Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby cintapoppy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:56 pm

Hi, I wonder whether I could have your input on my rather frustrating issue. I moved into my mid-terraced property about 6 weeks ago and requested that a key to the lock to the entrance door leading to the ROW would be made available to me. This was duly done and I moved in without a glitch. The next day I used the ROW over my neighbours property to take the dogs out the back way and come back with them that way too. My neighbour flew out of his house and said in a pretty aggressive voice that we would have to talk about my use of ROW and that it was his private property and that I should knock on his door before I accessed it. I had previously spoken to my solicitor and she said that I had a ROW at all times and can use it. I mentioned this to him but he insists it is his property and I should be respectful and ground rules as and when I can use it would be set by him. According to him my use of ROW was not reasonable. I didn't comment on this as I was not prepared to give my right away. He has now hassled me whenever he is home and I use the ROW for getting garden rubbish out and taking the dogs back through. Last week when I dared to take the dogs out the back way (over the ROW) instead of my front door he stormed out and let go of a tirade as to how he was going to make my life a misery, how he would fit bolts and locks on everything so that I couldn't use the ROW

1. His says that my use of the passage is not reasonable.
2. He doesn't want other people walking through it.
3. I should knock on his door first before I access his property as he could be running around naked in his home. I said it was his choice whether he walked around naked and I don't look into their property as I am walking along the path so I don't have a problem with it.
4. The only time people have been with me is when they have helped me dispose of heavy garden rubbish. I said that they were there my supervision and that that should therefore not be a problem.
5. His wife, so he said, is going ape....t over me using the side access and going through their garden.
6. He had a go at me for taking the dogs out through the gate instead of using my front door. I replied that he didn't take his dog out of his front door and that I can't easily get back in through the back gate because of the way the lock is fitted. He said in a very threatening voice that he would make my life very difficult by putting locks and bolts on all doors so I can't use the access at all.
7. I told him that he would be in breach of contract and that I would be contacting my solicitor.
8. He then said that he would build a walkway around the back of his garden and that I would have to use that and get out of the garage. I said that this is not correct as the deeds say here is dedicated path that allows access to the side gate to his neighbours. He said it should only be used for putting the rubbish out occasionally.
9. I pointed out that the access path is supposed to be kept clear of obstacles so that people can passed. I have to move his garden furniture which obstructs the gate and a bench which is placed half-way across the narrow path.
Whilst I had managed to stand my ground on this occasion I was totally shaken up by the time this confrontation had finished.

The following day his wife shot out in her bathrobe, hair wet with a beetroot red face contorted with anger ready to scream at me. She then realised that a friend was with me so she turned on her heels and ran back into her house. Lucky me on that occasion.

His aggressive voice and demeanour have on a couple of occasions left me with palpitations and since I am still off sick his attitude is making me feel very frightened of yet more confrontations.

What is reasonable use? He insists it is his property I am walking over and whilst I respect this, and have told him so, I don't want to be intimidated into backing off using it as otherwise I can't clear the garden of debris or keep my house clean when the dogs came back from a wet walk. They have basically barricaded themselves in with a 2m high fence and a bolt on his side of the garden gate. I have now attached a small hook on my side of the gate and leave it unbolted on his side so that I can get out.

My Deeds state:
1. A right for the Purchaser and his successors in title and their tenants and all persons authorised by him or them in common with all other persons entitled to a like right to pass and repass at all times and for all reasonable and proper purposes over and along the back and side passage coloured brown on the said plan subject to the payment of a fair proportion of the expense of keeping the said passage in repair

From this I gather that I am not doing anything wrong and that he has a bee in his bonnet. But how do I respond to any of this? So far I have stood my ground. I have spoken to a solicitor who said they could draft a letter reiterating exactly what is in my Deeds which would cost me £120. Well, I can do that myself and since HE has quoted the contents of the Deeds with regards to 'reasonable use' but interpreted that he can dictate what is reasonable, there is no point of my solicitor or me writing him a letter to this effect. As far as I am concerned this amounts to bullying and harassment. I have ordered a small spy camera so that when I go across the ROW I can wear it, switch it on and record what happens. Hi and his wife's aggression have really escalated over the last week and it would be his/her word against mine if it came to a court case of harassment or potentially worse.

Do you have any suggestions how to deal with this or whether I should curtail my use or whether indeed I am wrong in thinking that the way I use the ROW is reasonable. Any input from you would be much appreciated. In anticipation, thank you very much!
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby despair » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:16 pm

You are 100%correct
you and your friends,workmen etc etc can freely use the ROW at all times and for all reasonable purposes

he is the serviant land

but you are the dominant one

You can remove every single lock and return them to him
you are not even required to shut the gate
nothing whatever should be on the entire width and length of the ROW

I trust you have legal expenses cover on your house insurance or mortgage or credit cards or union membership
Because any court will uphold your rights
what did the sellers property information say because it sounds like the seller has hidden a dispute with this pair of bullies who are refusing to honour the very clear legal right you or any other house along the terrace have same ROW

the ROW can only be altered with yours and other occupiers full agreement and he would have to pay all the costs including the costs of altering all the deeds to reflect the change

if thats so the seller is liable
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby arsie » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:31 pm

I would make three points.

