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  • FIRST POST
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 1:43 PM
    • 25Posts
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    AineS77
    Neighbour dispute?
    • #1
    • 12th Jul 18, 1:43 PM
    Neighbour dispute? 12th Jul 18 at 1:43 PM
    Apologies - its a long one.....

    My husband I recently bought a house which is a semi-d accessed from main road by a narrow unmade lane. We own the portion of property from our semi-d neighbours gable end -so in front of their property (no 1) and all the way around our house. There is another house (no 3) backing onto ours with a narrow lane in between our houses which we also own but which no 1 and 3 also have access to.

    When purchasing the property we were told that our neighbours at 1 and 3 have pedestrian access but no vehicle access. Formerly, the house behind us had permissive vehicle access up a very narrow road between our garage (detatched and to the side of our property) and his house, where the previous owner had used a mobility scooter to access her property as she had issues walking. This was revoked on her death, a couple of years prior to the sale of no 3 and purchase by current owner in late 2017. There are some steps up the side of the two houses and the current owner accesses his property by these on foot. We have a parking area in front of our garage adjacent to the lane between the garage and no 3.

    We loved the property when we saw it on both occasions but were very keen to understand the access rights and instructed our solicitor to look at them in detail as we wanted to ensure we could not be blocked by any neighbour to enter and leave our parking area. In writing, we stated we would not buy the house if there was any issues with vehicle access for us and questioned the access on several occasions. She said it was all fine, they just had pedestrian access and we completed. Happy days!

    We were living at the property 2 days when our neighbour arrived in a large van and parked it up at the far gable end of our property - up to the boundary of his pedestrian access and on drive basically blocking all access to our car. We thought it very cheeky to not seek permission and went to speak to him. He proceeded to tell us he had vehicle rights up " at all times and for all purposes" up to that point for loading and unloading and could bring a 'herd of camels' up our driveway if he so wished. He parked there for 4 hours with flashers on and the door open and very little unloading going on (door open and flashers a requirement for loading apparently). He has done this every day for months. He told us there was great animosity between him and the former owner who shouted at him on a regular basis for using his right of way for loading/unloading. We were bemused and told him that we hadn't known about that and that we needed to get in touch with our solicitors as we were told by the solicitor, the estate agent and the sellers that there was no vehicle access - just pedestrian. He proceeded to mock our solicitor and us for being idiots (maybe he has a point).

    He knocked on the front door later and gave us a copy of his title deed and told us the estate agents were aware of the access issues and that he had given them a copy of title and explained the issues was experiencing with the former owners of our property over access rights. The estate agents did not say anything about any issues with access and stressed the foot access only point when we were in the conveyancing process. On our SPIF form, there were no neighbourly disputes recorded and the box asking if there was anything that could lead to a dispute with a neighbour was ticked no. We also had a letter from their solicitor saying no disputes had occurred and a statement from the former owners declaring no access issues during his ownership.

    Our neighbours were shocked we hadn't been informed of the problems which were ongoing for about 6 months in the up to our purchase with tensions increasing by the day. The previous owner has built a wall at the top of the lane between the garage and his property to prevent anyone driving in, when the new owner of no. 3 bought the property which the new owner of no3 is threatening to smash down.

    The new owner is basically gunning for us to give him full vehicle access and is obstructing our access for hours at a time "loading and unloading" and making access to our parking very difficult as we have to park on the unmade lane and go find him. Then we all have to back all the way out as lane is so narrow. I'm sure he is pushing his luck and we could take him to court for improper use of access but its already highly unpleasant and very hostile. At no time has he tried to speak to us like normal human beings and explain his frustrations, basically picking up where he left off with the previous owners.

    We feel we have been tricked into buying a property that we would not have bought if we were aware of the escalating issues with access or potential for being blocked.

    There was no legal action between our sellers and no 3 at any stage (probably as he wanted to sell his house) so my question is if this should have been disclosed to us prior to purchase and we can sue the seller/estate agents for misrepresentation? Additionally, the sellers solicitor submitted an old copy of the SPIF dated 2016, prior to the issues with current neighbour (its now 2018). His access statement was also dated 2012?!! Surely a recent copy should have been submitted of both documents? Our solicitor did not pick up on this which is negligence in my opinion. Also potentially negligent is her not realising that our neighbour could drive up to our gable end for loading/unloading purposes thereby having vehicle access not just pedestrian access.

    We feel like we will have to open up the narrow road, take down the wall and give him full access to get him off our back, or we will continue to have problems. This will devalue our house. We'd like to put the house on the market and cut our losses but know given all the issues which we would disclose, no one will touch with a bargepole unless we drop the price by 100k, which we cannot afford to do.

