Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby HackedOff2 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:21 pm

Not sure this is the right topic but wasn't sure where to put it.

Sorry this is long but I wanted to include the detail/history.
When I moved into this house (mid terrace) some 15 years ago there was a gate between me and my neighbour1 (with ROW for them across my garden to my other neighbour2 - we both have ROW over that garden). There were also a couple of fence panels and posts along my patio, but the rest of the garden along that boundary was unfenced.

The existing 3 fence posts were on my side of the boundary, and the gate is attached to my extension.
I paid to have the rest of the garden fenced from the existing panels to the end of the garden along the boundary with neighbour1.
The original panels have been replaced during this time as well, so everything is definitely owned by me.
Fence has been in place for 15 years now.

4 years ago a new neighbour1 moves in. Without going in to detail there is no love lost between us.

3 years ago the gate post was damaged during a delivery through the gardens/ROW, and I was told it was rotten and therefore my fault it had broken.
The wooden post attached to the concrete post fell off when he allowed the gate to bang.
It was only stuck on, not screwed, and the post was a bit worn at the top but the rest of the wood was sound.
She said she would get it fixed but left the gate swinging for a couple of weeks.
On a particularly windy day I went out to find the brick work was being damaged by the constant swinging and banging.
So I removed the gate to avoid further damage to the brick work of my house.

She demanded for it be replaced, but I didn't have the money to get it fixed properly right away.
I told her it was my gate and there was no legal obligation for me to have a gate there at all and if she didn't want to wait she could put her own gate up on her side.
In the mean time a friend of a friend said he would come and fix it for me.
But after waiting and waiting for him to have time, I gave up and called out a professional for a quote.

In the meantime neighbour1's son came and laid a patio for her.
However he placed the paving slabs over the boundary and allowed concrete to slop all over the fence panels.
It means I cannot remove the fence panels as they are concreted in place and the paving slabs overlap the posts (ie they are over the boundary).
I showed her that it was now impossible for me to replace the gate as the slabs were over the boundary.
My quote was also to have concrete boards things placed below the wooden fence (currently it is just fence panels).
It would have been difficult to slot these in place with the concrete mess everywhere.


When I tried to speak to her about it things got heated as usual.
I asked that the patio be cut back, the concrete overspill be removed, and while she was at it she could remove the gas pipe she had attached to my fence posts!
I also pointed out that she wasn't actually allowed to paint or attach things to my fence without my permission.
Much yelling and complaining later she said she would get the concrete and slabs sorted but she wasn't removing her gas pipe...

Her son did cut back the slabs at the gate entrance a couple of weeks later (because they wanted the gate back), but left the concrete overspill mess.

I was in no rush to get it sorted as I didn't have the money to pay for it all.
So while waiting for her to sort the mess I got busy working some overtime to save up for all the work, which included a new gate and replacing the fence.
Having finally saved up enough I still couldn't instruct the guy to come do the work as the concrete mess had not been removed.
So I carried on waiting.

3 years later and my neighbour told me 2 days ago (in passing) that her son was coming over this weekend and would put a gate up.
I asked where he was going to put it and she said where the old one was.
I said I wanted my own gate there, and had a quote for the work but had been waiting for her to get the concrete mess sorted out before I could go ahead.
I clearly told her that I did not give her permission to attach her gate to my side of the boundary and that she should put it on her side if she wanted it.
I also said if her son had time to put a gate up maybe he could sort out the concrete instead so I could finally get the fence and gate fixed myself!

I was planning to go to work on Saturday, but stayed home to make sure they didn't put the gate on my side.
I have come home today to find they have screwed a wooden post into my house wall, and attached another to my fence post and then attached a gate to both.
I should have known as she has previous form for doing whatever she likes.

I knocked on the door and said that I had told her not to put the gate on my property and that I wanted it removed.
Got shouted at and told she was fed up of looking at my ugly face and all my mess.
Her daughter in law starts yelling and telling her MIL to go inside.
And her son is also yelling about 'doing me a favour' by getting it fixed.
I repeated that I had told her not to attach it to my property and to put it on her own side, and was told not to tell them anything and that their solicitor would be writing to me.
There is no reasoning with them so I gave up and went inside.

So now I need to write and give her notice to remove the gate.
How should I word it and what do I need to include?
If she doesn't do it do I just remove it and hand it back to them?
Or do I not bother writing and just remove it right away?
It appears to be locked from their side so not sure how I am going to be able to remove it without damaging it.

I know she won't remove it herself and I probably wouldn't be able to do it myself either.
Should I get it removed as soon as the time limit is up or wait until the guy comes and get him to do it then.
That could be a few weeks but I feel if I make a stand and give her 14 days that I should see it through and remove it asap after that time.

Any thoughts, advice or help much appreciated.
HackedOff2
 
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby span » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:58 pm

meh.

