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Shared front garden, freeholder refusing storage, help!

(23 Posts)
Twinmama12 Sat 30-Apr-16 21:17:42


I would really appreciate some advice! We own the upstairs flat in a house and there is one flat, downstairs. We own 50 percent of the freehold. The front area / garden is owned 50/50 with the other freeholder. We are desperate to put a small storage unit in the front, at the side, to store our pram (we have twins and have been storing it in the car but can no longer park outside our home due to permitting coming in and other cars now parking on our street). We can't store it inside as we have steep stairs immediately from the front door and there is no way I can lift or carry the pram up or down. The freeholder / neighbour is refusing to allow us to put in any storage box, despite us saying we will allow him to dictate size / location and type of box. Where do we stand legally as we own 50 percent of this space? It is causing so many problems and getting out with my twin babies is so difficult, I am sometimes trapped in the house. Thanks very much in advance.

gingeroots Sun 01-May-16 17:20:30

Gosh that seems mean . Do you know what the objection is ?

I don't know what to suggest I'm afraid - other that you bouble check your deeds to make sure of your entitelment .

Could you just go ahead and have something installed ?

Fingers crossed for proper advice for you soon .

gingeroots Mon 02-May-16 17:01:04

bumping for you in the hope of more informed advice

Spickle Tue 03-May-16 07:44:42

Don't know what to advise other than check your Lease - there should be various covenants and rights of way over common areas and may also state what structures are not allowed to be built on the land. Also, is the front garden communal or do you have it split into two separate areas for each leaseholder? I wonder if you could erect what is known as a "bin" store to put the pram in. Many leases mention "bin" areas though this is usually where there is a block of flats and a management company is looking after the communal areas.

Sorry not very helpful.

BurstMyBubbles Tue 03-May-16 07:50:06

We have a 'bike cave tidy tent' that could work as temporary storage?

Collaborate Tue 03-May-16 07:50:50

You cannot anyway erect a shed in an apartment garden without planning permission. It all rests on whether the structure is free standing or whether it has a prepared base.

I agree with the PP - if your lease doesn't entitle you to do what you want, then if you cannot persuade them you simply cannot do it.

gingeroots Tue 03-May-16 08:13:35

You cannot anyway erect a shed in an apartment garden without planning permission

I never knew that ,loads of breaches in my part of the world. .
Could you point me to the planning law ? Very interesting .

Arfarfanarf Tue 03-May-16 08:21:59

Do you jointly own 100 percent of the garden? Could you split it so you each fully own 50 percent? If you are the sole owner of 50 percent and it's marked out then you can put what you like on it and you wont need their permission (of course subject to any regulations on building sheds)

Collaborate Tue 03-May-16 11:06:58

Look at this:

Sheds are allowed under Class E, but if you look under the heading "General Issues" you'll see that "dwelling house" does not include buildings containing one or more flats or a single flat contained within a building.

So, if it's not allowed as PD (permitted development) then you need PP for it.

Twinmama12 Tue 03-May-16 16:29:12

Thanks everyone, really helpful. He won't give a reason, just said he doesn't want it. We don't want a shed just a storage box unit, big enough for a folded pram. Is a Victorian house split into 2 flats, ours and his. We are 50/50 freeholders and the front outside space is owned 50/50. There is nothing in the lease document. I guess my thinking was that surely if it's owned 50/50 we could put a small storage box on one side? He doesn't live here and the garden is currently very overgrown with weeds and looks awful. I have said I will tidy it and do weeds etc. we won't do anything without his permission but may have to go to a solicitor to see where we stand as if legally we can put one in then we will have to. Thanks again!

gingeroots Tue 03-May-16 18:57:20

Honestly I'd go ahead and put it there .

Twinmama12 Tue 03-May-16 22:46:35

I wish I was brave enough! I just got an email to say that he believes a storage box would affect the privacy of his flat. Just to explain it would not be in front of or within view of the flat...... I may need to get some official legal advice I think. So frustrating.... Thanks for all your advice!

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 03-May-16 22:52:05

I wouldn't bother paying for legal advice to be honest - you need to agree, as you own 50% each. If they won't agree and the lease doesn't allow you to do it, you can't do it - just like he can't put anything you disagree with on his half.

You could build it anyway but I believe he could remove it as long as he didn't damage it. We

Spickle Wed 04-May-16 07:37:43

Do you have half of the rear garden? If so, could you put a storage box there, presuming you have access to it from the front?

Twinmama12 Wed 04-May-16 08:14:02

We have all the back garden but no access from the front unfortunately (we are top flat so would have to go upstairs, through house, down stairs to garden...).

