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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 This was revoked on her death, a couple of years prior to the sale of no 3 and purchase by current owner in late 2017.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 3
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 12th Jul 18, 8:38 PM
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    bouicca21
    Still a bit confused, his deeds give him different rights over the two sections? He has RoW for all purposes up to the black line, but pedestrian only for the remainder of the route to his house?
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 8:47 PM
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    AineS77
    Still a bit confused, his deeds give him different rights over the two sections? He has RoW for all purposes up to the black line, but pedestrian only for the remainder of the route to his house?
    Originally posted by bouicca21
    No, its all purposes to his front door but its a narrow set of stairs so there is no way to get up them except on foot. I am sure if he could drive up them he would!
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Jul 18, 8:59 PM
    • 4,852 Posts
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    Cakeguts
    Originally posted by pinkshoes

    I think I may be beginning to unscramble this. You are in house 2 is that correct? Up to the black line he has vehicle access? Beyond that and going toward his house there is a narrow pedestrian access to the alley and then on beyond that a set of steps up the side of his house to his pedestrian access? What he is trying to do is to force you to take a bit off the side of your land so that he can drive up to the steps and then across your garden to make vehicle access to a house that doesn't have any?



    Is this correct?
    • SG27
    • By SG27 12th Jul 18, 9:05 PM
    • 2,447 Posts
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    SG27
    Haha! Thanks - we haven't been quite brave enough to do that though we have considered blocking him in!
    Originally posted by AineS77
    Probably not the best thing to do if you are potentially going to sell. This will clearly escalate the dispute.

    Im sorry I dont have anything to help. Its a difficult situation.
    • SG27
    • By SG27 12th Jul 18, 9:07 PM
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    SG27
    How old are the houses? Houses built in 1800 for example are unlikely to have vehicle access.
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    Not originally, but many have it added later. With the deeds altered at various times during the 1900s
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 9:14 PM
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    AineS77
    I think I may be beginning to unscramble this. You are in house 2 is that correct? Up to the black line he has vehicle access? Beyond that and going toward his house there is a narrow pedestrian access to the alley and then on beyond that a set of steps up the side of his house to his pedestrian access? What he is trying to do is to force you to take a bit off the side of your land so that he can drive up to the steps and then across your garden to make vehicle access to a house that doesn't have any?



    Is this correct?
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    Yes, exactly right. He wants us to give him full vehicle access through our garden to his house. He spent 6 months doing this to the previous owner (according to neighbours) and they didn't disclose his 'unloading/loading' schtick (ie parking on our drive and blocking our access) to us when we bought the property.
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 9:16 PM
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    AineS77
    Probably not the best thing to do if you are potentially going to sell. This will clearly escalate the dispute.

    Im sorry I dont have anything to help. Its a difficult situation.
    Originally posted by SG27
    No you are right - we haven't retaliated in any way as we don't want to stoop that low. We'd rather solve it legally. I don't think there is any way we can sell and recoup all the costs this way but perhaps we can if we can successfully sue the sellers for misrepresentation.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Jul 18, 9:21 PM
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    Cakeguts
    Yes, exactly right. He wants us to give him full vehicle access through our garden to his house. He spent 6 months doing this to the previous owner (according to neighbours) and they didn't disclose his 'unloading/loading' schtick (ie parking on our drive and blocking our access) to us when we bought the property.
    Originally posted by AineS77

    Is he a builder or developer? Is he doing lots of work to the house to do it up or modernise it? If I was in your position I would park somewhere else so that he can't park you in or cause you a nuisance and just let him get on with his "loading and unloading." It is annoying when you have a drive and garden to have to do this but it is a lot less stressful and it will show him that he isn't getting to you.
    • nic_c
    • By nic_c 12th Jul 18, 9:24 PM
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    nic_c
    If he has no vehicular access on your land past the black line, install a bollard or two along there
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fold-Foldable-Security-Bollard-Parking/dp/B002QVYK1Q

    You don't have to install it right upto the black boundary, in case there is a dispute whereabouts that is as deeds and maps can be unclear) but in such a place to prevent van access on that part of your land he has no access to.


    Though this could be seen as escalating matters

    Also install CCTV viewing down the side of the garage
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 9:27 PM
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    AineS77
    Is he a builder or developer? Is he doing lots of work to the house to do it up or modernise it? If I was in your position I would park somewhere else so that he can't park you in or cause you a nuisance and just let him get on with his "loading and unloading." It is annoying when you have a drive and garden to have to do this but it is a lot less stressful and it will show him that he isn't getting to you.
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    I don't know what he does for a living - we have never gotten to the stage of discussing that! He is around a lot so suspect maybe a developer and seems to be doing most of work himself. Yes when I definitely need to go out in the car, I've been parking on the main road as can't be sure that I will be able to leave via car otherwise.
    • kiddy guy
    • By kiddy guy 12th Jul 18, 9:46 PM
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    kiddy guy
    So firstly go after the seller. There's a known dispute and they are going to get their backsides kicked in court. I'd be suggesting they buy the house back. If you have enough parties that are happy to bear witness to the fact that there was a known dispute then you'll win quite clearly.

