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    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 3:47 PM
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    vet8
    How can I make a neighbour dispute official?
    • #1
    • 4th Jul 18, 3:47 PM
    How can I make a neighbour dispute official? 4th Jul 18 at 3:47 PM
    I have posted on here elsewhere how our neighbour is stopping us getting a phone line. Briefly, we live in a barn conversion on an unadopted road, we applied for a BT phone line and BT said they would need to run the cable underground from the nearest pole to reach us. This means running along the road in front of our neighbour's house. BT say they will only dig up the road if they have written permission from the road owner, that is lost in the mist of time, so they have decided that the neighbour has to give permission for them to dig in his grass verge. I personally do not think the verge is his anyway as usually your property ends at your fence.

    Anyway they asked him and the b*****d said no, he gave no reason, but refused several times. It would not impact on him at all, it would not cross his access to the house and he would not even see the work as he has a tall thick hedge in the way.

    Open Reach have now, after 4 months of faffing about with this, asked him again and he has said he does not want BT digging up the verge as he has just put the house on the market and he does not want men working when people come to view. Fair enough, but he has not said why he refused 4 months ago when first asked.
    He now says he will sign the wayleave when he has a buyer. I don't believe him. He has given no reason up to now and even if he does find a buyer it could take months or years to sell especially as it is so vastly overpriced.

    I have decided that the best course of action is to be awkward and hope that he will realise he needs to sign the wayleave to stop me causing trouble and hindering his selling.

    As far as I am concerned this whole episode is a neighbour dispute which should be recorded on the form you have to give to the buyer. I need to make this dispute official to show him that I plan to cause trouble. What do I have to do to make this official and hopefully force him to sign the form now and not in 2 years time?
Page 2
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 4:38 PM
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    vet8
    Its not a neighbour dispute.

    Its a neighbour trying to bully, threaten and harass someone in to doing something they dont have to do.

    Personally if you did any of the things you suggest i would be reporting you to the police for harassment.
    Originally posted by spadoosh
    What do you mean??
    What have I suggested doing that would qualify as harassment? I am merely trying to get a phone line connected which means digging a very narrow trench in a narrow grass verge in the road. Is that harassment?
    Some people on this board are really odd.
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 4:48 PM
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    vet8
    That's fine as far as it goes, but the op's purpose is to scupper a sale, so may have to live with this neighbour for longer than he would like. It's a reasonable possibility that the new neighbours will be nicer and sign whatever needs signing. I wouldn't be throwing an official dispute into the mix right now.
    Originally posted by seashore22
    The BT guy did suggest waiting until he has sold the place and then approaching the new owner. I did not want to do that. Apart form the fact I do not fancy saying, "Welcome to the village, sign this form" it is very dependent on the new guy. If he says no then we are stuffed. As the current owner plans to sell it is no skin off his nose at all if the verge is dug up one day.
    I should also say that our power cable goes under that same verge so the BT cable would just lie above it.
    • Barejester
    • By Barejester 4th Jul 18, 4:48 PM
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    Barejester
    I appreciate that that can be the case, but I am pretty sure here that his boundary ends at the verge and several people around here have been taken to court by the local council for trying to extend their garden onto the verge.
    Originally posted by vet8

    Seems like neither you or BT have checked the LR to see if your neighbour does in fact own the land, this was some pretty early advice given to you - do you not feel it's relevant? For the sake of 3 it would give you confirmation one way or the other and possibly clear up the situation pretty quickly.
    • Uxb
    • By Uxb 4th Jul 18, 4:50 PM
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    Uxb
    If the road is an unadopted one then its legal status is probably either a BOAT or a true private way with no public rights of way along it in any category.
    Such ways are not owned by the council unlike full public highways where the council or highways agency on behalf of HMG owns the land of the road tarmac and usually a verge on either side or around 1m.

    In the case of the OP, the situation is that where a way passes along between two land parcels or properties and the ownership of the way is not by documentary evidence in either of the properties ownership and nor is it owned in its entirety by a third party then each is assumed that each owns the land of the way for the length of their property/land parcel frontage onto the way and up to the centre of the way from either side of it.

    BT are correct.
    I would try and get BT to use their statutory code powers that all the main utility companies have which enables them after due notice is given to enter unto private land without further notice or agreement for the purpose of providing an essential public service and that there is no feasible and reasonable alternative route and therefore that the objection can be overruled in the public interest.