First and foremost, you have a 100% correct understanding of the law and have quoted from your deeds to support your words. I agree you are perfectly capable of writing your own letter and I would do so having bounced the wording off your solicitor to save £100. His advice and adding any words/phrases by email should only cost a few minutes (they charge by the hour in 1/10ths).

Secondly, your solicitor must check if there was an existing dispute. Red-faced rage, locks etc wasn't just you surely?!

Thirdly, even if you can claim damages for misrepresentation of the truth on the SPIF this doesn't help your fight.

I guess you will not be supported by insurance against legal cost etc because of insurance companies' typical exclusions :(

I would use this excellent post and your future self-cam to make a written log of events with time and dates.
Last edited by arsie on Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby ukmicky » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:32 pm

You have a right of way that allows you access to and from your land at anytime of the day or night for basically any reason you wish.

You can come and go 50 times an hour 24 hrs a day and it would still be reasonable.

Anyone with cause to enter your land with your permission can use it and all the above requires no permission from your neighbour and no notice is required.

The route of the ROW cannot also be changed without your permission.

You hold all the cards and should he prevent you from using the ROW you can sue him for substantial interference and gain damages and costs . If he were to attempt to change the route you can remove any obstruction or if you don't wish to you can gain an injunction which will order any obstruction to be removed.

On this occasion i would say get that letter from the solicitor as he will take more notice of it than he will if you write your own.

You also do not have to lock the gate or pay for any keys .


Reasonable use does not really mean much , unless you were doing something dangerous as you came through his land or decided to march a 30 piece brass band along the ROW at 2am. Even if you were to he woul still have no rights to prevent your access
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby arsie » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:37 pm

Agreed ukmicky but I like the thought of a marching band :mrgreen:
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby cintapoppy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:47 pm

despair wrote:You are 100%correct
you and your friends,workmen etc etc can freely use the ROW at all times and for all reasonable purposes

he is the serviant land

but you are the dominant one

You can remove every single lock and return them to him
you are not even required to shut the gate
nothing whatever should be on the entire width and length of the ROW

I trust you have legal expenses cover on your house insurance or mortgage or credit cards or union membership
Because any court will uphold your rights
what did the sellers property information say because it sounds like the seller has hidden a dispute with this pair of bullies who are refusing to honour the very clear legal right you or any other house along the terrace have same ROW

the ROW can only be altered with yours and other occupiers full agreement and he would have to pay all the costs including the costs of altering all the deeds to reflect the change

if thats so the seller is liable


Hi all, thank you so much for your fast replies. I have been checking this forum for the last week to save my sanity and am I so grateful for all the work that you and many others do for us, the ones without a clue. WIth regards to your question about the previous owner, I don't think he bothered to use the ROW. He was hardly here, working away a lot, garden in a shambles, house undecorated. So I think that my neighbours are having a shock of having someone live here daily and using the ROW. Hence the bully tactics of trying to get me to give ground on the ROW. I just needed to be sure that my use is deemed reasonable by others who deal with these things, like you and 'conveyance' so that I didn't actually antagonise him by being wrong. Good to know I can remove the locks and give them back to him. I have legal cover which covers legal fees and court fees up to £50,000 but I don't know whether it would cover a case like this. I don't even want to contemplate going down that route. At the moment I can use my ROW but it is the constant harassment that gets to me and I would like to find a way to stop them harassing me. I understand that would be a civil case unless he becomes physically violent or aggressive in which case I can call the police. Don't really know what to do on that score.
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby cintapoppy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:51 pm

Hi despair, arsie and ukmicky, I wonder whether you would be kind enough to also have a look at my query on the fence forum. Hmm, you may have guessed but the same neighbour is involved. Party walls and fences is the title. Many thanks!
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby robj191269 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:49 am

The devil in me says to do as the neighbour suggests ie you knock his door before you use the right of way.

I'd start at 1am then 2am then 3am ........give it a couple of days (i'd probably do it for a couple of weeks!)

Bet they soon change their tune :twisted:
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby despair » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:56 am

Ditto

but be careful or you might get accused of harassment
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby COGGY » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:27 am

Please be aware that others with problems and legal insurance cover have been refused cover because the insurance had not been in operation long enough before a claim was made. Read the small print. Insurance Companies will use any excuse to wriggle out so read the small print several times before any claim.

