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  • FIRST POST
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 1:43 PM
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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 This was revoked on her death, a couple of years prior to the sale of no 3 and purchase by current owner in late 2017.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 2
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Jul 18, 4:43 PM
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    AdrianC
    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?
    Originally posted by AineS77
    Were they answers they gave correct, as of the date the form was completed and signed?


    If so, then...
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Jul 18, 4:46 PM
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    Cakeguts
    So he has a right of way over it but no right to park on it is that correct? For example if he had a motorcyle or a small car he could drive over it to get access because he could get out the other end. A large van can't be driven over it to get access to his property because the access to his property is too narrow. Is that right? We had exactly this problem with a right of passage. A neighbour became convinced that the right of passage meant he could park his car on it. However it was a right of passage not a right of parking or of unloading you had to be moving to use it.



    You need to find out if this is a right way where it is only to be used for access and not parked on or not. If he is parking on there to unload that may not be what is meant by right of way for access.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:50 PM
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    AineS77
    Were they answers they gave correct, as of the date the form was completed and signed?


    If so, then...
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Possibly yes but surely the vendor shouldn't have submitted old documents with non recent information omitted? I don't know though, I am just hoping you are not right.
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 12th Jul 18, 4:51 PM
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    bouicca21
    Does the entranceway and yard hatched black on his plan match the hatched area on your diagram? Does he have RoW over the area that you haven't hatched?

    It does look as though he has rights for a vehicle and thus has good cause to be angry about that wall.

    If I were you I'd be taking legal advice so you know exactly what rights each of you have, then try to calm him down and have a tea and cake moment. After all if he is right then you both have good cause to be angry with your vendors, and can bond over that.

    As for damage to your garage - well if he damages it, he pays for repairs. CCTV is your friend. Long before CCTV, I lived in a house that had a fence occasionally knocked down by careless Lorry drivers, they always paid up in the end.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:54 PM
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    AineS77
    So he has a right of way over it but no right to park on it is that correct? For example if he had a motorcyle or a small car he could drive over it to get access because he could get out the other end. A large van can't be driven over it to get access to his property because the access to his property is too narrow. Is that right? We had exactly this problem with a right of passage. A neighbour became convinced that the right of passage meant he could park his car on it. However it was a right of passage not a right of parking or of unloading you had to be moving to use it.



    You need to find out if this is a right way where it is only to be used for access and not parked on or not. If he is parking on there to unload that may not be what is meant by right of way for access.
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    He is not allowed access at all past the black line. We 100% own that land privately and no neighbour has any access past there. But that is what is wants. I'm pretty sure he can't park on our drive but there is a loophole with the 'loading/unloading' where he is exploiting it to his advantage (but pushing his luck a bit).

    TBH we just want to get out but we can't resell while this going on as who in their right mind would buy it given what is happening? We couldn't be so dishonest as the seller was to us, to land some other poor sod in this situation.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 4:59 PM
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    AineS77
    [QUOTE=bouicca21;74521069]Does the entranceway and yard hatched black on his plan match the hatched area on your diagram? Does he have RoW over the area that you haven't hatched?

    It does look as though he has rights for a vehicle and thus has good cause to be angry about that wall.

    No he has no right past the black line - just pedestrian access up the side of his house. He bought his house late last year knowing this.

    My husband and I are incredibly calm people and have tried to speak to him normally on a number of occasions but he gets very irate immediately. We understand his predicament and are willing to talk calmly with him but he won't stop throwing his weight around. He is being very unreasonable and we are just tired of the confrontation and are mostly just angry at the sellers/estate agent for landing us in the middle of what is clearly a very big dispute that we were not told about (actually they lied to our faces and told us the neighbours were all lovely when we viewed the property on a number of occasions prior to purchase).
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Jul 18, 5:00 PM
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    Cakeguts
    Is the wall there to stop him making a vehicle access over your garden to get to the front of his house because from the diagram you drew it looks as if he can only ever get access to the side or back of his house. If the access at any point is too narrow to drive down he can't take a piece of someone else's garden to widen it to the point where he can get a van through but you can't block his access to the yard or side of his house. He on the other hand can't block your access either so he can't park you in.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 5:05 PM
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    AineS77
    Is the wall there to stop him making a vehicle access over your garden to get to the front of his house because from the diagram you drew it looks as if he can only ever get access to the side or back of his house. If the access at any point is too narrow to drive down he can't take a piece of someone else's garden to widen it to the point where he can get a van through but you can't block his access to the yard or side of his house. He on the other hand can't block your access either so he can't park you in.
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    That was built by the previous owner, not us. We were told it had been there for many years but in fact we have since found out that it was built when he showed up in his van to ensure he couldn't gain access across our land (or what is now our land). He bought his property based on pedestrian access only. Lots of people just park on the main road its a quiet village in the lakes and not busy at all and there is usually lots of space. We are not from the area and thought it a little odd but accepted that the houses are a little higgeldy piggeldy and many don't have vehicle access/parking.
    Last edited by AineS77; 12-07-2018 at 5:13 PM. Reason: add info
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Jul 18, 6:05 PM
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    Davesnave
    So, in essence, this chap wants the current access over your land on foot to be extended to allow vehicles visiting one property to pass and re-pass.

    If you have a mortgage, you could not grant this without involving your lender, but it's something you might consider as a business proposition, offsetting whatever drop in value you think you'd suffer and estimating what increase in value No3 would achieve by having car access/parking.
    A garden is never so good as it will be next year....
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 6:08 PM
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    AineS77
    So, in essence, this chap wants the current access over your land on foot to be extended to allow vehicles visiting one property to pass and re-pass.

