Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Marine_life
    • By Marine_life 19th Jan 18, 3:02 PM
    • 885Posts
    • 1,593Thanks
    Marine_life
    Access dilemma and (potential) dispute with neighbour
    • #1
    • 19th Jan 18, 3:02 PM
    Access dilemma and (potential) dispute with neighbour 19th Jan 18 at 3:02 PM
    Our house was built around 10 years ago, one of two that were built privately by a local builder.

    We have just uncovered an old agreement which states that there is a right for both owners to build a new access to the site from an adjoining road. Were that new access to be built then it would mainly impact on our property reducing what is already a relatively small garden..

    The properties are both now well established (i.e. gardens with trees) and a different access was built presumably because the access which is the subject of the agreement would have been prohibitively expensive (as it would be a steep access and would require concrete walls to protect neighboring properties).

    The agreement states that if the access is built then the parties would share the costs equally.

    We were not aware of the agreement when we bought the house (but that's another story).

    We now want to sell our house which is complicated by this agreement and we want to have it effectively annulled. Our neighbor is being awkward and does not want to sign as they say the right to put in the drive might have a positive benefit for the value of their property (it might but the potential benefit would be offset by the cost of building it).

    We believe the agreement is unenforceable as:

    1. The existing access is perfectly adequate.
    2. We would never agree to have the access put in.
    3. We would never agree to pay half the costs.


    We are planning to visit a solicitor but before we start incurring costs I would like to know if anyone has any smart ideas on where we stand and what we might do.
    Money won't buy you happiness....but I have rarely if ever been in a situation where more money made things worse!
Page 2
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 7th Jul 18, 10:47 PM
    • 7,757 Posts
    • 27,720 Thanks
    Nicki
    If you do this will you not force the neighbour to exercise their right to build the new access route? As he will otherwise be afraid your purchaser could do the same thing at any point? Or is the intention to offer a right of access over the existing drive in return for them relinquishing their rights to build a new one?
    • Marine_life
    • By Marine_life 7th Jul 18, 11:10 PM
    • 885 Posts
    • 1,593 Thanks
    Marine_life
    Or is the intention to offer a right of access over the existing drive in return for them relinquishing their rights to build a new one?
    Originally posted by Nicki
    Essentially, Yes.
    Actually to make our neighbour come to the negotiating table. We just want to sell our house - nothing more, nothing less.

    It wouldn't allow them to reconsider the second access point as the driveway is 10 metres wide - i.e. 5 metres each, which is plenty under existing planning laws. The point is without using our half of the driveway they would need to completely reconfigure the outside of their house - expensive.

    The ridiculous thing is - its purely about personal gain (for our neighbour), I would have bought out the right of way for a reasonable figure (say 5-10k) and probably still would but I find it hard to believe someone would behave like that.
    Money won't buy you happiness....but I have rarely if ever been in a situation where more money made things worse!
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 8th Jul 18, 7:06 AM
    • 3,686 Posts
    • 3,227 Thanks
    Hoploz
    Just be careful that your solicitor doesn't egg you on so that you end up paying them a massive sum instead of the neighbour!

    Have you approached the solicitor who dealt with your purchase of this house? Do you have the paperwork? Could there be any comeback to them on this?
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 8th Jul 18, 7:18 AM
    • 2,879 Posts
    • 7,701 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    Are you absolutely sure that your half really is 'your half' rather than you both having access to all of it?

    This level of confrontation is not going to help your chances of selling at all, can you not try some mediation with the neighbour first?
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 8th Jul 18, 7:18 AM
    • 16,126 Posts
    • 44,382 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    The neighbour does rather look like they've "cut off their nose to spite their face". 100k demand so that they can't do what they couldnt do anyway without your agreement (ie build an alternative access route).

    They should have thought this through re putting a garden etc on their half of current shared driveway.

    I'd be inclined to save myself money going to a solicitor and just say to the neighbour "You have two choices - forget about that right you have and sign a document accordingly OR we will improve our house by cutting off access to your use of our shared driveway (as it's on our land). Take your pick. You can see our title plan shows all the driveway is on our land and that there is nothing in the Registry entry for either house giving you the right to use our land as "driveway" ".

    *************

    BUT - The one thing I am wondering is how long this neighbour has been using your driveway for access to their house. You may need to get onto dealing with this fast - in case the neighbour manages to rack up 20 years or more of using your land like this and might manage to put in a claim for "prescriptive easement".

    How long has he been using part of your land as "current shared driveway"??

    EDIT; I see your original post says your house was built 10 years ago - so I guess it boils down to when his house was built. Fingers crossed it was also built only 10 years ago - which should leave you in the clear - provided your Title Plans and Registry entries don't show any of that land as theirs or them having any rights.
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 08-07-2018 at 7:21 AM.
    No (Brexit) deal = no big deal #shrugs and leave anyway

    These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do....
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 8th Jul 18, 7:23 AM
    • 63,188 Posts
    • 370,089 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    They have a right, which they think might devalue their property if they give it away ...