Best wishes. Do not give in to the (bully :twisted: )
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby stufe35 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:19 pm

When I have a bit more time ill post some info on my situation, which is not dissimilar to yours and has been on going for some 6 years.

One immediate word of caution, don't go removing locks, this could be criminal damage (depending on the type)

The right to lock a right of way is a contentious one and evaluated on a case by case basis, depending on the particular situation and or layout. Hence it is not right to universally assume you can remove them.

But do stand your ground, you are completely in the right in insisting on use of the way without interference or harrassment
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby cintapoppy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:25 pm

Hi again, thank you for your further contributions.

I liked the idea of the marching brass band but for the sake of peace I might refrain from hiring one.

Also thought the idea of knocking at his door was funny especially at 2am. However, common sense dictates that even if I knocked at the times that I need or want to use the ROW the whole thing would become farcical and it would be an admission on my part that I need to beg for his agreement. My solicitor said I don't have to ask but can just use it and I'll stick with that.

Re removal of locks, I am grateful for the word of warning regarding the removal of additional locks/bolts to keep me out from stufe35 as I did wonder whether that would be an offense of some sort. I know that my neighbours are gunning for me and are just waiting for me to put a foot wrong. So far, over the last 3 days or so they have ignored me. I assume they have taken legal advice and are busy making notes about how often and for what purpose I use the ROW and whether I leave a footprint on their property. You may call me paranoid, I call it gut instinct because of the steely attitude he displayed when I happened to pass him in the street today.

It would be good to hear more from stufe35 to see how he dealt with his neighbours. In the meantime I shall carry on recording and filming my passage across their property so they can't blame me again for for anything that goes wrong on their property. What a b....y waste of time and energy this this.
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby appledore » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:55 pm

robj191269 wrote:The devil in me says to do as the neighbour suggests ie you knock his door before you use the right of way.

I'd start at 1am then 2am then 3am ........give it a couple of days (i'd probably do it for a couple of weeks!)

Bet they soon change their tune :twisted:


With the brass band playing in the background. :D
Keep calm and carry on.
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby stufe35 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:04 pm

The first thing I would say is try not to fuel the fire, a full blown neighbour dispute will sap all your energy, pray on your mind all the time, effect your relationship, effect your work and effect your social life.

At the end of the day you have to live next to these people, and walk through there property from time to time, and this extremely unpleasant if you don't get on.

I am actually encouraged by the fact they have been ignoring you, this could be a sign they have found out there legal position and realise there is nothing they can do.

It would seem possible from the info posted, that they have lived in that house for years, knowing there's a row, but no one having really used it and there fore they've never understood the true extent to which it could be used and there obligations. Ie to keep it clear etc.

You move in and suddenly start using it in a different way to what they have ever known, they are shocked, and believe the land is theirs and they should be able to control it......how wrong they are. There initial reaction is perhaps understandable, perhaps they have now had chance to take advice on their situation and are having to take a backward step. Give them some time.

Now lets assume the above is all wrong and you just have a neighbour from hell next door intent on intimidating you into not using the row. You should start a diary right now detailing all interaction and conversations and actions. Go back as far as you can remember. If this turns into harassment , you will need hard evidence to get the. Police to act. We had loads of incidents where the police were called, but ultimately they just said it was our word against his....until the day we happened to catch him threatening us on camera.

a great idea is covert CCTV if practical, or the portable camera you describe..... Not always practical, I have taken to using the voice record function on my mobile phone, I pop it in my top pocket and its amazing what you pick up. This is real evidence you can present to the police if the day ever arrives.

If you think he is a real nutter, go on the nfh website and read the section 'beyond mediation'. It's heavy going but worth reading ...in order. This is the neighbour I'm dealing with, though it was only about a year ago I discovered this article and relised it. I have been in a much better place since understanding this.

From what's been posted I'm not sure you have a true nfh, just someone having to adjust.....remember the use of row needs everyone to be reasonable. Ask your self are they reasonable people, are they going to adjust ?

Your use is entirely reasonable.

I could write a book, but hopefully this will give you some food for thought.

Keep us up to date with info.
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Re: Neighbour objecting over my ROW

Postby cintapoppy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:33 pm

Hi stufe35, many thanks for referring me back to the nfh website. Had been on it a few nights ago but missed that particular section, so I just had a read of it. It makes sense, all the ranting and raving, bullying and threatening me. It seems like I have done the right things: stood my ground, replied calmly, written 2 letters to him to get if of my chest but not sent them but that way I have a record of it, and keep doing what I am doing, eg using my ROW responsibly. Lucky I didn't send those letter and lucky I lodged it with the Policy who will check in with me in abt 10 days time again.

Hopefully they will reconsider their approach to me in time and become more reasonable neighbours but I am not holding my breath on this.
Thanks for your help :D
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