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Other freeholders putting pressure on us regarding our gardens

(17 Posts)
susiegrapevine Wed 08-Jul-15 22:04:35

Hey we recently did some building work in our flat. We did it all ourselves and chucked the wood in the back garden right at the back which was already the 'wild' part of the garden for burning later. We put all the rubble type rubbish in bags on the front garden (we are a ground floor flat and own the gardens well as far as it goes according to the lease I guess). So admittedly we left the rubbish out there for a while as we just didn't get round to sorting someone to come and dispose of it. So the person who owns the flat upstairs had mentioned a couple of times the neighbours had complained (aka his tenants I think) so we got rid of it. Still have the wood out back as we are waiting for autumn to burn it as darker evenings no one will have windows open etc. So we have a freeholders meeting (shared freehold of 3 flats) which I didn't go to only dh. So on the agenda is about the rubbish possibly attracting rats as upstairs have had rats before. So dh said oh its all being sorted and we are waiting till autumn to burn back rubbish and no sign of rats and we have a cat. Also points out that upstairs occasionally throw bread out for the seagulls and if anything is going to attract rats that will. (Actually they throw all kinds of rubbish out there every day including a whole bunch of peanuts which I had to sweep up the other day) also on the agenda was does dh want sole responsibility for the gardens???!! Now I am worried they are looking to possibly take the garden off us?? And also wanted to know if they have any rights to tell us what we should and shouldn't be doing with our own garden. Am on the verge of getting the lease out to read over what it says about the garden. I am pretty sure it doesn't say anything about the upkeep of the garden as its not shared. I think the upstairs tenants are just jealous but now I am worried. We have lived here for 8 years and never had any problems before. All the same people own the flats/Share of freehold so its not like new people are trying to muscle in.

FuckingLiability Wed 08-Jul-15 22:11:28

I'm not clear if these gardens are actually yours? You say 'we are a ground floor flat and own the gardens well as far as it goes according to the lease I guess', and what's this about your DH having sole responsibility for the gardens? It doesn't make much sense.

Even if it's not a shared garden, if it was me I'd be a bit annoyed about the garden owner leaving a load of rubbish out the front and dumping a load of wood in the back for months on end.

Gingerandcocoa Wed 08-Jul-15 22:19:28

What do you want us to say? Just read your lease!

bowsaw Wed 08-Jul-15 22:24:19

just burning it in the garden? save the time and get its on freecycle and get some one to take it off your hands

TheRealMaryMillington Wed 08-Jul-15 22:27:54

If it's not new people and hitherto there have been no issues I think it's only fair to conclude that the rubbish/state of the garden must be a problem.

You may own the leasehold on the garden (best check that pronto) but it's pretty antisocial to leave a ton of building waste in the garden that your fellow freeholders have to look out at and walk past every day.

Also re rats, they may have a point. They like piles of old wood to live in and cats are not preventative tbh. Also burning that kind of rubbish is also antisocial and probably you are not supposed to - clear air act etc - just take it to the tip!

Babymamamama Wed 08-Jul-15 22:35:06

I'm glad I'm not your neighbour I'd hate to look out at that mess.

DoreenLethal Wed 08-Jul-15 22:38:49

Read your lease and sort out the rubbish take it to a tip if you can.
Burning tantalised wood is not good for the lungs. And some of us do go outside all year round and have to breathe the foul stench of other people's fires. So just sort it out.

susiegrapevine Wed 08-Jul-15 22:57:36

Hmm they don't have to walk past it, its at the very back of our garden. Yes it is our garden on the lease as far as I remember. And we have not had the same neighbours above us the whole time we have lived here. The lady at the top flat has lived above us for the whole time but the fff who are above us (and throw all sorts of food waste into our garden for the seagulls on a daily basis) are the ones complaining about the rubbish. We have had the rubbish taken out of our front garden. I didn't know what the rules were concerning leases and so didn't know if the freeholders could just take the garden off us. Our garden is 60ft long so its not like the stuff is anywhere near the property. On the agenda was actually written 'does dh want sole responsibility for the garden' this is what worried me.

TheRealMaryMillington Wed 08-Jul-15 23:15:29

Your OP said it was "all the same people"

Thing is, if they think it's a problem, it's a problem. So it would be neighbourly to shift it.

You are well within rights to ask lady to quit it with the food waste. But it doesn't make her being upset with the building rubbish any less valid.

Your lease will give you the info you need but I doubt that the freeholders can overturn the leasehold rights to the garden unless you have breached the terms of the lease in some significant way but you should definitely be confident that you understand your lease, in detail, before the meeting. It sounds like a weird agenda item - as if their understanding of the ownership might be different.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-Jul-15 23:23:41

I'm confused leasehold and freehold are the opposite.
Are you saying the flat is freehold and the garden leasehold?
Also, why would you have meetings if you own your own place? or even if you leased it?
I have never heard of meetings like this before, I'd hate the intrusion and nosy neighbours tbh.
Read your lease, tidy your garden and stay away from meetings.

susiegrapevine Thu 09-Jul-15 07:21:28

We are shared freeholders because of this each flat has its own lease. The meeting was to discuss a leak in the roof coming into the flat upstairs but all this other stuff was bought up too. If we didn't attend the meeting the other flats would be able to make decisions about the building maintenance without us. As it only needs a majority to make the decision.

TheRealMaryMillington Thu 09-Jul-15 09:14:39

morethan it's quite common in flats within a single building, unless a third party landlord owns the freehold. the flats are each on leasehold, and each person owns the lease of the flat and a share of the freehold of the whole building - so communal areas and things that affect the whole building - roof, hall, external paintwork - are shared ownership. . Often the garden too or some parts of it - OP needs to be sure what the lease states.

OliviaBenson Thu 09-Jul-15 09:16:28

You need to check the lease. If it is entirely your garden, then you can do what you like. However I would try and get the wood removed as a goodwill gesture- lots of people would be happy to take it off your hands I'm sure.

If it is your garde, you would also be within your rights to ask the upstairs to stop throwing waste food into it.

Mintyy Thu 09-Jul-15 09:18:43

"Am on the verge of getting the lease out to read over what it says about the garden."

That seems a sensible place to start.

paxtecum Thu 09-Jul-15 09:27:26

What sort of wood is it?
If is painted it will realease toxic, stinky fumes when you burn it.
Same if it is chipboard or MDF.

Needmoresleep Thu 09-Jul-15 09:28:36

Also even if it is your garden, its other people's view. Though they can't enforce it, they presumably don't like looking out on a pile of rubbish.

When reading your lease check also to see if you have obligations to keep the garden neat and tidy.

I agree with TRMM. If they think it is a problem, it is a problem. Clear it up, apologise, and then you will be able to complain (mention gently) should others do things to irritate you, like throwing out food waste.

You might as well get on, especially if there are issues like a leaking roof. BBQ for all, in your garden?

LBOCS Thu 09-Jul-15 09:43:55

You are shared freeholders if you are members of the company which owns the freehold. That is completely separate from your lease which you still have an obligation to abide by; the lease is the document which allows you to reside in the property for x no of years.

You need to get your lease out to have a look at your demised areas, if you have conveyancing plans then they may help too. Then check the lease to see what your obligations are in respect of those areas; the part you need is likely to be one of the schedules at the back of the document (before the seal and plans if there are any).

If the garden is demised to you then your neighbours can't use it, and you will need to look at the lease to see what your obligations are. If it's a shared garden then you need to move your things out of it if you don't have permission to leave them there.

Your neighbours need to stop feeding the birds; you will get rats if they continue.

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