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  • FIRST POST
    • rajgn
    • By rajgn 9th Oct 18, 6:46 PM
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    rajgn
    neighbour building wall - obstructing to open car door
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 18, 6:46 PM
    neighbour building wall - obstructing to open car door 9th Oct 18 at 6:46 PM
    Hi,
    Apologies for long post...
    We need your advice as we are first time owners and bought our first 3 bedroom detached house 2 1/2 years back by spending fortune. We din't have any issues so far.

    We have got single car park (2.68 meter width) in front of garage and there is our house wall at one side of car park. These houses were built in 1999 and other side of my car park there were edging plants bordering the neighbour boundary planted by builder when this layout/residential estate was initially built. The edge plants were planted bit inside to neighbours area as those plants are maintained by them . Similar approach followed in other houses in our area. No one has built any wall in front of their house in our residential estate. I have checked Land registry plan for the high level border but yet to get deeds copy to check the detailed plan/boundary.

    But our left side neighbour owner (old lady) who is not living in the house has rented house to some tenants since few years(before we bought the house). She decided to get rid of lavender bush and also front garden grass for low maintenance. Their front garden space is very small and not able to park any car either. They have got parking at the back of their house.

    They never notified about any work whatsoever . They initially started to remove lavender bush and grass and build wall in-front of their house and also other side of their house which is adjacent to road. I did check with guy who was building wall and he advised they don't have any plan to remove edge plants next to my car park. Apparently owner had asked his advise and he advised her not to remove edge plants.
    The front and road side wall is completed. But after almost a week break then builder came back to work. I did check in the morning around 8 AM and he mentioned - he had been advised to remove edge plants and build wall. I immediately raised my concern and asked builder to call owner as she lives somewhere else and I dint have her contact number.

    Owner came at around 1:30 PM with main builder and I raised my concern with her. Her first words were 'wall going up there(pointing the location)'. She was not approachable but me and my wife try to convince her and also mentioned that it will be very difficult as we have 2 1/2 year old daughter. We mentioned that it will be difficult to put my daughter to car seat or get her out. They were advising to let passengers out first and the park the car. But I raised my concern that it will be difficult for the driver itself to get in/out of the car.

    The guy was building the wall mediated and gave two choices:
    Choice 1: stop the wall next to parking space just 1 meter deep from the pavement so other part will be empty and just block paving so it doesn't obstruct opening car door.
    Choice 2: Build 0.65m height wall 1st around one meter deep and then drop the wall height to 2 or 3 bricks height so that I can open my car door.

    I wanted first option but she forced me to accept choice 2. I was not happy but ok. I took her contact number and then we all departed.

    There was no news/work until next 2 weeks. But after 2 weeks builder came to build wall and he mentioned owner has advised him to build full height wall next to my car park. She never informed about change of decision. It was really shocking.
    I tried to call her on mobile and left voicemail and also sent her text messages explaining the issue. She called me back after sometime and said she is going to build wall and has contacted the solicitor. I asked her if she has checked my text messages but she said no. I never got any response to text messages.

    I consulted my car insurance legal team for their advice and they advised me that I can arge on private nuisance and they advised me to contact home insurance legal team. I contacted my home insurance legal team 2nd time ( first time they had rejected saying she can build wall in her boundary within certain height and can't stop legally). But I mentioned about private nuisance advised by car insurance legal team and why this was never mentioned first time. Then they mentioned they could have advised better first time.

    Home insurance legal team asked me to send objection letter raising my concern/issues with owner. I wrote a letter and printed and then posted one through post office and also personally delivered other copy to their house. Builder was constructing the wall when I delivered the letter. On the same afternoon lady and her father came and just father was trying to tell me that they have already consulted their solicitors etc. I asked him why they changed the decision even though it was mutually agreed other day that they are going to drop wall height next to my car park just 2 to 3 bricks height so that I can just open my car door. He mentioned builder told them that dropping wall would cost more. I couldn't believe this as short wall means less bricks/labour/cost. The owner (lady) didn't bother to speak as was discussing with guy who was building the wall by holding the letter I had hand delivered.
    I dint have any interest to talk to them any more and I said thank you and came home.

