at home. This has been going on for 14 weeks and we are having to stay in temporary accommodation and although they are not saying exactly how much, they want us to pay them a large sum of money for land that we own but their lease says they have rights to pass through the proposed site, even though we are not obstructing her access to her garden. Surely this is not right?

Just needed to rant sorry!

samsmother Mon 15-Oct-12 22:21:24


mycatlikestwiglets Tue 16-Oct-12 09:36:40

Have you seen a copy of her lease (I assume you have if you own the freeehold)? What does it say?

What does your freehold title say about rights over the land?

I would expect the position is that your neighbour has a right of way over the land to access her garden. Provided you are still giving her that access, there shouldn't be an issue. I certainly wouldn't be paying anything to her without getting a solicitor to look into your position fully.

samsmother Tue 16-Oct-12 19:25:27

Thanks mycat, unfortunately we have never had copies of her lease, when we bought our flat (the freehold came with it) we knew nothing about what our responsibilities were (we have learnt along the way) but assumed that when it came with the sale of our flat we would have been given all we were supposed to. Clearly not. However It is pure greed as she had to pay us a few years back to extend her lease and she has indicated that she wants that money back as she 'paid for that land'. We have spoken to a solicitor who has pretty much said the same as you (so thanks :-) ) but not sure where to go from here. We don't have the money she has hinted on receiving (nor do we think she should have any it's already going to cost a couple of thousand to alter the drawings) and, because of her late objection we have nowhere suitable to live but equally do not see how to move this forward and getting back home. Can we just build anyway providing we still leave her access no narrower than what she currently has in places? I'm worried she could put a stop on it if we do and then I'm guessing we would be in the wrong even though we have tried to sort this with her?

mrscumberbatch Wed 17-Oct-12 01:03:41

I'd try speaking with Building Control at your Local Council office. They might not be the ones to give you the definitive yes or no but will at least point you in the right direction.

FWIW. I would continue building as her access hasn't been changed in any way, what a horror to be acting up in such a ridiculous way.

Can you not explain to her that there will be little or no difference to the way that she currently accesses the land, her argument seems to be null and void.

mycatlikestwiglets Wed 17-Oct-12 15:20:23

In what way has she objected? Just by speaking to you directly or by letter, speaking to the council etc? If all she has done is make noises to you about payment I would ignore her and get the build done, it sounds as though she's trying to extort money from you! Get your solicitor to write to her setting out the position if necessary.

What does your own title say about the division of the land? That's where you should be looking. If all she has is a right of way to access her garden, that is very different to land ownership. Perhaps you need to educate her on that.

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