    We are at our wits end with all of this. Any advice on if we have a case to sue either sellers, the estate agents or our solicitor - for malicious misrepresentation in the former two and negligence in the case of our solicitor? Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • Grezz24
    • By Grezz24 12th Jul 18, 2:11 PM
    • 187 Posts
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    Grezz24
    • #2
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:11 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:11 PM
    Do you have a map where you could outline what you mean in there to give an illustrative example.
    • SallyDucati
    • By SallyDucati 12th Jul 18, 2:20 PM
    • 77 Posts
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    SallyDucati
    • #3
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:20 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:20 PM
    This sounds awful. Sorry you are living in that situation.

    I think you need to need to seek legal advice, by seeing a (different obviously!) solicitor along with all the paperwork, copy of title deeds etc. That would cost, but this sounds like it could be quite complicated and you need specific advice so you absolutely know where you stand.
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 12th Jul 18, 2:29 PM
    • 16,080 Posts
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    pinkshoes
    • #4
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:29 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:29 PM
    As you went to so much trouble To verify that access would not be a problem and have it in writing from the vendor, then I would be going straight back to your solicitor.

    Are you able to get the neighbour to declare in writing that there HAS been a dispute and that he DOES have vehicular right of access? If he knows this might make the previous neighbour have to pay up money, then he would probably be willing to do this.

    Was the dispute ever reported to the police? Council?

    If I were you I would want to sell and move, and making the vendor you bought it from pay for any losses.

    What a rubbish situation.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Jul 18, 2:45 PM
    • 26,698 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #5
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:45 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Jul 18, 2:45 PM
    Do you have a map where you could outline what you mean in there to give an illustrative example.
    Originally posted by Grezz24
    Newbies aren't allowed to post pictures, but given that most newbies aren't William Shakespeare, or even Maeve Binchy, it would be very useful if they could!

    They can, though. If a diagram is scanned/photographed and hosted on a site like https://imgbb.com/ the code they give can be posted as a broken link (gap somewhere obvious) and one of us old timers will fix it.

    But frankly I'm not going to wait for that to happen; I have a life to lead.

    Yes, there has been some cover up here by the sound of it, but I'd agree with this:" We feel like we will have to open up the narrow road, take down the wall and give him full access to get him off our back, or we will continue to have problems."

    And I'd disagree with this:

    "This will devalue our house." because giving one neighbour access will probably have no effect on value whatsoever.


    In other words before you start picking fights, legal or otherwise, consider the path of least resistance and whether, emotions apart, it would really make much difference.

    Your neighbour may be a boorish oaf, but trying to beat him in court won't change that regardless of the result; even if you win, he'll find other ways to make you lose.



    My guess is that you will probably want to move on, but who knows; if you do a deal with No 3 he may just turn out to be diamond, albeit a rough one.
    A garden is never so good as it will be next year....
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 3:02 PM
    • 25 Posts
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    AineS77
    • #6
    • 12th Jul 18, 3:02 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Jul 18, 3:02 PM
    Thank you for your replies and taking to time to read about my woes. Grezz24, I have done as you suggested and sketched an outline of the houses and roads and put it on the website suggested by Davesnave. Bit of a tecnophobe so you may need to give me more explicit instructions if this doesn't work but http bit is missing below.


    ibb.co/i9UuU8

    I'm no artist so please forgive the crude drawing. The hatched area is what we were led to believe is pedestrian access but owned by us. No 3 drives up to the heavy black line and leaves his van there for long periods cutting off our access in and out of parking area. There is no formal access beyond the black line but previous permissive access was given previously for lady with mobility issues. The lane between our garage and his house is very narrow and steep, which is not properly portrayed by my sketch! The wall was built between our gardens as soon as no 3 purchased their property.
    Last edited by AineS77; 12-07-2018 at 3:33 PM. Reason: Adding more info
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 3:07 PM
    • 25 Posts
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    AineS77
    • #7
    • 12th Jul 18, 3:07 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Jul 18, 3:07 PM
    Are you able to get the neighbour to declare in writing that there HAS been a dispute and that he DOES have vehicular right of access?

