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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Spitting blood - neighbourly dispute - advice please!

(35 Posts)
Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:07:02

Sorry this is a little bit long but I really don't know what to do and I am losing sleep I am so mad.

My neighbour had just put a locked door barring access to a communal storage area and refuses to give us a key. He used to live in our house and starting using an old oil bunker as additional storage for wood and coal in the eighties. He moved from our house about ten years ago to the house next door and continued to use it. When we moved in, we asked other neighbours who owned the bunker told no one so we started to use it to store our coal and wood in. He has asked us a couple of times to remove our belongings and we have refused. By his own admission this does not appear on his deeds as his property. Over the weekend he put a solid locked door and won't give us a key. DP challenged him and he says he has 'prerequisite rights' as he has used it since the 1987.

My question is whether such a thing exists. AS far as I remember from our deeds the bunker is communal property between the five properties that share our area of the estate. We are prpeared to take legal action but obviously don't want the stress and hassle if he is in the right. Does anyone know if it's worth seeing a solicitor? Any advice to give?

The man is a miserable bully. Our garden is situated some way away from the house so we have no convenient storage. We are happy to share and do not claim ownership.
All we want is somewhere to store fuel for the fire and, int he future, DS's bike.

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:10:48

Bloody neighbours eh??
Prerequisite rights do most certainly exist, however, they would only apply if he had been the only person using this as storage, i.e. nothing that was previously communal. When did you move to in to your house?

Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:12:20

We have been using it for three and a half years since we moved in.

Caligula Mon 09-May-05 16:14:30

Yes they do exist but if your deeds say that it's communal and you bought your house on that basis, then there's a legal argument worth having. I would certainly see a solicitor, most will give you the first appointment free and it won't cost you that much. It really depends on how much you want the storage, whether it's worth fighting for or not.

Caligula Mon 09-May-05 16:16:41

Three years! And then he puts a lock on it!

Oh, the other thing is, he has no right to confiscate your property. It's not reasonable.

Janh Mon 09-May-05 16:18:14

As he used to use it from the house you now live in, don't the rights relate as much to your house as to him personally - and I bet other people have also used it between 1987 and now. Definitely worth seeing a solicitor, or a CAB as it says at the top (I have no legal knowledge myself, ahem!).

Sponge Mon 09-May-05 16:21:06

He might have gained a right to something that wasn't communal or didn't go with his property because he has been allowed uninterrupted usage but he can't lock you out of somewhere which you have access to as part of your deeds just because he's been using it too. I'd definitely fight him if you need the storage - miserable git.

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:21:07

ok, the first thing I would do before going to see a solicitor is check with the land registry www.landregistry.gov.uk and see what is registered for each property that is supposed to share this storage area. His property may not actually be registered if he's owned it for many years. Include your own property if you don't have a copy of the deeds. You'll have to ask for a copy of the title plan (and the index plan if you want a map), you'll need the full postal address for each property. The title plan will detail any covenants, rights of way, access etc for the properties, so somewhere (hopefully) you should find details of this communal storage area. Copies are charged at £4 each (I think!) -if you were to do this through a solicitor they would charge you for their time as well and it's really easy for you to do yourself.

Hopefully, this will tell you what you need to know and you can send your neighbour a "without prejudice" letter to tell him what he can do with his lock!! If this get's you nowhere, then go and see a solicitor.
Good luck

Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:22:48

I will get the deeds from the building society and double check what it says.

I'm willing to fight it on a matter on prinicple. The man is a bully who thinks he runs the estate (sits on all of the committees etc). What really frustrates me is that we live in a small community of five houses (stable conversion) all looking in on eachother. Because it is so close it is important to love thy neighbour. At the moment DP is going to punch him. Everytime we seem to start getting on reasonably well with him he goes and does something like this.

That being said we cab;t afford to spend a lot of moeny on this only to lose out.

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:23:39

BTW, I had a problem with a neighbour, something similar and one appointment, a couple of searches and one letter cost me £500

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:24:43

Dophus, check with the building society how much a copy will cost, they will charge you and probably more than the land registry

Caligula Mon 09-May-05 16:27:09

I don't think it would cost you a lot Dophus and what you could also do, is start joining committees and embarrassing him by referring to bad neighbours etc. That might also be a cheaper approach!

The thing about people like him is, that there's no point in trying to get on with them. You can't placate the implacable, you can only reason with reasonable people. Once you've decided not to get on with him, though, you have to be prepared to always be on bad terms with him, even though he's your next door neighbour. If you're happy with that, then go for it.

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:27:24

Sorry me again. I forgot to make it clear you can request copies of ANY property with the land registry, you do not have to be the owner - you can just be nosey

Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:28:23

My last post crossed.

I will try the landregistry first. Just to clarify - I need to ask for the 'title plan' qand 'index plan' for, say, three out of the five properties that share out area?

Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:30:28

lmb - did your letter work?

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:34:31

Well I would ask for both, you could call their customer services and ask their advice. But generally a title plan will give you details (the name and address) of the freeholder of the property and details of any leases against the property, rights of way, access etc. In a title plan they can refer to maps, such as "a right of way granted to Mr Bloggs, marked as red on the plan" however, you will have to ask for a copy of the map which (I'm sure) is a copy of the index plan.
HTH

Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:37:06

I've just had a look at their website. Both should be available online for properties bought/sold since 2000.

This would include us and one neighbour (but not him) so I will do it now.

thanks for your advice

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:39:39

Yes, the letter did work, although the land was shown to be in our ownership so our neighbour didn't have a leg to stand on - he was our new neighbour, who, in our first "welcome to the neighbourhood" conversation announced that part of our garden was his and he was going to build on it. Whoopee great news eh? £500 is a lot of money to prove that you own your garden, especially when you've lived there and enjoyed that space for 8 years! but it was worth every penny just to wipe the smirk off the arrogant gits face. BTW we get on ok-ish with him now.

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:42:32

Dophus, I'd check with your nearest land registry office to see if postal searches may be better (they arrive within a couple of days) because they can go back further than that. Perhaps it's only the most recent years that are available online IYSWIM

Dophus Mon 09-May-05 16:55:12

LMB, glad to hear everything has worked out well for you in the end. I'm still amazed how people can be so arrogant and selfish - I wonder what goes on in their minds to justify their actions.

Janh Mon 09-May-05 16:55:46

lmb, what made him think it was his?

littlemissbossy Mon 09-May-05 16:59:16

Janh, it's a bit complicated, but years before we lived her, the previous owners of our house sold a piece of land to the previous owners of his house so that they could build a garage on it and he was confused as to the line of boundary.
Oh and also because he's a bit of a tosser and thinks he owns the whole estate... just like Dophus's neighbour

Berries Mon 09-May-05 20:46:28

Have a look here they've got lots of good tips & advice in the discussion forum

Dophus Tue 10-May-05 13:15:40

Great stuff Berries. My neighbour has posted there!

However the facts as he outlines them are not quite as they stand ...

Janh Tue 10-May-05 14:02:17

Dophus, I went straight to it, is that his actual name?

Are you going to register and post a response? See if you can pretend to be a helpful observer and tease some damning information out of him?

lmb, it's amazing how inaccurate land registry documents seem to be sometimes!

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