Just remove and return her gate yourself if you're that bothered about it.
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:38 am

Hi Hacked,

so, three years ago the gate was taken down and you planned on putting up a replacement.

for whatever reason, though, this never happened - fair enough.

but suppose it had - you'd have attached a gatepost to your wall, attached a gatepost to your fence, then hung a gate.

or did you have another plan?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby HackedOff2 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:49 am

I have put off doing anything namely because of her attitude, but also because I am off work currently on long term sick and am receiving ongoing medical treatment.
The money saved for the fence may yet be needed for paying bills.
If (yes that is an if)/when I get better, and if I still have money for it then maybe it will get done then.
But right now it is not a priority for me.
I have other far more urgent repairs needed which should be done first anyhow.

I also do not have a problem with there being a space at the ROW point.
I know another lady who has chosen to not have a gate, just a gap in the fence, over her garden's ROW.

Ny neighbour has previous form of ignoring law of unlawful trespass and third party wall regulations.
This has been an ongoing issue where she seems to think she can do whatever she likes and I just have to put up with it.
I want her to realise that she needs to discuss and talk to me and get my agreement, not just do as she likes.
I expressly told her not to put the gate up on my property, but that she was welcome to put it on her side if she wanted too.
She has ignored this and (as usual) waited til I went out and did what she pleased regardless.

She is a bully and does as she pleases with no regard for me or my property.
If I just roll over and accept this then she will carry on doing exactly as she pleases and things will just get worse and worse.
So it is really time to make a stand and for her to see she cannot keep behaving this way and needs to follow the regulation and the law.

Incidentally I had a knock on the door from the police yesterday, as she had called them.
They advised it was a civil matter but didn't want things to escalate.
I explained that the placement of the gate was unlawful trespass and she has done similar several times before.
They asked who was obliged to repair and maintain the fence, and I said that legally there was no requirement for me to do so.
I said I was no longer prepared to talk to her and was waiting to hear from her solicitor as she had advised.

They suggested I get some legal advise or contact CAB.
I explained I was already aware of the legal position here, for this particular incident unlawful trespass.
I regard this as a waste of police time and a further indication that she is trying to bully me into putting up with whatever she decides she wants to do.
The policeman said he didn't know the law regarding the situation.
He went back to speak to her to tell her what I had said.
They didn't come back again.

This morning I have actually managed to get one of my fence panels out to have a look at what she's done.
The panel broke at the bottom in the process as there is still concrete at the base, although they have removed some of it.
The gate bolt isn't secured, and is being held shut by a brick.
The brick is now well over her side and is out of my reach so I cannot get the gate to stay shut.

Also the securing screws have been damanged so an alan key is simply going round when I try.
Her gas pipe is still attached to my fence posts.
The patio is still overhanging my fence posts meaning that concrete boards will be hard to put in and I will have to pay more to have her patio cut back from the boundary.

I asked for help on the actual situation here.
Namely do I have to give her written notice to remove the gate or can I just remove it?
Also can I arrange to have the patio overhang cut back simply on the grounds it is over the boundary or do I need to give written notice and give her a chance to fix it herself properly.
I fully expect she won't do anything to fix the situation.

My understanding is that there does not need to be proof of any damage in a case of unlawful trespass.
Can someone confirm that is the case please.
Thank you.
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:45 pm

Hi Hacked,

the law allows for self remedy which means you can remove the gate.
this doesn't mean you can cause criminal damage in the process though and you should also return the materials to their owner.
regardless of any animosity you really ought to give her a reasonable amount of time to do it herself - 5 days to remove a gate near your back door would be ample time (best put this in writing).

the "overhanging" patio is a different matter.
I take it you mean she has infilled the 1 inch gaps between the fenceposts?

I'm still confused about the gate though, because once her gate is off you're going to install one so why not leave it be? (it seems like you're maybe being hypersensitive - would you have reacted this way if your best mate lived next door and hD hung the gate "to help you out").

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby HackedOff2 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:04 pm

Thanks for the reply.

The patio slabs have been placed inside the fence posts and carefully cut round the post to slot them in place.
There was no wooden board put down to mark the endge of hold the concrete in either.
So the concrete was allowed to slop all over my fence and posts.
Her pario is about 2 inches higher than mine and the concrete mess and over hang will make it difficult to slide the concrete boards in.

On the other neighbour's side they didn't carefully cut round like this (presumably because it's her own fence there and she wanted to be able to get it in and out.
I did ask why her son had done that, she didn't know.
From the extra effort and time involved to do so I would suggest it was purely to be difficult and annoy me!

My old neighbour was actually a good friend.
She generally had the manners to ask before hand and discussed planned work with me.
Her dad was also a professional builder who did a good job, rather than the doge job the current neighbour's son makes.
I'm sure if I had said to her I didn't want the gate on my side she'd have put it up on her own side had she wanted a gate.
She would not have deliberately gone out of her way to be awkward like the current neighbour is.

