Would appreciate some advice please

Would appreciate some advice please

Postby biblee » Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:11 am

Hi
I am hoping that I could gain some advice over my position (and this is the right board as it covers a number of areas?)

The boundary between my bungalow and by back neighbour is their wall, which have windows looking directly into my garden (and unfortunately into my kitchen/son’s bedroom). The neighbour is a shop, and the “room” is their store room, however they lease the property.

I believe historically the owners of the building were the brother or the man who built the bungalows on my road, and they initially lived in this property. My grandparents then took the property over and planted firs to block the view of the windows. Therefore I brought the property with knowledge of this, although I am sure this would not be allowed today?

I have now cut down the trees and therefore the windows look directly into my garden. Thankfully 2.5 out of the 4 windows have shelving up against them, but the last one doesn’t. But none the less it is uncomfortable knowing that my garden and house can viewed (the window looks directly into my 8 year old son’s bedroom). There are 2 downpipes from their guttering running directly into my garden, and part of the guttering is broken so that is also running into my garden (and causing the paint to flake off).

My questions are
1) Do they have any responsibility to keep this wall and windows in a state of repair? (paint is peeling, guttering leaking into my garden, and the wooden windows are clearly in need of repair due to rot)
2) If they do need to repair i.e. replace windows – would these now need to fall under current regulations regarding viewing directly into another garden/house?
3) Do I have any rights to request they block their windows?
4) Do I have the right to erect some form of block in front of the window? If so do I have restrictions on height, distance?
5) If I do have the right to erect a block, what access rights do they need?

I am going to attempt to try to request they look to repair their walls/windows (giving them access to my garden to do so) and give notice of erecting a “barrier” to restore my privacy, but I would appreciate any advice over my rights as I am aware that the owner can be quite “difficult” at times.

Many thanks in advance.
biblee
 
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby Collaborate » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:20 am

1. No responsibility. They can let it fall in to ruin if they like, though they mustn't let their gutters fall in to disrepair if that has an adverse effect on your property. They should drain into proper drains (unless they have always just drained on to your garden, in which case they may well have acquired to right to do so).

2. No.

3. No

4. You can plant or erect what you want. Beware the roots damaging their foundations, for which you may become liable. Also they may well have acquired a right to light. A trellis may help you here. You'd need PP for a wall higher than 2m.

5. They can secure access via a court order under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act.
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby biblee » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:36 am

thanks for the clear responses

Re 1) how would I know if they have acquired this right or is it just an issue of time and not challenging? And it doesn't matter if parts of their window is falling onto my land as it slowly rots?

Does it make know difference that it is a commercial building (used as a store room for a shop).

I would be happy to give them access if they need it. My issue will be is if I then erect a "block" (and I am thinking just trellis type thing to block the window) - then then want access to repair (and will need to remove these) - hence my wanting to offer the chance to do this work before I do mine.
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby despair » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:09 am

You had conifers growing there blocking the windows so theres zero to stop you planting what you like or erecting a trellis or fence bcos any right to light claims will have been voided by the years of the conifers being there

However they cannot allow their gutters to be in a bad state and discharge water onto your land of course they may well blame damage from your conifers for it
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby biblee » Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:36 pm

Thank you

I think the guttering is to do with the general state of repair - where it is leaking the trees came no where near it (and now they are gone he has no way to assume this).

I would obviously prefer him to come and make repairs on his wall and windows as it is really unsightly and ideally to block them in. However failing that I will erect screens in front of the windows (or along the whole building). Obviously this will make it significantly hard for him to make the repairs in future (when the windows eventually rot out - which given their state will not be long). What right would be have to remove my screens to gain access?).

I am obviously hoping he might actually want to take this opportunity to repair his building (I don't imagine the person who leases the shop as a store room would appreciate the windows giving in and all his good being destroyed) - I just would like to be prepared in case he doesn't.
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby arborlad » Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:30 pm

biblee wrote: My questions are
1) Do they have any responsibility to keep this wall and windows in a state of repair? (paint is peeling, guttering leaking into my garden, and the wooden windows are clearly in need of repair due to rot)



Any possibility you live in a Conservation Area or that the building is listed?


These two threads (which were merged but got separated) are similar to your situation:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=17786

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=20068
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby biblee » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Thanks - and no it's not a listed building. It is an old garage, they changed use a couple of years ago to a franchise shop. Not sure what kind of lease the current shop keeper has (i.e. who would be responsible for the repair him or the actual owner) so in the process of trying to determine that.