    I live on such a private way. I also know of other private ways where the way is owned entirely for its width plus the verge by the house at the end of the way.
    Usually the solution of the awkward squad is to go down the other side of the road side as usually such a neighbour will only own land on one side of the way and so his awkwardness can only extend up to the centre line of the roadway.
    I do actually know of a case where a person owns land on either side opposite them on such a way so forming a total block.

    Edit:
    There are dangers if the residents do not claim at every possibility your ownership of such way and say that you only own up to your front fence/verge. This leaves it open as a possibility for otthers with bad intents to come along and register their adverse ownership of the unclaimed land of the roadway as their property and suddenly depriving you of a right of access to your property.
    Last edited by Uxb; 04-07-2018 at 5:00 PM.
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 5:01 PM
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    • 436 Thanks
    vet8
    Seems like neither you or BT have checked the LR to see if your neighbour does in fact own the land, this was some pretty early advice given to you - do you not feel it's relevant? For the sake of 3 it would give you confirmation one way or the other and possibly clear up the situation pretty quickly.
    Originally posted by Barejester
    We have contacted the Land registry to try to find the owner of the land, we will get the neighbour's deed as well, but either way it does not really help us. If he does not own the land as I suspect, BT will still refuse to dig up the verge without someone else signing the form. So really it is better if they think he is able to sign the form, at least it then gives them someone to contact.
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 5:12 PM
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    • 436 Thanks
    vet8
    If the road is an unadopted one then its legal status is probably either a BOAT or a true private way with no public rights of way along it in any category.
    Such ways are not owned by the council unlike full public highways where the council or highways agency on behalf of HMG owns the land of the road tarmac and usually a verge on either side or around 1m.

    In the case of the OP, the situation is that where a way passes along between two land parcels or properties and the ownership of the way is not by documentary evidence in either of the properties ownership and nor is it owned in its entirety by a third party then each is assumed that each owns the land of the way for the length of their property/land parcel frontage onto the way and up to the centre of the way from either side of it.

    BT are correct.
    I would try and get BT to use their statutory code powers that all the main utility companies have which enables them after due notice is given to enter unto private land without further notice or agreement for the purpose of providing an essential public service and that there is no feasible and reasonable alternative route and therefore that the objection can be overruled in the public interest.

    I live on such a private way. I also know of other private ways where the way is owned entirely for its width plus the verge by the house at the end of the way.
    Usually the solution of the awkward squad is to go down the other side of the road side as usually such a neighbour will only own land on one side of the way and so his awkwardness can only extend up to the centre line of the roadway.
    I do actually know of a case where a person owns land on either side opposite them on such a way so forming a total block.

    Edit:
    There are dangers if the residents do not claim at every possibility your ownership of such way and say that you only own up to your front fence/verge. This leaves it open as a possibility for otthers with bad intents to come along and register their adverse ownership of the unclaimed land of the roadway as their property and suddenly depriving you of a right of access to your property.
    Originally posted by Uxb
    Thank you for this very informative post. Our road is actually a designated bridleway.
    I agree that BT have a statutory right to lay their cable. I down loaded a paper from the House of Commons library that said public utilities have a right to dig up unadopted roads and the "road managers" cannot stop them, they can ask for a certain date for the work, but not stop it.
    The strange thing is our house was connected to the electricity from the same pole as the BT line along the same grass verge and no-one asked anyone for permission and the water board dug across the road from the main and again asked no one. BT seems unable to act even though as I read on the Ofcom site they have a Universal Obligation to connect every house that wants it to a landline "irrespective of location".
    • pinklady21
    • By pinklady21 4th Jul 18, 5:23 PM
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    pinklady21
    Have you written to your neighbour to explain the situation; why you need a phoneline, that disruption will be minimal, and that the phone line will take the same route as the existing underground powerline?
    If so, how did he respond? What exactly is the nature of his objection?
    (Does he have a phoneline? Where does it go?)

    Do you have powerlines both above and below the property?
    Is there another, albeit slightly longer, route for the telephone wire to take with less awkward landowners?
    If will clearly cost more to lay a longer cable, but you could issue an ultimatum to Open Reach - either lay it on the shortest route using whatever of their powers is available to install an essential service, or suck up the higher cost of sending it round the other way instead.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 4th Jul 18, 5:37 PM
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    Smodlet
    Have you written to your neighbour to explain the situation; why you need a phoneline, that disruption will be minimal, and that the phone line will take the same route as the existing underground powerline?
    If so, how did he respond? What exactly is the nature of his objection?
    (Does he have a phoneline? Where does it go?)

