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Problem neighbour

(24 Posts)
Nagyonmelissa Sat 07-Jan-17 00:23:59

Hi. I'm looking for advice. We were awarded a grant for a new heating system and gas connection to our flat. All we needed to do was get the permission slips signed saying the neighbours agree to the gas pipe being installed. There are 3 shops and 3 flats (including ourselves) in the block of flats. They all agreed to the works no hassle. It's our neighbour out back who owns a third of rhe land that is against the gas.

I have a 2 year old and an 8 month old. We currently have coal fire central heating. No fire no heating. We live on the 2nd floor with no lift and no where to store the coal but outside in the garden. It's not ideal to live in such a cold house but we have tried selling for a year with no success. This neighbour has a burnt down shed in our shared garden for a year which has stopped buyers.

He is stopping the gas being fitted because it runs "under" his building. The room it runs under is a first floor overhang. He has gas central heating!!! He says ours is dangerous but his is fine. How do I deal with this?!

I want to punch him but thats not an option. How can he live with the knowledge that he is stopping our girls living in a warm house. He knows all about our situation. Us all living in one room and my husband sleeping on the floor so I can keep checking the girls are warm in out bed at night. This has only been a problem since I became pregnant with our second as I can no longer carry coal or just leave the house when I can't be bothered.

Is there anyway to get the gas installed without his permission? Should I speak to my councillor? The gas company have tried reasoning with him. My solicitor adviced that I give him money. My husband does all ge can to support our family but he earns minimum wage. Do I give this guy our food money? We can't sell because of him. We cant get heating because of him.

I can't sleep at night listening to my kids cough knowing that completely free heating is right in front of me. It is like a real punishment.

Ilovecaindingle Sat 07-Jan-17 00:25:41

Contact your MP?

YelloDraw Sat 07-Jan-17 13:22:05

Oh what a terrible situation.

Can't you have electric heating instead of the coal fire?

wowfudge Sat 07-Jan-17 14:05:46

Contact your local councillor. Have the gas supply company considered another way of connecting your flat without impacting on this neighbour? Can you get the others who have given permission to speak to him?

specialsubject Sat 07-Jan-17 14:29:27

while I suspect that it is the lack of heating that means the place doesn't sell, that is the problem that you are trying to solve! Electric heating would work but that is not what the grant is for.

a bribe would be a waste of time (and why should you?) - I bet he would keep coming back for more. If you have an interested MP (i.e not an idle sod in a safe seat) try them, but a councillor will probably be more proactive.

BadKnee Sat 07-Jan-17 21:52:39

Plenty of places don't have gas central heating. If it is a small flat electric heating won't be so expensive and will be far less disruptive to install.

There may be good reasons why the owner is against it - and if there is no benefit to him it is understandable.

Check your lease. Talk to the freeholder if you have one. See if there is a legal way round this. If not then get electric heating and be warm. Then sell.

BadKnee Sat 07-Jan-17 22:04:43

And really would many of us agree to have our house dug up and someone else's gas pipe run underneath it? Would you disrupt your home for a neighbour? What guarantee does he have that you will compensate him for his costs/ his garden or that the disruption will be minimum?

He is NOT responsible for your children's health - you are. The children are a red herring in this. This is all about money OP.

You bought a place with no heating. You bought it cheaply because of that. You knew it would cost money to install heating. You were banking on a grant - ie the taxpayer/ other gas bill payers would subsidise the heating so that you could sell for a higher price.

You can sell now- but want maximum price - of course - we all do - and you want free heating installation. As I said - all about money.

Nagyonmelissa Sun 08-Jan-17 00:10:15

Hi. Thank you for all the replies. We can't really get electric heating as our flat is from the 1800s and leaks a lot of heat. We were advised that gas would be our best and cheapest form of heating. The company would look at putting in electric heating but only if we really begged. The gas company have been really great and are looking at alternative routes but it would depend on planning permission and the council.

We have always sent buyer a home report before viewing so they know about the heating. It is when they look out our window and see his shed that they get scared. Who wants to buy a bad neighbour?

We bought our place over 3 years ago while we were full time students and running our own company. We had two daughters while at uni which ended in May. As students you are not eligible for any gov assistance and we worked very hard to just survive. We only became eligible for this grant when my husband closed the company to work full time in the field he studied for. So no. We did not expect anything when buying our house and if we don't get this then that's life. We were just hoping like everyone else to get a break from one stress.

UnconventionalWarfare Sun 08-Jan-17 04:58:49

Badknee the house would not be "dug up" modern piping systems are layed using mole systems the actual disruption is minimal the neighbour is being a dickhead.

EvaSthlm Sun 08-Jan-17 05:18:10

Maybe a silly question, but can't you do something about the flat leaking heat like a sieve? Will not any heating will be unnecessarily expensive until you've insulated the rooms inwards? You take photos from the outside with an infrared camera (there are stuff you can connect to your smartphone). I'm just saying inwards as I've seen my hubby insulate all rooms inwards and it's very neatly done. You might want to read up on the topic and see if it's something worth looking into, whatever happens with the coal-gas debacle and your neighbours view. Also, would it be possible to fit an air heat pump onto the building somewhere? I understand it's not very 1800s but there are ways to cover it up. Someone could complain about noise, though, if it's not fitted in properly. (By the way, up where I am, abroad, our house now can stand temperatures of even -18C, which we had last week, and which is basically why we insulated it, and inside it's like +22 all year around. Insulation is key, and the house now works pretty much like a thermos flask...)

manhowdy Sun 08-Jan-17 05:55:20

I am not sure what to suggest re gas either than a heart to heart with the neighbour, or re-routing of the pipe. Other suggestions recommended also sound good: insulating inside to out then electric storage heaters.