Obviously in an ideal world, given that it is only a store room, they will repair the windows/walls for their own sake, and then block them out so that the staff in the store room can't see into my garden, or my kitchen/son's bedroom (window to window it only a few metres). I would still want to put something up in front of the windows just to ensure our privacy.

Failing that - It appears all I can do is ask them to repair their guttering to prevent it flowing into my garden. I then will put something up in front of the whole building as opposed to just the windows (as it is an eyesore with flaking paint, wooden windows falling onto my garden as it rots).

I don't have the time, or energy to get into a battle with them - and as long as they can no longer see in then I don't really care. I do however imagine that even if they don't want to do the repairs concurrently to my sorting my own garden out, they will have no choice but to do so in the next year or so (or knowing the reputation of both the owner and the leaser when the windows fall into my garden!). Therefore I am just trying to determine what "barrier" I put up given that it will likely need to come down (although not sure they could have requested I cut my trees down to get access?) and who pays for this, and what rights they have to come into my garden to do the repairs (and I assume leave my garden as they found it?).
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby Collaborate » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:24 am

If they go to court and get an order allowing them on to your property to effect essential repairs it would be subject to them reinstating your property exactly as it was.

Whether they are allowed to do that is another matter. I'll give you an example.

Our neighbour's house was, say 30 years ago, extended to abut the boundary with our house (single storey).

Around 24 years ago our predecessors built a 2 storey extension right up against their wall (a gap of around 10mm). They can't therefore get to their wall to repair it (neither can we get to the bottom part of our wall). If either of us need to repair the hidden walls we'd need to access them from our own sides.

In the back garden most of the wall is a party wall (for the benefit of Mac, the deeds make this very clear). However they are the ones to make maximum use of it - it is basically their extension that continued to follow the line of the older party wall for an old outbuilding which on our side has been demolished - so we use it to define a boundary, where a fence would suffice, but they use it to make a room and support a roof. They put up a god-awful fence that overlaps the party wall on our side (the lazy fencer couldn't be bothered trimming the fence to size) and we've prettified the wonky fence by screwing trellis in to is on our side and growing clematis up it. Only it now blocks their access to their gutter. If they ever need to replace it they'd have to remove the trellis but then reinstate it. At their cost.
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby biblee » Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:02 pm

Thank you again.

I guess then when I write to them I can indicate that I am giving them the option of doing the urgently repaired work now, with arranged access to their windows etc, or that they can delay this, and have to get permission to do so via the court in the future and return my garden to the state it will be in once the work I have had done is completed.

I am hoping that they will take the chance to do the repairs and to try to work with me - but I just want to be aware of my options should they be awkward (which unfortunately is the most likely outcome given their reputation).
biblee
 
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:00 pm

Hi biblee,

either you have an issue with giving access or you don't?!?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby Collaborate » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:13 pm

Hi Mac

I gather from reading his posts that biblee doesn't have a problem with affording access for now, but when affording access means dismantling whatever he's about to erect that will be something entirely different.

Thought that went without saying.
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:58 pm

Hi Collaborate,

my point being that in the event of the neighbour gaining a court order the OP would have no option, unless what he plans will prevent access - in which case why tell the neighbour to go to court...

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby ukmicky » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:12 am

despair wrote:You had conifers growing there blocking the windows so theres zero to stop you planting what you like or erecting a trellis or fence bcos any right to light claims will have been voided by the years of the conifers being there

However they cannot allow their gutters to be in a bad state and discharge water onto your land of course they may well blame damage from your conifers for it


It don't quite work like that in regards to the conifers blocking the light. Its a bit like saying you haven't used your right of way for twenty years so you have no rights to use it now. A right gained remains a right gained
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby Tarquin » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:33 am

Have you actually spoken to them and received a negative response?

You could ask for permission to put some frosted vinyl on the windows which would allow for light to pass into their store room and give the privacy you want.

You could say that this would be best fitted to windows that are in a serviceable condition and see what they say.
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Re: Would appreciate some advice please

Postby biblee » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:46 am

Hi

Thanks for the additional responses - it has been a busy week. I am actually a she :)

I am struggling to actually get hold of the owner (I have established he would be responsible for the upkeep) - he is ex directory, and cannot locate his address. I have drafted a letter and I just need to try to speak to him/send it.

But I feel I am more prepared to know my rights (basically none!) in respect to this.
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