Use of party wall act - can the police become involved?

Use of party wall act - can the police become involved?

Postby Bounder » Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:21 am

Can the issuing of orders under the Party Wall Act (1996) provide more ammunition against a person who is intent on preventing a repair from being carried out.

Under normal circumstances I would think the erection of a replacement fence and rebuilding of a supporting wall would be acceptable (a disputed piece of what remains of what they knocked down previously and is in a state of collapse without being rebuilt anyway).

But thanks to this person (a private tenant) using an itimidating and verbally abusive stance, we are prevented from carrying out the repairs.

If elements of the Party Wall Act were used to see the repairs to their logical conclusion, is that person subject to the act as well? Can their behaviour be seen as an offence under the act, and appropriate police powers be enforced if they still insist on using intimidation and threats to prevent repairs or commit damage after the work is completed?
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Postby Cytania » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:07 pm

I'm not a lawyer but I'd hazard a guess that since the Party Wall Act is civil law you cannot invoke the police, who maintain criminal law, without a court order being breached.

Furthermore I would like to throw doubt on applying the Party Wall Act to garden walls. Please provide more details of your wall's situation. Is it supporting or retaining part of your house?

Is it simply that you wish to paint a wall? Or are you trying to carry out urgent repairs? If the former then I would wait for a new tenant. If the latter then get your buildings insurer involved straight away.

PS. The law never makes good ammunition - have you ever tried getting a donkey into a canon? :-)
They cut down all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum and charged all the people just to see 'em
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Postby Bounder » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:13 pm

I should point out that it is a dividing fence we are looking to repair, which should extend to the front wall that separates the front from public access(ie the pavement and road).

If the fence followed the original line it would finish at the part of the wall in dispute, if rebuilt at that point only. The people we have asked to repair, or more precisely replace, the fence have included the rebuilding of the wall at that end in their estimate. But the tenant has been verbally abusive to anyone who suggests that this loose brickwork is touched in any way. They say they will do it in their own, but the tone of that promise is largely dismissive.

How the wall got to its current state goes back to not long after the tenant in moved, when they demolished the wall on their side to form a 'driveway' (I use the term loosely). Wether or not they obtained their landlord's permission to do this is unknown. The part of that wall they couldn't demolish was nearer the distinct junction of this wall and our wall, which display different style of brickwork. Our wall is also topped off with a series of slabs, the last one of which extended on to part of the neighbouring wall (We are assuming there was no problem with this when the wall was originally built).

However, as a result of the demolition of next door's wall the remaining brickwork had become increasingly unstable, which prompted us to remove the slab resting on it. It is a descision we don't regret as the brick work was loose and would only be matter of time before it collapsed and with a heavy slab on top, it may fallen on the pavement area as somebody was passing (I wonder who's wall it will have been if that had happened). I have removed a few more bricks discreetly as the remaining stump of bricks looks more precarious. From the rear (non pavement side) the only things that holding it up are perhaps what remain of dead hedging from our side and a higher mound of earth.

All we want to do is rebuild at this point so that it meets with original line of fencing when complete, re-enforcing the boundary between our property and next door - all at our own cost, and at no cost to the tenant or the errant landlord. Surely this not unfair, against the pedantic stance this tenant is taking.
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Postby despair » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:35 pm

The tenant has no right to interfere with either freeholders property

If he is abusive and that is preventing you from maintaining / repairing your wall or fence then you need to get in touch with the police

Your neighbour is causing harassment at the very least

I would have thought your best bet was to inform in writing the landlord that you will be replacing said fence and that you have requested police attendance in view of the tenants abusive behaviour

If the police know the date and time your contractors will be there to do the work maybe they will ensure someone is available to attend any fracas
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Postby Bounder » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:58 pm

The landlord seems apathetic, at best. Calls to known numbers are either met with silence or if someone answers it is his mother claiming she is stressed out with all the calls she gets about the tenants of her son's properties.

The local council and police have sent out notices to him at his known address, but we know of no other results from this. There are other issues involved with these tenants, not least that they are known for 'criminal activities' and that they believe they are untouchable, but we are talking Garden Law here and other such issues I shall use other forums like 'Neighbours From Hell in Britain' to vent my spleen.
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Postby despair » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:00 pm

Sounds to me like you need to badger the police into heavier action

They could issue ASBOs

They could pursue Harassment case

theres plenty they could do if they are pushed

Start suggesting that the villians are paying a bent copper
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Postby Bounder » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:51 pm

Watch out, despair. you'll end up giving me ideas.

As I post, one of the workers who was due to tidy up the wall, has promised to do so up to - but not including - the disputed part, having encountered this tenant before. We have accepted this.

But I suspect, for all that and no matter how careful he is, that this disputed brickwork will fall anyway, so one of our household we have to be on standby for harassment, at best. :roll:
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Postby despair » Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:15 pm

Get hold of a video camera and be sure all events are recorded

Especially usefull evidence for threats and harassment case

Theres plenty of bent coppers sadly these days and way way too many villains
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Postby Bounder » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:29 pm

Will photographs do as well, despair, as I plenty of those.

This 'wall', since I removed the slab, has been dying a slow and painful death. This was quickened by a couple of bricks dislodged by a departing Buildings Control Inspector from the local council as he was leaving after a requested visit. :o . I should point out that this was after we asked the police for advice, who then pointed us in the direction of the appropriate department.

During his visit I was able to show him the photographic evidence that I have compiled to show him the progress from that initial action, through to his input today. He took a few details, including that of the tenant and the landlord.

He also condoned the action we had taken to date. :)

But the main thing is that the tenants have no leg to stand on, because we intend to make the structure safe out of our own pockets, and the inspector has said it needs doing.

He also intends to issue official letters to both parties pointing out 'duty of care' which, I suppose falls short of issuing a formal order, but the best result under the circumstances. :)

:?: My question now is if that situation is presented to the police, do they have a duty to us maintain some prescence in the area as a deterent, if called upon :?:
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Postby Maverick.uk » Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:30 pm

Bounder wrote:
:?: My question now is if that situation is presented to the police, do they have a duty to us maintain some prescence in the area as a deterent, if called upon :?:


The police are required to prevent a breach of the peace and should attend if requested.

Having said that where i live it takes them ages to attend for a robbery let alone a breach of the peace, best of luck.

Regards

Mav
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Postby Bounder » Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:06 am

A phone call from the visiting inspector followed placing my last post.

He informed that an official letter would only be sent to the landlord. He indicated that we were doing enough not to attract the same sort of letter.

He also said that we needed to meet the landlord half way. No problem on our part there, but although this landlord answered his phone straight away when called by the inspector, we've so far not had the same joy. We have left a message on his answering machine, with no return yet.

I also left him a text message indicating that we would carry on with any work unless we heard any objection from him - this I doubt given what the inspector has told him.

As for the tenant, if he should be dumb enough to act to type, the sort of action he's left with is only that which should attract uniforms and flashing blue lights.
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Postby Bounder » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:02 pm

To use a stereotypical phrase, you could knocked us down with a feather.

This morning (Saturday 26th), the tenant tidied up the loose brickwork and fair play its a good job. But he didn't start it until his partner came out and had a word with him about something. They must have got notice from their landlord that a formal letter has been received to get it sorted.

The next stage is the rebuild at that point now and then the fence itself. I still don't trust this fella not to cause some nausea, but maybe he has taken onboard the reason the work needs to be done.
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