    They are right; a future buyer MIGHT pay a good price just because of that right.

    Their right is of monetary value. You could buy that right from them... 10-20k without seeing it ... might make them "see sense".
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 8th Jul 18, 7:27 AM
    • 16,126 Posts
    • 44,382 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    But what use is a "right" one can't actually use? - as OP needs to consent and obviously won't do so. I'd say their "right" is useless, as they can't exercise it then.

    I agree with OP that there's NO chance I'd pay the 100k they're trying to extort and 10k--20k is a lot for not doing something they can't do anyway. They'd be lucky if they got 5k out of me for "nothing" basically and I'm inclined to think I wouldnt pay them anything. I detest greed.
    No (Brexit) deal = no big deal #shrugs and leave anyway

    These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do....
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 8th Jul 18, 7:30 AM
    • 63,188 Posts
    • 370,089 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    But what use is a "right" one can't actually use? - as OP needs to consent and obviously won't do so. I'd say their "right" is useless, as they can't exercise it then.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    A right you can't use might be a selling point if you find a buyer who sees that right as a "maybe" .... even if they're living in cloud cuckoo land themselves.

    Fact is ... extra access points are a selling point to many, making it a more desirable property than if it didn't exist, as it allows people to dream about what they could/might do ...

    We don't know what people want... maybe somebody might want to run in an extra driveway for their caravan, boat, or a garage/workshop for their classic car. Or it could be built, then sold to somebody behind the house who didn't have any access.
    • Clutterfree
    • By Clutterfree 8th Jul 18, 7:33 AM
    • 3,512 Posts
    • 19,110 Thanks
    Clutterfree
    If you do this will you not force the neighbour to exercise their right to build the new access route? As he will otherwise be afraid your purchaser could do the same thing at any point? Or is the intention to offer a right of access over the existing drive in return for them relinquishing their rights to build a new one?
    Originally posted by Nicki
    My thoughts exactly.
    If you block access on the existing drive he may then decide to use the agreement for the new access.
    The council may then approve it once they discover he no longer has the access he had previously.

    Any disputes will need to be declared if you decide to move.

    Yes, your neighbour is being completely unreasonable with the 100k but please ensure you're not starting a dispute that will take years to resolve - the costs emotionally will be high (and financially possibly even higher).

    Finally, because this wasn't brought to your attention when you initially bought the house, is there any comeback there with the solicitor or vendor?

    Good luck.
    Ageing is a privilege not everyone gets
    • anselld
    • By anselld 8th Jul 18, 7:34 AM
    • 5,811 Posts
    • 5,522 Thanks
    anselld
    Essentially, Yes.
    Actually to make our neighbour come to the negotiating table. We just want to sell our house - nothing more, nothing less.

    It wouldn't allow them to reconsider the second access point as the driveway is 10 metres wide - i.e. 5 metres each, which is plenty under existing planning laws. The point is without using our half of the driveway they would need to completely reconfigure the outside of their house - expensive.

    The ridiculous thing is - its purely about personal gain (for our neighbour), I would have bought out the right of way for a reasonable figure (say 5-10k) and probably still would but I find it hard to believe someone would behave like that.
    Originally posted by Marine_life
    You haven't really invited them to the negotiating table though, ie you have not made an offer.

    10 metres shared is not usually 5 metres each, it is that both parties share rights over the full 10 metres.

    Escalating this to a dispute will make it even harder for you to sell. You need to calm things down and realise you are negotiating from a weak position and going in "guns blazing" is not going to end well.
    • Marine_life
    • By Marine_life 8th Jul 18, 1:52 PM
    • 885 Posts
    • 1,593 Thanks
    Marine_life
    Thanks for your comments. Here's a couple of other bits of information.

    1. We've already tried negotiation and mediation and originally our neighbour agreed (not in writing) to remove the right of way. However, we think they then received some advice that they should aim for some money and hence removed their assent.

    2. The driveway between the houses is not covered by any agreement. However, we do have plans for the plot on which our house stands which shows that our boundary includes the existing shared driveway.

    3. We understand that the existing use rights for the driveway are not yet established (given the houses were only built 10 years ago) and therefore we are within our rights to enforce our boundary.
    I would prefer mediation but when we're faced by an unreasonable settlement offer we've no choice but to go down another route.