    They just carried on building the work even though I raised my concern. Its been 3 days and now wall is completed.

    I contacted our local council and they said as long as they are building in their boundary and also within 1 meter height then no need of any planning permission and can't intervene. They asked me to check property deed for any Covenants. I did check and there is nothing specific as per my understanding but I have asked my solicitor to check as well.

    I also contacted Citizens Advice Bureau and they gave similar response as local council and then asked to check with solicitor about private nuisance.

    I have submitted my side of story/events to my home insurance legal team(got legal cover) with photos and documents etc and waiting for their analysis and prospect of success.

    But we are really confused if we need to proceed with legal action. Its really shocking that neighbour is so inconsiderate and inhumane. My parking space is almost dead and can't image how we manger after having second child. This wall may potential bring down our house price as well.

    Please advise how to proceed on this. I sincerely wait for your advise.
    Thank You in Advance.
Page 4
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Oct 18, 7:36 PM
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    Davesnave
    Sorry, I've never had an issue parking in my drive and accessing both sides of my car, so I didn't realise I'd hit some raw nerves by suggesting a simple and practical way forward for the OP.


    In case of doubt, my posts in no way imply that the OP's issue with the neighbour's wall has any validity. That's a seperate matter.
    A garden is never so good as it will be next year....
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Oct 18, 7:42 PM
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    Cakeguts
    What this sounds like to me is one of those estates where some of the houses have parking spaces behind the house especially if the house is on a corner like the neighbour's appears to be and small front gardens. So I suspect that what the lady next door had was a pathway to the side of her house with plants down the side up to the boundary. So not two drives next to each other but a drive on one side and a small garden on the other going up to the boundary.



    The house is sold to the OP who then assumes that as the boundary has a garden on the otherside it is alright to use this garden as extra car door opening parking space. They may even have on odd occasions stepped onto the garden carefully to not damage any plants in order to get out of the car on that side. My reasoning is that if you can't open the car door even a crack to get out on that side with the wall there then they must have been on occasions getting out of the car and standing on the garden on the neighbour's side. Or standing on the neighbour's garden to open the car door to get into the car.

    If you look at the OP it says that the preference was for a gap in the wall with block paving on the otherside rather than the wall being only 2 or 3 bricks high. If you aren't going to stand on the otherside of the border to get in and out of the car there is no difference between these two options. Obviously if you are used to standing on the neighbours garden to access your car the blockwork would be preferable.



    This use of next door's garden has been going on for 2 1/2 years. I can understand that someone might get a bit fed up after that length of time especially if the house has tenants.



    The OP may not have fully appreciated that when tenants rent a house they are entitled to not have next door neighbours using their garden to access their car. So although the lady who owned the house didn't live there someone did and that someone had the right of that small garden to not be encroached on.



    I suspect that what prompted the wall was a desire to stop the OP from using that garden as an extension of the parking space.



    I don't suppose all the text messages, phone calls, requests and the hand delivered letter from the OP asking the neighbour to stop building a wall that she was entitled to build on her land went down all that well either?



    There are two sides to every story and I am beginning to feel very sorry for the neighbour as I think they have been taken advantage of because they didn't live there and the house was "only" rented.

    .
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Oct 18, 7:48 PM
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    Cakeguts
    Sorry, I've never had an issue parking in my drive and accessing both sides of my car, so I didn't realise I'd hit some raw nerves by suggesting a simple and practical way forward for the OP.


    In case of doubt, my posts in no way imply that the OP's issue with the neighbour's wall has any validity. That's a seperate matter.
    Originally posted by Davesnave

    Having read carefully through the OP I have a feeling that it is the neighbour that has the issue which is why they have built a wall. The bit about the blockwork paving being preferable to the low wall got me thinking. If it was only the case of room to open the door it wouldn't make any difference as either would do but if you wanted to step out on that side onto something flat then it would.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 12th Oct 18, 8:38 PM
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    EachPenny
    I don't think it's that per se that's the concern normally. More like if someone decided to "do something or other" on that bit of their garden and then might find a neighbour was able to stop them.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Which is of course what is in effect happening here. The OP was trying to stop the wall being built because it would cause them inconvenience.