    He seems to shy away from the word 'dispute' and mentioned to my husband in passing some clause on his mortgage to do with disputes. We don't know him at all and he is not giving us an opportunity to talk to him logically to request something like you suggest. I think he is doing up his house, perhaps for resale so my guess is that he probably doesn't want a dispute legally registered. The other neighbours are all aware of it and have witnessed many, many shouting matches between the former owner and no3.
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 12th Jul 18, 3:35 PM
    • 16,080 Posts
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    pinkshoes
    • #8
    • 12th Jul 18, 3:35 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Jul 18, 3:35 PM
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Jul 18, 4:01 PM
    • 5,238 Posts
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    Cakeguts
    • #9
    • 12th Jul 18, 4:01 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Jul 18, 4:01 PM
    How old are the houses? Houses built in 1800 for example are unlikely to have vehicle access.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:12 PM
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    AineS77
    Yes they are old cottages- built circa 1810.

    Title says of the access " at all times and for all purposes" which seems to be a grey area of law where you may or may not use vehicles dependent on the width of the lane. It is wide enough for a car but no passing at all. I think he is stretching the law by parking for hours at a time on our drive and calling it unloading/loading by just having his flashers on but technically he is abiding by the law, as far as we can determine.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Jul 18, 4:16 PM
    • 19,152 Posts
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    AdrianC
    So does he have a RoW registered at LR? If so, why is he "badgering" you for RoW?

    And you say your solicitor didn't pick up on the old-dated PIF - but nor did you.


    Edit:

    Title says of the access " at all times and for all purposes" which seems to be a grey area of law where you may or may not use vehicles dependent on the width of the lane.
    Originally posted by AineS77
    Not grey at all. If a vehicle fits, there's permission. ALL PURPOSES.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Jul 18, 4:19 PM
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    Cakeguts
    Yes they are old cottages- built circa 1810.

    Title says of the access " at all times and for all purposes" which seems to be a grey area of law where you may or may not use vehicles dependent on the width of the lane. It is wide enough for a car but no passing at all. I think he is stretching the law by parking for hours at a time on our drive and calling it unloading/loading by just having his flashers on but technically he is abiding by the law, as far as we can determine.
    Originally posted by AineS77

    You need to find out if the access for all times and all purposes means I can park my horse and cart on here all day or I can only drive my horse and cart over it and not stop on it. Usually if one person owns the land the access is only for passing over not stopping but it might be different in this case. You need to find out what it says in his deeds for using the access.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 12th Jul 18, 4:27 PM
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    Mojisola
    He knocked on the front door later and gave us a copy of his title deed
    Originally posted by AineS77
    What exactly do his deeds say about the right of way?
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:28 PM
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    AineS77
    Absolutely you are correct - I didn't. I feel foolish. But on the other hand I still don't think this is my fault. I did pay a large sum of money to my solicitor to do all of these checks for me and explicitly said on several occasions that we are concerned about access and she still did not pick up on it or the backdated documents.

    I don't speak legal and some of the documents go back many many years so its hard for a non-legal joe soap to unpick it all. I was wrong to not check her work (I did read everything) but I do believe that she should have done all of these checks as standard. I still don't know what the significance of the backdated SPIF is tbh. I would be interested to know if anyone does?Does it nullify any dispute in the interim of being signed in 2016 and sale of property?

    He does have right of way registered to black line on map but he can't use the lane between garage and his house as this is our property so he is basically making our life a misery until we give him full access, we believe. The lane is very narrow and any vehicle bigger than a small car would risk bumping our garage.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jul 18, 4:28 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    I thought it had to be specifically stated that the "access at all times for all purposes" was to be by vehicle if it includes vehicle access??
    Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has.

    Extinction Rebellion
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:32 PM
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    AineS77
    What exactly do his deeds say about the right of way?
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    Title deed says:

    " A right of way for at all times and for all purposes over the road or entranceway and yard hatched black on the said plan subject to payment of fair proportion of the cost and expense of maintaining and repairing such roadway and yard"
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:35 PM
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    AineS77
    I thought it had to be specifically stated that the "access at all times for all purposes" was to be by vehicle if it includes vehicle access??
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    From research I have done since purchasing, apparently not always. Sometimes deeds do explicitly say vehicle but not saying vehicle doesn't mean that it excludes vehicles.
    • allypally26
    • By allypally26 12th Jul 18, 4:36 PM
    • 19 Posts
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    allypally26
    When was the last time he paid maintenue costs?
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:39 PM
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    AineS77
    When was the last time he paid maintenue costs?
    Originally posted by allypally26
    I don't think anyone has ever paid any maintenance costs, to the best of my knowledge. Unmade lane is a bit bumpy (no-one owns it) but our portion of property has tarmac and is in good condition. We have only been here a few months so yet to see how that fares if we ever need to broach the subject.
    • allypally26
    • By allypally26 12th Jul 18, 4:41 PM
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    allypally26
    Charge him for Back dated maintenance if he doesn!!!8217;t pay he can!!!8217;t use the lane simples.
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