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Neighbour parking dispute

(53 Posts)
ZenNudist Sun 31-Jul-16 23:11:39

My NDN went on holiday leaving their car in our shared driveway for a week.

This has been going on for over 18m that the owners live in boyfriend parks there routinely. We have asked him to stop and even put up a sign but he carries on regardless.

This latest week of blocking drive caused us to lose out on having work done in back garden (first opportunity with parental care for our DC and we couldn't have the bags of materials delivered or get the wheelbarrow past to put rubbish in the booked skip.

We don't want to fall out with them because it would be awkward and upsetting. We have turned a blind eye lately but it makes it really hard to get on and off our drive with his car parked in the shared drive.

So I've written a letter marked in contemplation of legal action explaining why they are causing a nuisance and attaching a copy of the deeds (she is likely to never have seen them as she inherited house).

Dh is installing cctv to keep a record of when they park there for a few months. I suppose if they continue to park there as he has done to date then I will file a complaint at the small claims court. My questions are (1) can I recover court costs? (2) what can the courts actually achieve? Is it a fine?

I am absolutely sick of it. So I'm prepared to take them to court if necessary but I can't see it will make much difference as they've ignored all our attempts to stop them so far.

AgentProvocateur Sun 31-Jul-16 23:26:56

But surely if it's a shared drive they have as much right as you to park there?

MagzFarquarson Sun 31-Jul-16 23:46:31

OP, do you mean that the NDN has parked on shared driveway AND the boyfriend has also parked therefore not leaving any room for you? Sorry bit confused. Is there only room for two cars?

ZenNudist Sun 31-Jul-16 23:58:43

It's the shared access. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

We live in a semidetached with a garage to the rear. There is a driveway between the two houses room enough for one car. They have a defunct vehicle parked at the rear on the hard standing.

We don't use the garage for the car although dh keeps saying he wants to. I wouldn't be able to reverse down the narrow drive.

We created off road parking in front of our house but they declined our offer of doing theirs at the same time for a reduced cost.

The Deeds state that the shared access is not to be obstructed at any time. In contravention of this They park in front of the gate to the drive. I can just about get my car on and off my own parking space with his car in the way but have scraped my car a few times because of the way he's parked. Sometimes I just give up and park on busy main road.

The annoyance this week is that because of him parking where he shouldn't and not leaving keys we couldn't get tonne bags of bark delivered or rip out decking and stick it in skip. Because his car is n the way.

We also haven't been able to get bins out easily.

Theyve also left skips there for weeks on end.

I think I can get court injunction and make them liable for costs of doing so. The deeds expressly say no vehicles to be parked in the shared access and no visitors vehicles, it says nothing stationary should be left there.

It's really upsetting me.

rollonthesummer Sun 31-Jul-16 23:59:35

Do they realise you can't use the driveway if they are in it?

Scrumptiousbears Mon 01-Aug-16 00:05:42

Obviously not being about to visualise this but if you can get the car off but sometimes scrap it, is it a case that there is access but it's a tight squeeze?

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 00:25:14

There is access to my new off-road parking at the front but it's a squeeze when he is blocking the 'shared access' bit which is the straight drive down the middle of the 2 houses. The 'shared access' refers to ability to access the back of the house via the drive which is his firmly blocking.

There is a restrictive covenant in the deed that says vehicles cannot park on this 'shared access' drive bit, nor can any other obstructions be left on the way (e.g. Skips!)

I don't know if this helps visualise but there are two semis next to each other with a drive down the middle and a gate connecting the two houses. My house has hard standing in front of it (behind a low wall) so I can park in front, they have a lawn / garden behind a low wall. The driveway is in between my hard standing and their lawn. He is parked in front of the gate on the driveway.

MyKingdomForBrie Mon 01-Aug-16 00:29:32

It's perfectly clear to me OP, he's parking in contravention of the restrictive covenants. Yes you should be able to recover costs and you should be given an injunction to ban them from doing it, with consequences if they break it.

FuzzyOwl Mon 01-Aug-16 00:33:25

I think in your situation the courts would reiterate that your ndn (and anyone visiting such as the boyfriend) cannot part on the shared driveway and you will probably (but not definitely) have your costs paid for by the losing side/your ndn.