Ref the burnt down shed - can your husband clear it away? I know he shouldn't have to, but if it's a means to an end?

AndShesGone Sun 08-Jan-17 06:08:15

So you don't get the best and cheapest, you get electric.

And there's no having to 'beg' to have it, this is a business transaction - you tell the company providing the heating your neighbour won't allow it and you will need to have electric heating installed.

Yes you want gas and your neighbours an arsehole but you can't force him can you? If there's a legal way to force him to have it installed then do so - if not get the electric heating installed and continue to use your coal fire as supplementary heating.

I'm sure you've considered a wood burner that heats radiators too? We had that in our last house. Worked fine in a small place but of course lots of work to keep on top of wood chopping (and coal as well as it was multi fuel)

AndShesGone Sun 08-Jan-17 06:10:08

Also you need to do something about your mental health if you're not leaving home. Have you been to the doctor?

Pradaqueen Sun 08-Jan-17 06:33:02

OP have you also tried frosting the windows with film that have the burnt shed vista? If you want to sell, that may stop buyers being instantly put off as you think?

As others have said, he doesn't have to agree so circumvent, get a wet electrical rad system installed (electric boiler with water filled rads like a gas system) frost your windows, sell up and move elsewhere. Don't get into a dispute with a neighbour, that will stop your property from selling. There is nothing positive to be gained from living next door to someone like this so try and just think of it in a rational manner and move on. Good luck to you all.

Sixisthemagicnumber Sun 08-Jan-17 06:45:40

We had a new has pipe installed Under our house and it involves the installer having to go into the void underneath the house for a
Couple of hours so not all installations are using mole like technology as suggested above.
In the OPs case she should get the electric heating installed and look at insulation options. Lots of flats in my region (new and older properties) are not allowed to have any gas and they get on just fine with decent modern electric heating. Surely it is better to get electric heating and insulation than to suffer being
Cold whilst having an ongoing battle with the neighbour.

BadKnee Sun 08-Jan-17 10:14:15

You have had good advice on here.

If the neighbour won't agree install alternative heating. Not everybody has gas.

Honestly OPif the boot were on the other foot would you allow someone to install pipes in/under your property for the benefit of a neighbour who clearly didn't like you? I wouldn't agree to it.

People minimize disruption to others but actually it would be possibly a day off work, some noise, people in his space, additional rights in the lease, ... etc.

I allowed my neighbour to put scaffolding in my garden. She assured me it wouldn't be a problem - but of course it meant workmen walking past my bedroom window, additional noise, marks on my recently laid sandstone, my fence panel down for weeks so less privacy etc. I was ok with it and it was for the sake of neighbourly relations but it was not nothing.

Interestingly when I asked her to do the same a year later she refused!

whether you were students or not is irrelevant. You bought a flat with no heating. You could heat it better if you chose to. You will be able to sell at the right price.

Palomb Sun 08-Jan-17 12:21:32

In wouldn't let my neighbour pipe something under my house.. who would?

Storage heaters these days are much better that they used to be. It sounds as if they are your only real option.

YesICanHearYouClemFandango Sun 08-Jan-17 12:29:49

BadKnee that is so cheeky, not returning the favour when you asked! I would be fuming! What reason did she give? I hope she was apologetic!

AnitaPallenbergsKnees Sun 08-Jan-17 12:41:40

Well first of all....sort out your insulation!
Older building can be made less draughty.
Any heating system will be burning money if you don't sort that out.

YelloDraw Sun 08-Jan-17 13:08:10

Honestly this isn't worth the stress.

Storage heaters are wank tho - dont get those. Electric radiators are fine.

I like the suggestion to frost the burnt shed window.

Have you got thermal curtians? They can make a difference.

YelloDraw Sun 08-Jan-17 13:09:16

Also why aren't you leaving the house?

Can't you get out to the library? Any free meiseams? A sure start centre? Play group?

BadKnee Wed 11-Jan-17 09:28:15

YesICanHearYouClemFandango - she didn't give a reason. she is quite a tricky customer but I have kept, more or less, on good terms with her. I am hoping to sell so this is important.

I asked, she said "I'd rather not have workmen in my garden and would
prefer not to discuss it". It was the same when I wanted to replace the fence. She just said "I don't think so. I have spoken to my son and he advised me not to" - end of conversation. she is singularly obstructive.

I sometimes have little fantasies about leaving and then dumping gallons of industrial strength weedkiller on her garden! grin (Or selling to the family from hell)

DozyDorissimo Wed 11-Jan-17 09:56:01

You can buy oil filled radiators that are safe to leave on around children.

I think the no heating is a bit of a red herring re the children. I lived in a flat as a child with no heating except a coal fire- and an outside loo! My parents didn't have central heating in their next home until I was 16. My bedroom windows used to ice up INSIDE. I survived.

You need to contact a solicitor and discuss the legal side of leasehold. freehold and see how things lie.

But sorry to point out that you had 2 children before you'd really got housing- to your taste- sorted out. You created this situation - you didn't have to have kids when you did.

SoupDragon Wed 11-Jan-17 18:32:18

Some people appear to have had a total empathy transplant.

And really would many of us agree to have our house dug up and someone else's gas pipe run underneath it? Would you disrupt your home for a neighbour?

I would certainly agree to what appears to be required by the OP (which isn't having the house dug up). Mostly because I'm not a twat.

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