    Do you have powerlines both above and below the property?
    Is there another, albeit slightly longer, route for the telephone wire to take with less awkward landowners?
    If will clearly cost more to lay a longer cable, but you could issue an ultimatum to Open Reach - either lay it on the shortest route using whatever of their powers is available to install an essential service, or suck up the higher cost of sending it round the other way instead.
    Originally posted by pinklady21
    Pinklady21, you make some very valid points but unfortunately, I don't think Openreach (BT are a separate entity who no longer deal with infrastructure) ever "suck up" excess costs. They always find a way to make the customer pay be they a private individual or a re-seller.

    Vet8, you seem to have exhausted all the sensible solutions though I cannot believe that somebody, somewhere does not know to whom this verge belongs. If your road is a bridle path, could it be worth networking among the local equestrians to see if they have any ideas? Grasping as straws, I know but at least maintaining the metaphor.

    Could you conceivably develop a problem with your water supply which would necessitate the excavation of the mains supply to your property? Once it had been exhumed, could not duct-laying elves be persuaded to visit in the still watches of the night thereby solving the way leave problem?

    I am not taking the mickey, it is a real problem and one which, I think, might benefit from a creative solution.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 5:45 PM
    • 862 Posts
    • 436 Thanks
    vet8
    Have you written to your neighbour to explain the situation; why you need a phoneline, that disruption will be minimal, and that the phone line will take the same route as the existing underground powerline?
    If so, how did he respond? What exactly is the nature of his objection?
    (Does he have a phoneline? Where does it go?)

    Do you have powerlines both above and below the property?
    Is there another, albeit slightly longer, route for the telephone wire to take with less awkward landowners?
    If will clearly cost more to lay a longer cable, but you could issue an ultimatum to Open Reach - either lay it on the shortest route using whatever of their powers is available to install an essential service, or suck up the higher cost of sending it round the other way instead.
    Originally posted by pinklady21
    I spoke to the Open Reach guy when he called for the second time about 2 weeks ago . The pole they need to come from stands on the grass verge and he said that even if they take the cable along the road and avoid the verge they will still have to cross about one foot of the verge and they will still need the neighbour's permission.I find it laughable. I suggested they come from another pole the other way, but he said it had to be this one.

    I have no idea what the neighbour's objection is to this. The odd thing he has always seemed friendly enough over the years, but he originally replied to BT saying that " he was unable to sign the form" now he will, but not at the moment.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 4th Jul 18, 5:48 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Thank you for this very informative post. Our road is actually a designated bridleway.
    I agree that BT have a statutory right to lay their cable. I down loaded a paper from the House of Commons library that said public utilities have a right to dig up unadopted roads and the "road managers" cannot stop them, they can ask for a certain date for the work, but not stop it.
    The strange thing is our house was connected to the electricity from the same pole as the BT line along the same grass verge and no-one asked anyone for permission and the water board dug across the road from the main and again asked no one. BT seems unable to act even though as I read on the Ofcom site they have a Universal Obligation to connect every house that wants it to a landline "irrespective of location".
    Originally posted by vet8
    Might be the best solution to go over the head of Openreach/BT. There must be some ombudsman/woman over the head of them and it might be the way to deal with this is to go to that person and quote this legal right and ask them to "kick the backside" of lower down know-nothing jobsworth (suitably phrased).

    EDIT; With this awkward character first saying they won't sign and then "Yep...but not yet" - I'm wondering whether they are playing a game to try and get you to pay them a bribe to shut up being awkward and sign. Two options if that's the case I guess; 1. tell them you suspect this and they won't be getting one - so they might as well stop playing silly b&ggers or 2. pay them a bribe in the form of a cheque from one hand, the next second wave form at them to sign. Then walk off and ring your bank and stop the cheque.
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 04-07-2018 at 5:54 PM.
    ****************
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 4th Jul 18, 5:52 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Could it come up your back passage missus? An entirely different route. Not the preferred route, or shortest, or best ... but you presumably have rear boundaries where the land the other side of those belongs to known individuals/farms.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 4th Jul 18, 6:00 PM
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    davidmcn
    Then walk off and ring your bank and stop the cheque.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    And then they sue you on the basis of the stopped cheque - the law doesn't allow you simply to change your mind.
    • pinklady21
    • By pinklady21 4th Jul 18, 6:01 PM
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    pinklady21
    I spoke to the Open Reach guy when he called for the second time about 2 weeks ago . The pole they need to come from stands on the grass verge and he said that even if they take the cable along the road and avoid the verge they will still have to cross about one foot of the verge and they will still need the neighbour's permission.I find it laughable. I suggested they come from another pole the other way, but he said it had to be this one.