    If I were the OP's neighbour then I might consider allowing him to rent/buy part of that land (depending on the precise circumstances) if only to make it all legally sound. Whether or not I'd make that offer would depend on attitude and method of approach... which is another discussion.

    As an average vehicle is around 2m wide, they'd probably need to add about 0.6m to the side of their drive to achieve this, perhaps using paving slabs. It's a relatively small job and much easier than trying to persuade a neighbour to change their plans.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    If I understand the OP's description correctly, his house wall runs along 'his' side of the 2.68m 'space'. (it sounds like the typical set up with a garage set back from the front of the house allowing a car to park on the 'driveway' between the house on one side, and the property boundary on the other.)

    If so, then adding 0.6m to the width of his drive (on his side) would be slightly more than a 'small job'
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Oct 18, 9:38 PM
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    Cakeguts
    Which is of course what is in effect happening here. The OP was trying to stop the wall being built because it would cause them inconvenience.

    If I were the OP's neighbour then I might consider allowing him to rent/buy part of that land (depending on the precise circumstances) if only to make it all legally sound. Whether or not I'd make that offer would depend on attitude and method of approach... which is another discussion.


    If I understand the OP's description correctly, his house wall runs along 'his' side of the 2.68m 'space'. (it sounds like the typical set up with a garage set back from the front of the house allowing a car to park on the 'driveway' between the house on one side, and the property boundary on the other.)

    If so, then adding 0.6m to the width of his drive (on his side) would be slightly more than a 'small job'
    Originally posted by EachPenny

    I would agree with this. It is a typical set up on modern estates.



    What I imagine is a detached house with a very short front garden which has no wall between it and the pavement. The parking is on a driveway that runs down the side of the house. Because the front garden is very short in order to get the car off the road you have to have go down beside the side wall of the house. Next to the driveway there is a small area of planted garden that belongs to the next door neighbour there may also be a path between it and the wall of the next door house giving access to the backgarden or it might just be an area of garden between the two properties. There is a mention of the neighbour having parking at the back. This is often the case with modern properties that are built on a corner. Their parking space is at the bottom of the garden accessed from round the corner.



    The driveway of the OP's property is too narrow for them to be able to open their car doors on both sides. I think it is often the case that the drives on modern houses are too narrow for the doors to be opened on both sides while the car is parked in the drive. What the OP has been doing is using the garden area belonging to the neighbour to get into and out of the car for 2 1/2 years. If their front garden is very small they won't be able to move the car over onto the front garden to give more room to get out on the otherside. The only option would be for all occupants to either get out one side on the drive or to get out both sides when the car is parked in the road.



    The neighbour has got fed up with the OP using her garden to get into and out of his car. The OP is annoyed because he had got used to using her garden and wrongly assumed that he would be able to continue. However he had no right to start doing this in the first place so there is nothing he can do about the wall and technically he hasn't lost anything. He bought a house with a drive that was too narrow for him to open his car doors on both sides. He still has that. What he has lost is the ability to exploit the neighbour by using her garden to access the car doors on the other side. However he never had that he probably just assumed that no one would notice because the house on the other side was let?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Oct 18, 9:58 PM
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    Davesnave
    If I understand the OP's description correctly, his house wall runs along 'his' side of the 2.68m 'space'. (it sounds like the typical set up with a garage set back from the front of the house allowing a car to park on the 'driveway' between the house on one side, and the property boundary on the other.)

    If so, then adding 0.6m to the width of his drive (on his side) would be slightly more than a 'small job'
    Originally posted by EachPenny

    If there's no front garden of any substance, then you're right.

    If there is, then Doozergirl and I may be forgiven for thinking that there could be a belt & braces practical solution.