    If you have a mortgage, you could not grant this without involving your lender, but it's something you might consider as a business proposition, offsetting whatever drop in value you think you'd suffer and estimating what increase in value No3 would achieve by having car access/parking.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Thanks - yes thats exactly it. Good point about seeking permission from our lender. They would need to revalue - I hadn't considered that.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 12th Jul 18, 6:36 PM
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    AdrianC
    So, in essence, this chap wants the current access over your land on foot to be extended to allow vehicles visiting one property to pass and re-pass.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    The current access is not restricted to foot. It is all purposes.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jul 18, 6:46 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    We don't know how often he is doing this deliberate parking on a ROW? It sounds as if he knows very well one isn't allowed to park on a ROW - but is allowed to stop long enough to "load and unload".

    Two thoughts:
    1. Are you keeping a record of how often/how long/whether there is actually any sign of him really loading & unloading.

    2. If he persists with this and your records indicate that he is provably "taking the michael" - then I wonder if this might fall under the "Protection from Harassment Act"?

    I know a couple of my neighbours were playing up/trespassing etc for a while after I moved in here. I did manage to stop it eventually, but I did have in mind whether I might have to use that Act and/or ask a local PCSO to "have a word with them".
    Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world.

    It's the only thing that ever has.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Jul 18, 6:48 PM
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    Davesnave
    The current access is not restricted to foot. It is all purposes.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Yes, I got that, but I thought it was only so far that it's wide enough, hence the problem.


    I could be wrong, of course.
    A garden is never so good as it will be next year....
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 7:08 PM
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    AineS77
    Yes, I got that, but I thought it was only so far that it's wide enough, hence the problem.


    I could be wrong, of course.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    He can't legally pass the thick black line on my map as that has no right of access attached. He is exercising vehicle right of access to the black line but to get to his door he needs to ascend some steps up the side of our house and then his own so it is only foot access to his front door.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 7:09 PM
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    AineS77
    We don't know how often he is doing this deliberate parking on a ROW? It sounds as if he knows very well one isn't allowed to park on a ROW - but is allowed to stop long enough to "load and unload".

    Two thoughts:
    1. Are you keeping a record of how often/how long/whether there is actually any sign of him really loading & unloading.

    2. If he persists with this and your records indicate that he is provably "taking the michael" - then I wonder if this might fall under the "Protection from Harassment Act"?

    I know a couple of my neighbours were playing up/trespassing etc for a while after I moved in here. I did manage to stop it eventually, but I did have in mind whether I might have to use that Act and/or ask a local PCSO to "have a word with them".
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention

    Yes i am noting it down. Its on average 4 hours a day over past couple of months.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 7:12 PM
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    AineS77
    My major question is if anyone thinks we have a case against either our solicitor (who was negligent in my opinion) or better still the creeps we bought our house from who blantantly lied to our faces and did not disclose what is clearly a major access dispute.

    At this stage we want to sell but we cannot sell anywhere near the same price and we would like to recoup the difference.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jul 18, 7:26 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    On balance - you've got a fight on your hands one way or the other, whichever way you play it by the sound of it.

    So either you:
    - fight the vendor for compensation because they were a lying little toad

    OR

    - you fight this neighbour to make him back off and stop causing trouble.

    Out of the two - my guess would be that it would be "lesser of two evils" to deal with the neighbour.

    By the sound of it - as far as I can make out from your diagram - then I'm guessing any time he "sits" his van there pretending to be "loading and unloading" you could park a vehicle of yours (or a visitors - if your friends are brave enough) right behind him. He would be blocked in and couldnt get back out again.

    If he came to realise he was going to get blocked in at least a good proportion of the time he was playing silly b&ggers pretending to "load and unload" then I'm guessing that would put him off trying that one on again.

    EDIT; and there's also the fact he'd soon learn not to leave the windows on his van open if you happened to be "coincidentally" watering your garden with a hosepipe anywhere near those open windows.....
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 12-07-2018 at 7:29 PM.
    Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world.

    It's the only thing that ever has.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 7:32 PM
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    AineS77
    On balance - you've got a fight on your hands one way or the other, whichever way you play it by the sound of it.

    So either you:
    - fight the vendor for compensation because they were a lying little toad

    OR

    - you fight this neighbour to make him back off and stop causing trouble.

    Out of the two - my guess would be that it would be "lesser of two evils" to deal with the neighbour.

    By the sound of it - as far as I can make out from your diagram - then I'm guessing any time he "sits" his van there pretending to be "loading and unloading" you could park a vehicle of yours (or a visitors - if your friends are brave enough) right behind him. He would be blocked in and couldnt get back out again.

    If he came to realise he was going to get blocked in at least a good proportion of the time he was playing silly b&ggers pretending to "load and unload" then I'm guessing that would put him off trying that one on again.

    EDIT; and there's also the fact he'd soon learn not to leave the windows on his van open if you happened to be "coincidentally" watering your garden with a hosepipe anywhere near those open windows.....
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Haha! Thanks - we haven't been quite brave enough to do that though we have considered blocking him in!
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 12th Jul 18, 8:17 PM
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    Norman Castle
    The current access is not restricted to foot. It is all purposes.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Some ROW will be for a specific reason such as emptying bins or historically, moving coal and some will be open to use for any reason or, all purposes. I wouldn't read that as implying vehicular access, just that there are no restrictions on how often or why the ROW is being used. Having no restrictions on why it is being used shouldn't change how it can be used.
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 12-07-2018 at 8:20 PM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 12th Jul 18, 8:24 PM
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    Norman Castle
    Might be useful http://www.boundary-problems.co.uk/boundary-problems/frontpage.html
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
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