    We're in the fortunate position that we do not need to sell the house to fund another purchase (in fact we've already done that) and the house is in a very nice (holiday) area so we don't mind if this takes a year or more to solve. In fact the longer it goes on the more determined we will become that our neighbour does not get one red cent from us!
    Money won't buy you happiness....but I have rarely if ever been in a situation where more money made things worse!
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 8th Jul 18, 2:12 PM
    • 2,722 Posts
    • 3,473 Thanks
    unforeseen
    [QUOTE=Clutterfree;74501979]My thoughts exactly.
    If you block access on the existing drive he may then decide to use the agreement for the new access./QUOTE]

    I think that agreement needs to be looked at by a legal professional. I doubt that the neighbour can unilaterally decide that the new access be built. Sticking point would be getting PP when they don't own the land and that land owner puts in an objection.
    • anselld
    • By anselld 8th Jul 18, 2:37 PM
    • 5,811 Posts
    • 5,522 Thanks
    anselld
    I think that agreement needs to be looked at by a legal professional. I doubt that the neighbour can unilaterally decide that the new access be built. Sticking point would be getting PP when they don't own the land and that land owner puts in an objection.
    Originally posted by unforeseen
    Land ownership is not a planning issue.
    However it would be an issue if they attempt to build.
    • Marine_life
    • By Marine_life 8th Jul 18, 2:54 PM
    • 885 Posts
    • 1,593 Thanks
    Marine_life
    [QUOTE=unforeseen;74503288]
    My thoughts exactly.
    If you block access on the existing drive he may then decide to use the agreement for the new access./QUOTE]

    I think that agreement needs to be looked at by a legal professional. I doubt that the neighbour can unilaterally decide that the new access be built. Sticking point would be getting PP when they don't own the land and that land owner puts in an objection.
    Originally posted by Clutterfree
    The local council have already said they will not grant planning permission. However, my lawyer informs me that a legal agreement supercedes the planning authority and therefore because planning would not be allowed NOW, does not mean it would not be allowed at some point in the future. That's whats more annoying than anything as it efectively leaves us in limbo.
    Money won't buy you happiness....but I have rarely if ever been in a situation where more money made things worse!
    • diggingdude
    • By diggingdude 8th Jul 18, 5:26 PM
    • 319 Posts
    • 374 Thanks
    diggingdude
    could you not suggest that now you have another house, you may look at putting the neighbours from hell in as tenants and inform these tenants that the driveway is their land so can put as many knackered ford escorts as they want on it....or they could sign an agreement not to build the drive?
    House Deposit - Target 20000 April 2019
    Current Savings - 10225 13121.22 14621.22 16021
    • MysteryMe
    • By MysteryMe 8th Jul 18, 5:27 PM
    • 1,870 Posts
    • 2,268 Thanks
    MysteryMe
    Have you negotiated and counter offered their 100,000 at all

    Offer them 10,000 or whatever as a firm offer and if not done already tell them what the council said to you, give them the details of the person you spoke to and say at the end of the day if they don't sign it wont change anything because the reality is permission is unlikely be granted and certainly not granted under the current planning regime so they might as well get some free money.

    If you escalate matters as you appear to want, then you will definitely be putting any proposed sale at risk as not only will it have to be declared but you will be putting what sounds like an unlikely event very much to the fore and far more important a factor than it ought to be.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 8th Jul 18, 5:39 PM
    • 16,811 Posts
    • 41,501 Thanks
    FBaby
    4. Nobody has any intention of building the alternate access but without this right being removed we cannot sell our property.
    You can't say who has what intention. How can you know what future buyers might want to do?

    Also don't understand why you can't sell your property? Or do you mean that you can't sell at the price you want? If that's the case, how is that the problem of your neighbour?
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 8th Jul 18, 5:58 PM
    • 38,721 Posts
    • 35,514 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    is this the kind of situation where an insurance policy would be a way forward, ie the vendor pays for insurance in case X arises.

    Just musing ...
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 8th Jul 18, 6:02 PM
    • 2,722 Posts
    • 3,473 Thanks
    unforeseen
    [QUOTE=Marine_life;74503435]

    The local council have already said they will not grant planning permission. However, my lawyer informs me that a legal agreement supercedes the planning authority and therefore because planning would not be allowed NOW, does not mean it would not be allowed at some point in the future. That's whats more annoying than anything as it efectively leaves us in limbo.
    Originally posted by unforeseen
    Yes, but can one party unilaterally decide to put the access in?

    I would get a second opinion on whether a legal agreement between the original builder and the first owners can overturn a planning authority decision
    • Marine_life
    • By Marine_life 8th Jul 18, 10:49 PM
    • 885 Posts
    • 1,593 Thanks
    Marine_life
    Or do you mean that you can't sell at the price you want?
    Originally posted by FBaby
    No, its means we can't sell at a price that reflects the fair value without an unenforceable and meaningless encumberance. As I said, the coucil have said they would turn down a planning application.

    If that's the case, how is that the problem of your neighbour?
    Originally posted by FBaby
    Because they have exactly the same issue i.e. it impacts both our properties.
    Money won't buy you happiness....but I have rarely if ever been in a situation where more money made things worse!
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

503Posts Today

5,703Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • RT @samgio1997: So glad you talked about the importance of taking out holiday insurance on this morning as a few years ago my auntie's pare?

  • RT @mmhpi: "Two years ago, I was in the fortunate position to be able to found @mmhpi... I?m incredibly proud of the work the team there is?

  • It means you should either have an annual policy in place, or book a specific single trip policy when you book https://t.co/oBDx8TmzQU

  • Follow Martin