    It's the familiar problem of a picture being worth a thousand words. Either way, it's not something I'd move house over, without some other major factor, like a busy road, making entering/leaving/loading the car very tricky.
    A garden is never so good as it will be next year....
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 12th Oct 18, 10:18 PM
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    BobQ
    Yes, with house there is a covenant which states no walls can be built on the boundaries of the front gardens. Whether it is something that would be enforceable is another matter
    Originally posted by MysteryMe
    How do you know unless you are the OP using two names?
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 12th Oct 18, 10:24 PM
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    BobQ
    I have never seen such a long post by the OP saying so little.

    You cannot stop someone building a wall on their land if it is safe and complies with planning laws, unless there is a covenant that states that no wall can be built. Even then going to your home insurer is pointless unless the insurer offers a full legal insurance and is willing to undertake a civil lawsuit.


    Nobody has a right to open a car door over their neighbours land unless the deeds state that they have a right to use that land.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 12th Oct 18, 10:25 PM
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    EachPenny
    How do you know unless you are the OP using two names?
    Originally posted by BobQ
    You need to read the whole thread, the answer will become clear.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 12th Oct 18, 10:35 PM
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    EachPenny
    If there's no front garden of any substance, then you're right.

    If there is, then Doozergirl and I may be forgiven for thinking that there could be a belt & braces practical solution.

    It's the familiar problem of a picture being worth a thousand words. Either way, it's not something I'd move house over, without some other major factor, like a busy road, making entering/leaving/loading the car very tricky.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    I agree with both of you, it would be the obvious way to go if that were possible. But this bit suggests not:-
    We have got single car park (2.68 meter width) in front of garage and there is our house wall at one side of car park. These houses were built in 1999 and other side of my car park there were edging plants bordering the neighbour boundary...
    A lesson for all house buyers... spend more time thinking whether the drive/garage is big enough to open your car doors on/in, less time admiring the kitchen and bathrooms. The latter can always be changed (which you'll probably want to do after a few years anyway), the former is rarely something which can be economically improved.

    With new builds the developer will try to ensure you only think about the latter.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 12th Oct 18, 10:35 PM
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    BobQ
    .

    I think my only option is to check deeds document for any specific covenant and see if it helps...
    Thanks for your response. appreciate it.
    Originally posted by rajgn
    That is what people have been telling you to do.

    Personally I would rather have a wall. She could just plant some prickly rose bushes!
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 12th Oct 18, 10:47 PM
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    BobQ
    I was replying to a comment made by Lorian not the OP, .
    Originally posted by MysteryMe
    It does not matter who you were replying to as you said

    "Yes, with house there is a covenant which states no walls can be built on the boundaries of the front gardens. Whether it is something that would be enforceable is another matter "

    There is only one house in this discussion and the above suggested that you knew what its deeds state. If that is not what you meant fair enough but criticising the comment does not help when your words were ambiguous.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 12th Oct 18, 10:51 PM
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    BobQ
    The OP owns land which is part of the land originally benefiting from the restrictive covenant applying to the neighbours land. Assuming a conventional housing estate situation, the developer would have applied restrictive covenants to each plot as it was sold. Each house is subject to the restrictive covenants set out in its original conveyance. But each house is also a sub-division of the original development site and can therefore enforce the covenants against the other houses.

    I agree it would be pointless in this case.
    Originally posted by Badger50
    I agree with your point. But I would add that most estate builders do this to encourage uniformity on the site in the early days particularly when some houses are not yet sold. They often ban satellite dishes too but they spring up too.
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • BobQ
    • By BobQ 12th Oct 18, 11:02 PM
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    BobQ
    You need to read the whole thread, the answer will become clear.
    Originally posted by EachPenny
    The OP was long enough, so yes I may have missed something
    Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
    • lookstraightahead
    • By lookstraightahead 13th Oct 18, 8:02 AM
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    lookstraightahead
    Op what do you have in front of your front door? Can someone draw a little picture on here so that I can see what's going on
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 13th Oct 18, 10:25 AM
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    EachPenny
    Something like this, or the mirror image. The OP is parking on the Driveway "DDDD" constrained by the neighbour "NNNN" on one side and the house "#" on the other.