OutToGetYou Mon 01-Aug-16 00:34:03

He won't be fined though, fines are for criminal acts and this is a civil (or uncivilised, really!) matter, but yes, you might get an injunction. Whether that would actually stop them is another matter of course!

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 06:40:39

OutToGetYou that's what I'm afraid of, that we can go through the courts and still end up back at square one.

I've it's financially putative to them you'd think that would be enough of a threat.

To be clear I don't want it to come to that. I just want to know that I've got some recourse before I even mention it.

I don't want to fine them I don't want to fall out really I just want them to respect the boundaries laid out when we bought the house.

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 06:41:57

^if it is financially punative 😳 Stupid phone

ButtfaceMiscreant Mon 01-Aug-16 06:47:20

What does the bf say when you have spoken to him previously? Did they know of your plans for work to happen this week, and therefore knew if they parked there it would prevent the work from happening?

lastnightiwenttomanderley Mon 01-Aug-16 07:04:20

I know exactly the arrangement you're describing, op.

Firstly, have you discussed this with them? As PP have said, if they inherited the house then they may not understand that it's a shared access. Particularly as you have created additional parking at the front of your house so presumably don't use the access regularly? I appreciate that this current situation is hugely inconvenient but if you haven't mentioned it to them before then it seems a bit unfair to start talking about taking it further and you risk damaging your relationship with them.

If you have already spoken to the ndn, what was their response? If this is the case and they know they shouldn't be doing it then it's downright cheeky. Have you spoken to your solicitor? That would be my first port of call, to understand what recourse you do have. At the very least they can send a letter with the deeds attached highlighting that it is shares access and not to be obstructed. This may have the desired effect.

Lastly, do you or DH ever park on your driveway in front of the garage? Do this every so often. 1. Ndn will see you doing it and it will reinforce that it's shared access, but in exercising your right of access it also keeps you secure legally - these are tricky things but normally using the access is the best way to safeguard it. Also, if your car is parked at the back, they may morally not want to block you in so will have experience to park elsewhere, maybe forcing them to reassess their own use of space. Not only that but if they do block you in, I gather from other parking threads you can then arrange for their car to be moved.

You're unlikely to have any recourse with regards to the scratches to your car as arguably you should have had their car moved out if the way if it was blocking you in so it's your ' choice' to have squeezed through. What are the financial implications of rescheduling the work to the garden? If you are out of pocket then you may be able to claim this but consider how much it is and the context of taking your ndn to court and the long term effect if that.

Personally? I'd have said 'just so you know, weve got a big delivery coming for the garden on X date so there may be some vehicles going up.and down the access' once it was booked in. Appreciate that your relationship mat he very different though.

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 07:58:56

We have repeatedly told him and his attitude is he will move it if asked. The problem is that if we pull up and can't get in then we just park on road. It's a pain to park up then go and ask then move car again. We are busy people we have about 1.5-2 hours in the evening to get kids fed barged and in bed and more rigmarole over parking on our own drive is undesirable. Also I feel stressed having to go and ask.

He also if reminded that he's not allowed to park there parks further over. But that doesn't stop it being a squeeze to get on and off and makes parking sensors go off so that when your reversing into a busy main road the a cyclist or pedestrian 'nips in' behind you it's potentially dangerous.

Dh wants to use the access but we needed to shore up the pointing on the back drive area again which was what part of the work we were doing this weekend was about but couldn't have materials delivered due to them going away blocking the access.

We shouldn't gave to be telling them to leave it clear. They know that they are not allowed to leave a car blocking our access. They didn't see fit to tell us they were going away for a week leaving it blocked.

Also to park at the back you'd have to unlock 2 sets of gates which is a pain so dh wants to remove the front gate but NDN has a dog and no fence on their own back garden so we can't do this, plus their young children like to play in the drive (we don't let ours as we have nice garden. Out of consideration to them we are leaving the front gate on and locked all the time but they are then taking advantage of that and parking in the space created in front of it. To be clear we never ever do this as we are abiding by the legal agreement in the deeds but it would be a lot more convenient to just use that space (I'm never going to do this ).

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 07:59:29

^ bathed not barged!

user7755 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:07:06

I'm confused by your first post, you don't want to fall out with them so you are going to threaten them with legal action? If I didn't want to fall out with someone, there are other things that I would do.