Collaborate Thu 05-May-16 09:15:58

I'm somewhat confused now about the ownership. You are joint owners of the freehold, but that is not what determines (I'm sure you're aware of this) how you can use the gardens. It's the lease that does this.

You have exclusive use of the back garden. Upthread you mention that you have 50/50 use of the front. How does this apply? Is the use shared with the other flat, so you each have use of the whole? If that is the case then I presume that the lease gives each leaseholder the right to use the frontage. The alternative would be that the front is split down the middle and you each have a separate half.

If the lease is silent as to whether you can leave anything out in the front, then I suppose a free-standing storage box would be no different to , say, a small table and chair set. I can't see that being a problem, and if there is a legitimate objection from your neighbour you can easily remove it.

gingeroots Thu 05-May-16 09:27:04

Of no relevance I know but I live in an upper flat ,50% share of freehold and a forecourt that is described in the lease as a shared common part .

No word about what can and can't be done on it .I'd like to have the lease rewritten (it'needs extending ) so that the forecourt is divided into 2 parts .As it is the groundfloor flat use it as their personal parking space ,parking diagonally across it with a huge Chelsea tractor so that to gain access to the side of the house ( our route to our garden at the rear ) we have to walk all the way round it onto the road footpath .

But ...that's nothing compared to coping with toddling twins and struggling with a pushchair .

WriteforFun1 Thu 05-May-16 09:38:47

his objection of privacy makes no sense

if you are allowed use of the front garden, then you could stand in a spot that looks into his flat couldn't you? Or sit out there with a book and cup of tea?

He sounds like he is being difficult for the sake of it. I would try reasoning before getting expensive legal advice though.

Hufflepuffin Thu 05-May-16 09:53:29

I think you have a few options, not all of them are as good as each other!

Do you know anyone who could do a sketch of how it would look? You could get them to add in the improvements you'd make to the garden (weeding, possibly paving) to sweeten the deal.

You could swap your buggy for an umbrella fold side by side and get this type of storage unit (again, ideally with a picture to show how unobstrusive it is).

You could get a cheap double buggy with plastic wheels (like a city mini) and leave it folded and chained to the fence, covered with a travel bag or tarp. (Maybe if you did this with your current one and took a picture to compare to how nice the storage unit would look that would help your case!). This obviously isn't ideal!

You could get a light weight single buggy and a sling and use those instead of the double buggy – also not ideal, but at least you can get out of the house! (Could you do this just to walk to the car and transfer into your double buggy? Again, not ideal but might help temporarily.)

On a similar note, you could get two lightweight umbrella buggies and some of these straps to go between them – also not ideal!

You could offer to get a solicitor to draw up a contract saying you will remove the structure on the twin's 3rd birthday or something? Or at least offer to do this! Maybe get a nice bin storage unit and say on their 3rd birthday it will become communal property and his flat can use it for rubbish?

It sounds like an utter nightmare right now, I hope you figure out a way to live with it!

gingeroots Thu 05-May-16 11:57:06

Great post huffle . I keep racking my brain for helpful soloutions and not coming up with much .

My own contribution was wondering if a lightweight double umbrella fold could be hung on a wall behind the front door ,like people hang bikes ....?

I'm really upset that the other freeholder isn't being helpful ,just why be so mean ?

Also ( though I keep suggesting this on other threads ) I wonder if the OP might get some good legal advice over on Motley Fools

They were very helpful to me .

Hufflepuffin Thu 05-May-16 12:19:14

I also wonder if there's a location you could put it that would make his window more private? (By blocking access to the bit directly in front of his window).

At this stage I'd still be approaching him with a bright optimistic tone that you can work something out together.

Waffles80 Sun 08-May-16 07:44:59

The light weight umbrella fold buggies aren't actually that light, in my experience.

Twinmama12 Mon 09-May-16 18:22:06

Thank you so much everyone, lots of great advice! I think he is just being difficult, like you say. On a positive note he has now said that I should send him the dimensions for a possible storage box. I really don't want to buy another pram as this one was quite expensive and I love it (I know I'm probably being precious but my twins were extremely premature and I am kind of attached to the pram for silly reasons as we honestly didn't think we would ever get to use it). I don't know how to explain the ownership any differently, sorry. We own our flat, the back garden and 50 percent of the front garden. We are 50/50 freeholders. I am really hoping he agrees to a storage box as it is just a nightmare. Where we want to put it it is not even visible from his flat. Thanks again everyone, much appreciated and helpful suggestions 😄

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