    What lies between the front of the house and the road is a mystery, but based on what the OP has said already and being familiar with this kind of development, my guess would be it is a narrow strip (if anything) which is far too small to park on. (if it were big enough for parking then the garage wouldn't need to be set back). I could be wrong though, hopefully the OP will come back to confirm.

    NNNNNNNN | ############## | #
    NNNNNNNN | ############## | #
    NNNNNNNN | #### Garage ### | #
    Neighbour N | ############## | #
    NNNNNNNN | ############## | #
    NNNNNNNN | ############## | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | # --- House ---
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | #
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD | ###########################
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD
    NNNNNNNN | DDDDDDDDDDD
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~
    ------------------------------- Road ---------------------------------------
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Badger50
    • By Badger50 13th Oct 18, 12:09 PM
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    Badger50
    The OP owns land which is part of the land originally benefiting from the restrictive covenant applying to the neighbours land. Assuming a conventional housing estate situation, the developer would have applied restrictive covenants to each plot as it was sold. Each house is subject to the restrictive covenants set out in its original conveyance. But each house is also a sub-division of the original development site and can therefore enforce the covenants against the other houses.

    I agree it would be pointless in this case.
    Originally posted by Badger50
    On the general legal point of who has the right to enforce restrictive covenants I should clarify that not all the houses on an estate will have equal reciprocal enforcement rights. It all depends on the order in which they were sold. Houses will not have enforcement rights over those sold later but will have rights over those sold earlier. At the extremes the first house sold will have no enforcement rights. The last one sold will have rights over all those sold earlier.

    Just adds to the impracticability of trying to enforce them.
    • WeAreGhosts
    • By WeAreGhosts 13th Oct 18, 1:21 PM
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    WeAreGhosts
    On the general legal point of who has the right to enforce restrictive covenants I should clarify that not all the houses on an estate will have equal reciprocal enforcement rights. It all depends on the order in which they were sold. Houses will not have enforcement rights over those sold later but will have rights over those sold earlier. At the extremes the first house sold will have no enforcement rights. The last one sold will have rights over all those sold earlier.

    Just adds to the impracticability of trying to enforce them.
    Originally posted by Badger50
    That's an interesting point that I've never come across and could be important to my problem. (Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread)
    How does one go about finding who has enforcement rights over who? Is it in the deeds? If so, there's nothing in mine, just that there shouldn't be a wall/fence/hedge on the front boundary. So am assuming anyone with an interest can enforce.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 13th Oct 18, 1:35 PM
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    Cakeguts
    That's an interesting point that I've never come across and could be important to my problem. (Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread)
    How does one go about finding who has enforcement rights over who? Is it in the deeds? If so, there's nothing in mine, just that there shouldn't be a wall/fence/hedge on the front boundary. So am assuming anyone with an interest can enforce.
    Originally posted by WeAreGhosts

    Your problem might be because the services run under the bottom of your front garden. I know that we own a house with a covenant like that because the services for the other houses all run under the bottom of the front gardens and so you are not allowed to build a wall or a fence.
    • Badger50
    • By Badger50 13th Oct 18, 1:41 PM
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    Badger50
    That's an interesting point that I've never come across and could be important to my problem. (Sorry, not trying to hijack the thread)
    How does one go about finding who has enforcement rights over who? Is it in the deeds? If so, there's nothing in mine, just that there shouldn't be a wall/fence/hedge on the front boundary. So am assuming anyone with an interest can enforce.
    Originally posted by WeAreGhosts
    You would need to see the original conveyances for the properties concerned and check the dates and covenants. They will normally be filed at the Land Registry. The dates will determine which of the properties are, in relation to eachother, a dominant tenement (able to enforce a restrictive covenant) and which a servient. tenement (required to comply with a restrictive covenant).
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