Neighbour built on my property

Neighbour built on my property

Postby emmasaurus rex » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:54 am

I would love some advice on what to do about a situation with my neighbour.

Earlier this year, there was a loud banging in my kitchen. I went out in my back garden to find my neighbour attaching a garden canopy structure to my kitchen wall without any warning or permission. My kitchen wall is about 20cm within my side of the boundary, as marked on the land registry plan and by the current line of fence. However, since my kitchen is an extension, the 20cm although mine, have been used in the past by the neighbour as part of their patio.

I spoke to my neighbour immediately but they did not want to remove the structure and although friendly, indicated that they would be unwilling to pay for anything to formalise the situation. They ignored a letter I sent informing them that they were trespassing. Their attitude is that I should trust them and that they will remove the structure in the future if they or I move. My concern is that if I allow the structure to stay, I will forfeit my right to the land, and if we, or any future occupier wanted to rebuild the kitchen extension up to the boundary, we would not be able to.

I didn't know what to do, so contacted the council. They sent someone to inspect and long story short, the neighbour needed planning permission, which he applied for retrospectively but this was not granted because he does not own the land. However, the council will not provide me with a letter to that effect and have decided that it is not in their interest to pursue further.

So, my neighbour's structure remains and I have to decide what I want to do next. I really don't want to get into a legal battle. I have checked my home insurance and it doesn't cover legal costs. Is there anything more I can do?

Many thanks in advance.
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby Collaborate » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:40 pm

You will have to fund your own case in court, or act for yourself. the action is for trespass, and you would be seeking damages, an injunction to prevent future trespass, and costs.

You might well get a litigation loan to cover your costs, and it seems to me that there is a fair chance that the other party will be made to pay for most of these costs.

the threat of taking it to court may well be enough to dissuade them. Even if they have legal expenses cover they will not fund a case that has less than a 50% chance of success, so they'd more than likely to tell them to settle with you.
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby Morgan Sweet » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:51 pm

Unfortunately I have no legal qualifications whatsoever, all I can offer is my sympathy and I dismay that these infringements are allowed to happen in this country. It seems to me the victims of trespass seem to have all the hassle with little or no support from any of the authorities that we pay our taxes to maintain.

Although you will need to check my opinion, I would think that the fact that you have notified your neighbour about their trespass should help if they or any successor should try and claim adverse possession. However it would be preferable if you can get them to write to you after you telling them that they are trespassing. If you can encourage them to write a reply then this would be proof that they are aware of the trespass. Keep ALL correspondence to the council or anyone else regarding the matter.

You could write another strong but polite letter informing them that since they have not removed the structure you have been left no alternative but to seek legal redress.

From what you say regarding the Land Registry boundary you are in the right and would win any legal dispute, but hopefully someone will advise you on a less stressful way of resolving the situation. I believe some councils have a mediation service but both parties have to agree.
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby despair » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:43 pm

if your neighbour has attached something to your property illegally and without permision you can remove it and return ut taking care not to damage it

but have you bothered to check all
mortgages,house insurance,credit cards ,union memberships for legal expenses cover

most good insurance includes it
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:55 pm

Hi emmasaurus rex,

this 20cm strip - have they had exclusive access to it? or can it be accessed from your property? ie does it form part of your garden?

when was your extension built?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby arborlad » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:28 am

emmasaurus rex wrote:Earlier this year, there was a loud banging in my kitchen. I went out in my back garden to find my neighbour attaching a garden canopy structure to my kitchen wall without any warning or permission. My kitchen wall is about 20cm within my side of the boundary, as marked on the land registry plan and by the current line of fence. However, since my kitchen is an extension, the 20cm although mine, have been used in the past by the neighbour as part of their patio.




There seems to be a 20cm/8" strip of land missing/unaccounted for.

Is the fence original and of known ownership?

The LR plan is not going to be of any help unless you have a determined boundary.

It might be that your extension encroached on the neighbours land and nothing was done about it or your neighbours patio encroached on your land and nothing was done about it.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby emmasaurus rex » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:05 am

Thank you all for your support.

I did try to ask them to reply to me in writing but they refused. I might try again though, as I am very reluctant to go down the legal route.

I don't think it would be possible to remove it, it's a large structure, but I could perhaps at least take the screws out of my wall and see if that makes them more willing to negotiate!

I have checked all insurance options but not the mortgage, so will try that.

In terms of access, i think we could access it from our property, although it would be a bit of a squeeze! The extension was built in the 70s I think, long before both our purchase and theirs. The fence was recently replaced by them but we were there when they put it up and made sure it went back in the original position (I think they would have taken the land at that point if not). We have the same situation on the other side of the house and the other neighbour also uses the strip as part of their patio, I've never worried about it before and I wouldn't now, if they hadn't put up the structure. It sounds like maybe both neighbours' patios have encroached for decades. I don't know if it's relevant but the pipes etc for the extension are in the strip and I wonder if this was why the extension was not originally built on the boundary.
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:47 am

Hi emmasaurus rex,

just to clarify then, is the shared boundary "open plan"?

I'm struggling to appreciate how both parties are able to access the strip.

because you mentioned they've used it as a part of their patio, I assumed that it was on their side of the boundary feature dividing the gardens - no?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour built on my property

Postby arborlad » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:27 am

emmasaurus rex wrote:I did try to ask them to reply to me in writing but they refused. I might try again though, as I am very reluctant to go down the legal route.




There's an almost universal acceptance - certainly on this forum, that once something is put in writing, it is seen as an escalation of the dispute and a step closer to the legal route.

From your description it seems they own the airspace above their patio, but not your wall.

Self help is a remedy in these circumstances, but it must be exercised with the utmost caution, you may be entitled to remove a fixing from your wall, but if it weakens or destabilises the rest of the structure there could be consequences......
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