As I told the police last night, if she wants a civil and accomodating neighbour then she needs to actually be civil and considerate in the first place.
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby COGGY » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:49 pm

Hi

I am a little confused regarding the gate. If it has been put on your side, how is she able to put a brick on her side to keep it closed?

If you are home on long term sick leave then would it not be advisable to accept the gate she has put up as you are unable to pay for one at present. If the neighbour is so objectionable then surely it is much better to have a gate rather than a gap, so that you are closed off from her. I can appreciate that you are not well so that things maybe bother you more than normal but for the sake of your health surely it would be better to simply say "Well she has paid for the gate, so I can spend my money on something else". Your health is more important than a garden gate. I hope you are feeling much better soon.

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby COGGY » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:51 pm

Hi

I forgot to mention the gas pipe. If this is attached to your garden fence it does not sound as though it has been installed by a properly qualified gas installer. You could contact British Gas and ask their advice regarding this. If it does not meet the required standards then they would order it to be moved.

Regards
Coggy
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:07 pm

Hi Hacked,

I did ask why her son had done that, she didn't know.
From the extra effort and time involved to do so I would suggest it was purely to be difficult and annoy me!


I would suggest it was purely because he is incompetent - you seem to agree as much yourself:

Her dad was also a professional builder who did a good job, rather than the doge job the current neighbour's son makes.

for your own sake I think you ought to stop attaching significance to every little act because it is much more likely that the jobs were bodged by someone who is less competent than they might admit rather than out of malice.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby HackedOff2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:51 pm

The gas pip is attached to the concrete fence posts, not the fence panels.
It's not mains gas so I was not sure that british gas was the place to go.
I will call them and find out, thanks
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby ukmicky » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:35 am

Why don't you leave the gate if you are going to put your own one up anyway, is the question.


The answer is because if you allow it she could have a case to claim an equitable easement. A equitable easement is not an easement that follows the rules of common law and no time period must elapse before one can be claimed . In theory it can only take a minute. Whilst that may not mean much now it could in the future should you or any future owners wish to perform any work which involves removing the gate either temporarily or permanently.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby HackedOff2 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:27 pm

Update - Have had the gate removed and written to neighbour advising not to replace it on my property.
I also asked that the gas pipes be removed from my fenceposts and that her patio be cut back to the boundary line.

Have received a letter in reply stating that without a gate she is unable to protect her property.
It asks when I intend to replace the gate and that if I do not then her understanding is that she is legally able to protect her property by completing her boundary and erecting a gate.
I already told her in my letter to put the gate on her own property if she wants it.
Please can someone confirm that 'completing her boundary' means she will/should put the gate on her own side.

It goes on to say that leaving the land without a gate can affect her insurance and she is told that if she were broken into because I had failed to put up a gate, or had taken down the gate she had erected, then her insurers would end up suing me for any loses.
Any thoughts on this please?

Regarding the gas pipe she states that she is free to do what she likes on her land, within planning paramenters.
It goes on to say that if the fence borders her land, which it does, that she is able to attach supporting brackets to her side if she wishes.
It also says this issue doesn't affect me.
My understanding was that nothing could be attached to my fence without my permission.
Is anyone able to advise re this point please?
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:59 pm

Hi HackedOff2,

It goes on to say that if the fence borders her land, which it does, that she is able to attach supporting brackets to her side if she wishes.

100% bullsh|t

and the 'complete my boundary' is fine so long as it's completed on her land.

did you return the gate to her?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby Collaborate » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:04 pm

You just need to remind her that you're not responsible for protecting her property. I presume that when she refers to her boundary she actually means the fence that belongs to you, and that sits on your side of the boundary.

The boundary itself is a concept rather than an actual thing. It's where your land meets hers. In that sense, she can't "complete" it. She can erect a gate or indeed a fence on her side of the boundary, but it must not cross the boundary. That is the problem with her gas pipes. They have been fixed to your property and as such they are trespassing.

Have you spoken to National Grid about this? Coggy mentioned it on 24th March. It sounds unsafe to me.

She is wrong when she says she can attach anything she wants to your wall or your fence. Sounds like this could be a circular argument if you've already told her that.

Might be a good idea to see a solicitor (you may have legal cover on your home insurance) so they can write to her to tell her what their view is of the law.
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Re: Neighbour has placed gate on my property

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:13 pm

Hi Collaborate,

think I'm right in saying the gas pipe is a feed from a Calor gas tank.

Hi HackedOff2,

just to expand a little on the legal principle that she can't attach anything to your property without your consent, you need to appreciate that whilst this is true regardless - i.e. "stealing a penny is still theft" - the reality is that if her trespass is trivial/inconsequential then it'd seem petty not to allow it.
however, there would/could be unwanted consequences for your property if you allow the types of trespass she is committing - as 'ukmicky' has already pointed out

Kind regards, Mac
Last edited by MacadamB53 on Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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