    I have no idea what the neighbour's objection is to this. The odd thing he has always seemed friendly enough over the years, but he originally replied to BT saying that " he was unable to sign the form" now he will, but not at the moment.
    Originally posted by vet8
    Then you need to ask him, politely and in writing why he is apparently not agreeing to allow Open Reach to do the work necessary to install a phone line.
    Then at least you might find out what the problem is rather than going on hearsay from Open Reach lackeys!
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 4th Jul 18, 6:07 PM
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    Smodlet
    Might be the best solution to go over the head of Openreach/BT. There must be some ombudsman/woman over the head of them and it might be the way to deal with this is to go to that person and quote this legal right and ask them to "kick the backside" of lower down know-nothing jobsworth (suitably phrased).

    EDIT; With this awkward character first saying they won't sign and then "Yep...but not yet" - I'm wondering whether they are playing a game to try and get you to pay them a bribe to shut up being awkward and sign. Two options if that's the case I guess; 1. tell them you suspect this and they won't be getting one - so they might as well stop playing silly b&ggers or 2. pay them a bribe in the form of a cheque from one hand, the next second wave form at them to sign. Then walk off and ring your bank and stop the cheque.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention


    Sorry, Money but I seriously doubt Ofcom would be the slightest bit interested. Openreach have done nothing wrong; they are just covering their rears (something they excel at) like every other business of any size these days. It is always someone else's problem, never theirs.

    {Aside} Five years in telecoms; every provider who is not Openreach has to rely on them to some extent because they have more wires in more places than anyone else and once owned all the exchanges before they were forced to sell bits of some of them to their competitors.

    The holding out for a bribe possibility had occurred to me, too.
    Last edited by Smodlet; 04-07-2018 at 6:10 PM.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 6:15 PM
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    vet8
    Could it come up your back passage missus? An entirely different route. Not the preferred route, or shortest, or best ... but you presumably have rear boundaries where the land the other side of those belongs to known individuals/farms.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Unfortunately out the back we have 7 acres of land and then there are more fields, I think the nearest pole that way would be more than half a mile. I really do not think Open Reach would be keen to go that way as they hardly seem to be putting themselves out at the moment. I also assume we would have to pay a lot for it as BT only pay up to a certain amount which I forget at the mo.
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 6:17 PM
    • 862 Posts
    • 436 Thanks
    vet8
    Might be the best solution to go over the head of Openreach/BT. There must be some ombudsman/woman over the head of them and it might be the way to deal with this is to go to that person and quote this legal right and ask them to "kick the backside" of lower down know-nothing jobsworth (suitably phrased).
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    When we last spoke to BT about this on Tuesday they actually suggested we should speak to our MP, although what he could really do I have no idea.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 4th Jul 18, 7:08 PM
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    iammumtoone
    Have you offered to pay him for access?


    Ok not something your probably want to do but if you have to take another route for the cable its going to cost so this might in the long run be more cost effective (and quicker).
    • vet8
    • By vet8 4th Jul 18, 7:09 PM
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    vet8
    Have you offered to pay him for access?


    Ok not something your probably want to do but if you have to take another route for the cable its going to cost so this might in the long run be more cost effective (and quicker).
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    We have not offered him any money but it might be an idea I suppose, annoying though that BT cannot just put the line in like the power company did.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 4th Jul 18, 7:12 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    When we last spoke to BT about this on Tuesday they actually suggested we should speak to our MP, although what he could really do I have no idea.
    Originally posted by vet8
    Well - BT used to be "ours" (ie public sector)/ not sure if it still is "ours" (sorta lose track of just how much of our property has been sold off).

    If there's one thing one learns when working for the public sector is that every so often someone writes to their MP/said MP is likely to send a letter to them/they all leap into action. Well - that's how it worked when I worked for the Civil Service at any rate.....
    ****************
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 4th Jul 18, 7:53 PM
    • 353 Posts
    • 221 Thanks
    PhilE
    You could make this official and win. You get your phone line and he sells for less.

    You then have to declare a dispute when you sell your place. Of course, you could say that the neighbor in question has moved on and the dispute has long been solved. But to get full market value, you need to declare no neighbor disputes ideally. So may affect your price, may not as its been solved.

    If you affect his market value, your then stuck with an idiot neighbor for a longer period of time, and one who hates you.

    Just let him move on as quickly as possible, throw a party when he's gone and never have to think of him ever again.

    Your lucky, wish my idiot neighbors were moving...
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