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AIBU?

To buy this house (picture included)

113 replies

OverdueMover · 22/11/2019 11:52

Name changed for this...

We are in the process of buying a house. The survey, back yesterday, highlighted a problem, but how much of a problem is it - would it put you off altogether?

The current owner built a car port, the roof of which is overhanging his neighbours boundary. It's been there for 9 years and, according to him they are fine with it and let him keep his bins on what is technically their property.

In the attached picture I have added red lines to show the boundary - the posts of the car port are within the boundary of the house we are buying, the yellow shows the overhanging roof, the pink shows the next door neighbour's property.

Planning permission shows (in both the diagram and the description) that the car port will have a 1.4m gap between the neighbour's boundary and the edge of the car port. If it matched the planning permission you could not fit a car into it. The seller says the car port was 'signed off' after being built.

I personally doubt this, yet the neighbours don't seem to have complained about the arrangement in over 9 years.

We love the house but I fear opening this can of worms (e.g. by visiting the neighbours or speaking directly to planning) because I am worried it will lead to the sale falling through...

To buy this house (picture included)
OP posts:
Helenluvsrob · 22/11/2019 11:54

What happens if you simply walk in the carport at your boundary so you aren’t using the neighbours land ?

MatildaTheCat · 22/11/2019 12:00

If the vendors cannot produce the paperwork showing this was signed off they will have to take out an indemnity policy to cover any future possible issues.

It looks a bit odd; does the neighbour not use this area to access his own garden? However, if you are serious and concerned speak to the neighbour and ask.

flouncyfanny · 22/11/2019 12:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MzHz · 22/11/2019 12:04

What does your solicitor say?

So... when NDN decides to move and new people move in... then what? My oh wouldn’t accept someone taking any of his boundary and would take back his airspace and boundaries...

Don’t believe a word of the vendors excuse, even if true, you’re completely vulnerable if ownership changes

cakeandchampagne · 22/11/2019 12:06

I would find another property. This looks like a small problem that will become a big problem.

maggiecate · 22/11/2019 12:06

Current neighbours might not mind but if they sell up it’ll could cause problems down the line when the buyers do searches and find you’re on their land. Is having a car port a deal breaker - would you be willing to take it down/ modify if necessary?

Floralnomad · 22/11/2019 12:06

Personally I wouldn’t touch it with a very long barge pole .

misspiggy19 · 22/11/2019 12:09

This is where you really need to consult your solicitor not random people on MN

woogal · 22/11/2019 12:10

Don't touch this house with a barge pole. This will become a huge issue should the neighbour ever sell.

I don't believe what the vendor is telling you.

Notonthestairs · 22/11/2019 12:13

Can you just get rid of the car port and put up a fence? Current owners can pay or knock money off purchase price.

flowery · 22/11/2019 12:15

Isn’t the worst that could happen you can’t keep your bins there? Your car fits within your own boundary?

SoupDragon · 22/11/2019 12:19

Surely all you would need to do is shorten the roof so that it no longer overhangs the neighbour's property?

And not put your bins there, obviously.

CoolcoolcoolcoolcoolNoDoubt · 22/11/2019 12:24

The current neighbours might not mind (which I wouldn't take for granted anyway).. but what happens if they move?

You see boundary/neighbour dispute threads on here regularly, situations that rumble on for years and turn so acrimonious they make your life a misery. You have foreseen an issue here, hence posting - I wouldn't go there if I were you.

recrudesence · 22/11/2019 12:29

Car ports are horrible. Negotiate a discount so you can have it demolished.

iswhois · 22/11/2019 12:31

It's been too long for a planning dept to enforce against it. When he says it's been "signed off" he may mean that they have obtained a Lawful Development Certificate owing to the length of time.

But it IS on neighbours property, you need to think about what would happen if the arrangement was rescinded, what if the obliging neighbour wanted to move?

Poppys · 22/11/2019 12:45

As a property solicitor I think there are a couple of points

  1. Do you love the house enough to demolish the car port if necessary if the neighbours complained? If so, problem solved if an issue arises. You could negotiate a drop in asking price to mitigate this risk.


  1. Do not approach the neighbours or council as this would mean that you would be unable to obtain an indemnity policy if you decided to insure the risk - this should be at the seller’s expense if you do decide to do this.


  1. Ask the seller for a statutory declaration confirming how long they have had the roof over hanging. At some point in the future you could claim an easement based on long use and the seller’s statutory declaration, along with one from yourself, could be used as evidence.


Good luck.
missyB1 · 22/11/2019 12:45

Do you need the car port? Tbh I would get it taken down.

BlouseAndSkirt · 22/11/2019 12:49

Can you cope with the worst that could happen: that you be required to bring the guttering within your own boundary and not use the bin space?

If I bought the property next door I would fight the overhang - and if the neighbours would have case for adverse possession I wouldn't buy the property. Or only at a very reduced price to reflect the new boundary defined by the gutter overhang.

Mummyoflittledragon · 22/11/2019 13:05

I’d walk away unless you love it on the basis of future issues and because I would hate to give money to people so willing to steal other people’s land. If you do still proceed, you will need the owners to pay for an indemnity policy.

OverdueMover · 22/11/2019 13:08

Thanks so much for all of your responses, especially Poppy's coming from a legal point of view.

Yes, the situation could be remedied by removing the car port - I'm not sure the roof could be shortened enough as I think the posts actually abut the boundary. But it is a useful space and ideally we would like to enclose it for storage, but this seems impossible given the circumstances (not least that I think we'd need planning permission).

We do love the house, so Poppy's advice re the indemnity policy to cover having to remove car port is excellent. I agree an issue is most likely to arise if next door sell.

It's an odd situation because to the front there is a large hedge on the neighbours drive, so the next door neighbours cannot access this bit of land without coming onto the land of the house we are buying (imagine fat hedge, a house set back by a few feet, then a brick wall that covers the same width as the hedge before turning 90 degrees and running between the gardens of the two properties).

OP posts:
Passthecherrycoke · 22/11/2019 13:11

I think if you need the car port then walk away, but if you can take it down then get indemnity insurance and go ahead with the view if it has to go it goes. It’s not ideal but not a huge problem I don’t think?

BlouseAndSkirt · 22/11/2019 13:12

Get a roofer or builder to give you a quote as to how much it would cost to sit the gutter within the boundary?

I would have thought it could easily be achieved by taking off the bottom foot of the roof and replacing it with the guttering, within the line of the posts.

Car ports don't last for ever anyway. If it has been there 9 years, what is it's condition?

Would you have been interested in the house without the car port? If so just demolish it. Or demolish it if there is ever a problem with the neighbours.

Ellie56 · 22/11/2019 13:16

I wouldn't touch this with a barge pole. If the neighbours decide to sell this could cause problems in the future.

If they decide to reclaim their land where would you keep your bins?

Mummyoflittledragon · 22/11/2019 13:16

Oh so it’s not the whole thing out of the boundary. If the structure is within the boundary or along the boundary line it’s not difficult to fix. The roof may need to be redone to allow for guttering to be placed elsewhere. Or you could make it a pitched roof and have the gutter run along the roof etc. If you’re looking to enclose it, you’ll probably do some work on it anyway.

thatdamnwoman · 22/11/2019 13:17

I you really like the house buy it, take the carport down (it's just a few posts and a polycarb roof, nothing complicated) and put up a wall or fence on the boundary, to be agreed with the neighbour. And put your bins on your own property.

The bin situation makes me suspect the vendor may be the kind of person that the neighbours feel they can't complain about without bringing further trouble down on themselves.

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