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MONEY MORAL DILEMMA. Should Karl let the neighbours use his garden?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Money Saving Polls
145 replies 43.5K views


  • lordswoodlordswood Forumite
    42 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Couldn't Karl be legally responsible if his neighbours are injured in his garden.
    We asked our landed neighbour's permission to walk our dog daily in his woodland which surrounds our property and were refused permission on those grounds (by letter from his solicitor no less)
  • These people just presumed that it would be ok with the new owner and should have had the decency to ask first. If Karl has a problem with it just be polite and say he would prefer not to. If he doesnt it would need to be specific with when he wouldnt mind ie when he is not in and I personally would ask for help with the maintenace of it so they are not expecting free use of a strangers garden.
  • I have a first floor flat that oddly comes with the back garden. Shortly after moving in the neighbour in the other ground floor flat asked if she could use our washing line as the previous tenant let her. We agreed to continue this arrangement as once she had her own garden landscaped, she would obviously use that.

    A week or two later, the ground floor tenant below us asked if he too could use our garden and the washing line. Thinking we couldn't say yes to one neighbour and no to the other and wanting a good relationship with all our neighbours we agreed to this as well.

    However, 18 months on he still uses our garden for his washing and during that time we have had run in's over dog noise where he actually threatened to kill the dog we were temporarily looking after (actually the landlords dog), he's complained about the TV being too loud on a Friday evening at 7pm and also complained about walking too loudly in our own flat. (Having lived as a ground floor tenant I know exaclty what sort of compromises you must undertake daily and he seems unable to comprehend that living on the ground floor is always a disadvantage) His front garden is also terribly messy, boxes, rubbish and over growth everywhere enough to have had a visit from Environmental Health telling him to clean it up. (not that he has) We have asked a number of times since then for it be sorted as because we are the first floor tenants, everyone assumes it is us not clearing the eyesore garden and I'm simply sick of getting glares and head shakes from neighbours and passers by and totally fed up of pushing the overgrowth away from the path and front door.

    Anyway, I'm rambling - In hindsight, I should have said no to the second neighbour and suggested I assist him installing his own washing line in his own garden. The fact that his front garden is not suitable for hanging washing is his problem, not mine.
  • LoadsabobLoadsabob Forumite
    662 Posts
    No. I would never do this. I rent a ground floor flat with garden and it's bad enough the garage with a window that overlooks my garden and home is now a studio for the upstairs flat.

    Once I would have thought it was okay for Karl to say yes; but if you say yes now you're making it harder to object to things you may not like later.

    Karl's had bought the space and the privacy which goes with it - why would he pay to enable someone else to use the space? Someone whose priority was not buying outdoor space for themselves. If their flat has three bedrooms and one isn't being used, are they offering it to Karl for storage? Probably not. I see no difference. A garden is an outside room when you're paying for it.

    I am a grouch (but I have been writing a letter about my neighbours today, so I'm not the best person to ask).
  • :cool: This has to be a reluctant no, but only because of the increasingly litigious nature of society. :mad: Everyone may get on great now:beer: but what if there's a falling out? Worst of all what if the neighbour gets injured in the garden? :eek: What is to stop him/her suing and claiming from any home insurance policy :confused:. Living in any form of shared house is difficult enough (think how much loving family members can argue), adding further complications is just asking for trouble.
  • edited 29 October 2009 at 3:45PM
    harryhoundharryhound Forumite
    2.7K Posts
    edited 29 October 2009 at 3:45PM
    Les1 wrote: »
    With all the best will in the World check with Citizens Advice that at no point can they claim squatters rights for using your garden & how you can avoid any future problems. It may sound silly but believe me there are so many pitfalls in life that can arise through your good intentions.:beer:

    There are three legal issues:

    Adverse possession based on who exclusively uses the land. This takes 12 years and for registered land requires a notice to the registered owner of the intent to claim after 10 years. So not really a problem these days.

    A right of way. This takes 20 years and can be dangerous. Note a right of way is NOT a right to stay (park).

    The right to be sued for negligence. Unfortunately no claim no fee has created a nightmare of unreasonableness. Children are a particular problem as the law does not expect them to take reasonable care.

    In the final analysis "good fences make good neighbours". Giving permission on an individual basis creates a licence so is not a danger. It is really just a matter of getting on with your neighbour and making sure everything is done with the right friendly motives. So don't allow the land to be treated as their own.
  • It's always best to set down the ground rules in cases like this. If Karl wants his garden for his own personal use, then he should say no from the off. If he doesn't mind sharing, then he just needs to think about any legal issues should an accident occur on his premises - and get agreement over liability.
  • zygurat789zygurat789 Forumite
    4.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Karl should check his lease/deeds. The occupants of the upstairs flat may have certain rights and if they don't Karl could always put the blame for any unneighbourlyness on a legal document.
    The only thing that is constant is change.
  • pineapplepineapple Forumite
    6.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I would hate to come home and find a string of washing out just when I am planning to put a few things out myself or be floating around in my undies early morning only to see the neighbour careering across my lawn on a mission. Or maybe you want to sit out and have some privacy or enjoy the view and the neighbour is to-ing and fro-ing. Even if you agree they ask on each occasion, that's a disturbance in itself and it puts you in a difficult position if you want to say no.
    It can start out amicably but you don't know how you will feel later. No no and no again. And that's irrespective of whether they are being presumptuous due to a previous arrangement.
  • If I was Karl I would probably agree and then silently fume that the person I bought the property from didn't mention it. Then every time the neighbours used the garden I would get more and more irritated, until eventually I'd be so fed up I'd want to sell the flat and move. And then I'd feel obliged to disclose the neighbours' use of my garden, and probably end up selling it as a property with communal garden space, at a lower price than I paid for it, and curse myself for being so British and not just saying NO in the first place!

    Quite agree! If Karl gives in now it could set off a chain reaction as above. And you never know if a dispute is going to arise over a tree for example. If one causes subsidence or needs thinning, and the neighbours have a feeling of 'ownership' then they could object to felling the tree and that could hold up an insurance claim. I speak from experience....
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