    Secondly either proceed with legal action against the neighbour but only if you're confident that your documentation shows that you're in the right. We've got something on a document that we own relating to one of our properties but the other party also has something that contradicts ours on theirs. The only way of getting to an answer on this one will be a very expensive court battle.

    Ultimately the way of forcing the neighbours hand is to install that bollard and force him to take you to court if he thinks he's in the right. You'll soon see whether he's playing Bluff or not.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jul 18, 9:54 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Yes, exactly right. He wants us to give him full vehicle access through our garden to his house. He spent 6 months doing this to the previous owner (according to neighbours) and they didn't disclose his 'unloading/loading' schtick (ie parking on our drive and blocking our access) to us when we bought the property.
    Originally posted by AineS77
    He just ain't living in the real world then - trying to get a bit of your garden!!! - and one presumes he's trying to get it for nothing too (ie rather than buying it off you).

    Nerve of the blimmin' devil

    For that - I would be investigating him a good deal further - to find out whats what about someone that can try and bully another person into just handing over their land.
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 12-07-2018 at 9:58 PM.
    ****************
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Jul 18, 10:14 PM
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    Davesnave
    Surely the "at all times and for all purposes" description is used precisely to show that there aren't restrictions on the mode of transport. That's certainly how the use of the private road I use is described and how we interpret it.



    I'd think arguing that it doesn't include a certain class of vehicle would be very difficult.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 12-07-2018 at 10:19 PM. Reason: typo
    I might be old, but I got to see a lot of good bands...
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 10:26 PM
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    AineS77
    Surely the "at all times and for all purposes" description is used precisely to show that there aren't restrictions on the mode of transport. That's certainly how the use of the private road I use is described and how we interpret it.



    I'd think arguing that it doesn't include a certain class of vehicle would be very difficult.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    I agree, from my own research I think he can drive onto our driveway in any vehicle that fits but he is probably pushing the definition of loading/unloading!
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Jul 18, 10:27 PM
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    Davesnave
    I don't know what he does for a living - we have never gotten to the stage of discussing that! He is around a lot so suspect maybe a developer and seems to be doing most of work himself. Yes when I definitely need to go out in the car, I've been parking on the main road as can't be sure that I will be able to leave via car otherwise.
    Originally posted by AineS77
    If he is developing the property, then he must eventually sell it to someone else, or put tenants in it.

    Either way, they are unlikely to act in the same manner, so this problem might solve itself.

    Blocking someone out of their driveway isn't an offence, but blocking them in is, so you would be justified in calling the police if your car was trapped by his van for any appreciable time. Dashcams make evidence easy to collect too.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 12-07-2018 at 10:29 PM.
    I might be old, but I got to see a lot of good bands...
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 12th Jul 18, 10:40 PM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    A small point, but for him to claim he's loading and unloading - don't you have to be actually loading and/or unloading?

    Sitting there for a few hours with his hazards on, isn't that just, well, sitting there with hazards on....?
    • AineS77
    • By AineS77 12th Jul 18, 10:47 PM
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    AineS77
    A small point, but for him to claim he's loading and unloading - don't you have to be actually loading and/or unloading?

    Sitting there for a few hours with his hazards on, isn't that just, well, sitting there with hazards on....?
    Originally posted by YoungBlueEyes
    Not a small point at all. He is abusing the loophole! He shuffles stuff around a bit and occasionally puts some wood in or takes a hammer out but he leaves it for long periods (today he left van completely for 2 hours, for instance).
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 12th Jul 18, 11:06 PM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    Maybe his loophole is your loophole - taking 2 hours to take a hammer out (effectively) is not what is meant by loading/unloading.

    Is there a definitive definition? Might that be the way to go...?
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 12th Jul 18, 11:07 PM
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    xylophone
    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.
    Surely you can sue for false representation?
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 12th Jul 18, 11:13 PM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    To answer my own question - there is no definition yet.

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmtran/748/74813.htm

    229. There is a pressing need to clarify the rules surrounding loading issues in the forthcoming statutory guidance. The Minister told us that the Department for Transport had decided not to undertake a consultation on the definition of loading in developing the new guidance on parking. There are currently no universally accepted definitions of 'loading' and 'unloading' however, and such definitions are required. The Department should therefore reverse its position and take the lead on clearing up the confusion through consultation with the haulage industry, police, residents, and local authorities. That definition must elucidate precisely what activities are covered. Once arrived at it should be widely publicised in the Department's guidance and by local authorities, and applied consistently across the country. Clearer guidance on a standardised 'observation period' (used by parking attendants to confirm loading and unloading activity) would also be helpful.
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