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neighbour threatening to block shared driveway..help

(13 Posts)
taxiforme Fri 02-Nov-12 16:33:04

History

I have a house i rent out.

Newish estate. My house is on a hammerhead at the top of a shared drive, to access it you have to drive up a drive round my neighbours house then onto the forecourt of my garage in front of my house.

Legal position neighbour owns the drive and I have right of reasonable access over it. All this is on the deeds (just checked).

He moved in after I did. Position in reality is that for the past 8 or so years he has been parking his cars, some on bricks on the drive way. He is adamant that it is his land to do what he likes. He always makes sure that a car can get through though (the driveway is actually quite wide in parts). I never bothered about it when I lived there as I was on my own and a bit vulnerable (he is weird and aggressive as is his son) and it didnt really make a difference to me in reality as the houses are positioned in a way that I cannot see his scrappy cars. In fairness you could not get a big lorry up there in any case. The last thing I wanted was an expensive civil case and unsalebale house in the future.

I moved out a few years ago to live with now DH and rented out the house. My letting agent has called to say that he is refusing to let my new tenants access over the drive and is saying he will block it with a car (I think the letting agents have been daft enough to let him know when they are moving in). He says that he will only allow them a transit van (its a 4 bed house). In the past my ex tenants have been ok about this (he has made a fuss in the past) and have accepted the situation but this tenant is having a stand off and refusing. She wants a 7.5 tonne lorry.

I really feel stuck. I am of the view that the dispute is really between the neighbour and my tenant, surely? All the deeds say is that reasonable access is required. He says this is reasonable, she says not. I cant see what I can do.

Has anyone else had this problem?
What was the solution?

Chubfuddler Fri 02-Nov-12 16:37:18

She wants access for a removal lorry presumably, not to park a 7t lorry outside your house all the time?

He sounds crazed. I think it's your call to sort this out though - in your tenants shoes I'd expect you to sort this, not sort it myself.

ArterialSpurtMonkey Fri 02-Nov-12 16:43:38

I think you need to get some proper legal advice now unfortunately, as he is not abiding by the deeds, and it sounds like he isn't listening to reason.

EchoBitch Fri 02-Nov-12 16:44:04

I don't blame the new tenant,but in her shoes i'd be wondering if i'd made a huge mistake taking on the tenancy with such unreasonable neighbours.

You need to sort it out properly,you may want to sell and it would be an issue as you'd have to disclose the neighbour problem.

taxiforme Fri 02-Nov-12 16:45:28

Yes that's right, I feared someone would say that.

I just dont want to have to go to court on this. Problem is, when I was there I "agreed" that nothing more than a transit would be allowed up there (there has been some damage to the tarmac - he blames a lorry in the past for causing it, when we once had building work) though he can't prove it. And having negotiated with the letting agent and my last tenants they were happy to use smaller vans, too.

This tenant is digging her heels in, not helped by her removal company who have just had a stand off with the neighbour on the drive.

EchoBitch Fri 02-Nov-12 16:47:35

What if he blocks the drive and the emergency services need access.

You can't let him dictate everything,is it called an easement where neighbours have rights of access?

EchoBitch Fri 02-Nov-12 16:48:44

You're the landlord and it's your responsibility sad

BlueStringPudding Fri 02-Nov-12 16:53:37

You need to check the wording on your deeds - but reasonable access usually means just that - and as long as the driveway is wide enough, then that would include a removals van.

It is your problem to sort out, and you need to. Best thing is to see a solicitor and get a letter sent out to your neighbour clearly explaining your rights. Check your house insurance - often you will have legal cover, and they can do this for you.

I would suggest your tenant gets a quote for how much extra it would cost to have her removal undertaken in smaller vans as demanded by your neighbour. I think you could then point out to your neighbour that unless he provides access, that he will be liable for your (tenant's) extra costs incurred as a result of him blocking your rightful access. Hopefully the threat will make him see sense. It's unlikely to be masses, so you'd probably be looking at a small claims if it got to that.

I have no legal expertise, but we had a right of access blocked by a neighbour, and although it took time, we got it reinstated without needing to go to court.

taxiforme Fri 02-Nov-12 16:54:14

The fire brigade just push anything out of the way.
I have seen them do it.

He knows his rights and will not block the access fully, just so that nothing bigger than a transit can get up there, or a small van.

He is being knobby about what is "reasonable access".

BackforGood Fri 02-Nov-12 16:54:15

I don't blame the tennant either.
You need to use the law to sort the situation if he isn't a reasonable person - as seems to be the case.

Collaborate Fri 02-Nov-12 17:08:48

Legal advice might be covered under an insurance policy.

BlueStringPudding Fri 02-Nov-12 17:15:50

"reasonable access" is set by precedent - ie where judges have made decisions in the past over what is reasonable. I would be very surprised if a removal van wasn't considered "reasonable" as long as the driveway as originally created could accommodate it.

See:

www.midlandsbusinessnews.co.uk/2012/10/reasonable-access-definition-helps-to-avoid-of-fence/

also the Garden Law forum has lots of posts and good advice about Rights of Way
www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=8&sid=91bbb3f153ecb4a6caa0551e20c7c413

clam Tue 06-Nov-12 23:07:37

You do need to sort this out, not just for your tenant's benefit but your own. For a start, if I were your tenant, I would be looking to cancel the tenancy, and you might have a problem in future trying to let the property if it were to become known that this arsehole plays up re: removal vans. And that adversely affects you. Sounds to me as though it has already escalated to the point whereby you would be duty bound to declare the dispute in any future sale.

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