Invite them round to discuss a way forward, tell them that you weren't able to do the things you needed to do because the car was blocking the access. Tell them that it's causing you inconvenience and that you have damaged your car as a result of him parking there and ask them what they think they could do differently. And in the meantime, practice reversing so you can reverse down the driveway.

All that said, they are totally in the wrong.

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 08:24:36

User 7755 I've already had these conversations with them. We have had 18 months of it. Also I plan to talk more and actually give them copy of deeds to see if that makes a difference... If not then start writing letters threatening legal action.

At what point after repeatedly discussing this with them is it ever appropriate to take further action?

BurningGubbins Mon 01-Aug-16 08:30:50

If you send that letter (I think) if you ever sell your house you'll need to declare the dispute with the neighbour and it will affect the value. Or at least that was the legal advice we were given recently when we had a boundary dispute with our neighbour. I agree with the PP, have them round and discuss all angles properly.

user7755 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:32:04

Zen - fair enough. I just didn't get that from your OP.

BurningGubbins Mon 01-Aug-16 08:32:56

Sorry, took me ages to type that missed your last post. You've already discussed, but yes, show them the deeds as they are obvious unaware.

ZenNudist Mon 01-Aug-16 08:50:46

Burning, yes I know we have to declare dispute if we sell but unfortunately we would also have to live with it if we don't act and it's seriously annoying.

We are going to keep on talking to them but even putting up s sign that says '24 hour access required' hasn't had an effect.

So in adding to my current strategy if letting dh go ahead with his plan to use the back more. That means telling them they have, what, 4 weeks to get a fence put in their own back garden to keep the dog in. Would that be a reasonable amount if notice? I think it will crake us that long to get the back reprinted and garage cleared so we can use it.

If court is such a toothless threat we could just start parking on the access too, but I don't want to be as bad as them. We just aren't going to do that.

thisisafakename Mon 01-Aug-16 08:51:09

He won't be fined though, fines are for criminal acts and this is a civil (or uncivilised, really!) matter, but yes, you might get an injunction

You can get damages though, for any financial loss that you suffer as a result of their actions.

If you have been speaking to them for 18 months and no improvement, I would instruct a solicitor to write them a warning letter, asking them to stop parking there immediately or you will issue legal proceedings for an injunction and for damages and ask them to pay the costs.

You will need to take photos of the parking so that it is clear what they are doing. Are you keeping a regular log of when they park and the times you have asked them to stop doing it and their responses? If there is anything in writing, keep hold of that, even if just text messages. If you apply for an injunction, you will need to file a witness statement with evidence.

If you are feeling charitable, you can give them one last warning before instructing a solicitor. Do this in writing and include a copy of the deeds, highlighted where it says they cannot obstruct the access. Tell them to move the car immediately.

Don't worry about potential house values and a dispute. You're the one in the right, you're just enforcing your legal right. If you simply allow them to use it, over time they might argue that there is implied release from the restrictive covenant. That would adversely affect the value of the house. Also, it's not really a 'dispute' seeing as it will be very hard for your neighbour to argue that she has a right to block your access.

user7755 Mon 01-Aug-16 08:55:16

I think I'm having a slow morning. confused

In order to use the back of your drive, you need to take the first gate off, but because of the neighbour's dog this means that they would have to put another gate in somewhere else. Have I understood that correctly? Is the first gate shared too? If so, wouldn't you need to decide that jointly? Also, does that meant that their dog runs around on your drive as well as theirs? (That has nothing to do with the discussion but it would get on my nerves).

thisisafakename Mon 01-Aug-16 08:56:48

At what point after repeatedly discussing this with them is it ever appropriate to take further action?

Any time, but you should send a warning letter before action to give them a chance to rectify their behaviour. The court would expect this too.
It really does sound like they have been given every possible chance and you would absolutely not be overreacting by taking action. Are they a bit thick?
I would also not describe the threat of court action as toothless. If they breach an injunction, it is a contempt of court and they can be fined or imprisoned for that (so there's a nice little threat), plus they can be ordered to pay damages to you for direct financial loss but also the inconvenience of not having access to your land.

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