Matt J : hi I will try and help
Matt J : do you know approximately how long the meter has been in place?
Matt J : also how long have you owned your property?
Customer: I believe the meter has been in place since 1978
Customer: My partner has owned the property since Feb 2001
Matt J : thanks
Matt J : and, to your knowledge have your neighbours always had to access your property to get to the meter?
Customer: Yes, I believe so.
Matt J : thanks
Matt J : I think to pursue the electric company to move the meter is not really the issue here.
Matt J : They may own the meter but the owners of the property have a right to collect electricity from it and this is the problem you have.
Matt J : Your neighbours can have gained a right of way over your property to access the meter in two ways:-
Matt J : 1) express grant - i.s they have a Right enshrined in a deed
Matt J : 2) Prescripotion - this is gained when a person can show they have had the benefit of a right of way for over 20 years
Matt J : It appears in this case that the second point is the relevent one
Matt J : there is no piece of legislation that cover this, it is a right by way of common law.
Customer: They have in practice never entered our property to
Customer: read the meter.
Customer: The meter has always been read (as long as we've lived there) by
Customer: the electricity company.
Customer: Do they have to have actually entered the property
Customer: to have established that right of way?
Matt J : The right of way benefits the house, not the individuals. In order to benefit the house the meter must be read at various intervals, it doesn't matter who it is read by.
Customer: The real problem is the danger that the electricity company
Customer: might now wish to install a pre-payment meter,
Customer: due to a problem with the tenant who currently
Matt J : do you mean the trips may be more frequent?
Customer: Very much so.
Customer: From once every 3 months, at a reasonable time gained
Customer: by knocking on our door and us letting the meter reader in,
Customer: to anytime of the day or night - by any tenant,
Customer: whenever they need to top-up the meter!
Matt J : do they actually have to go through your house?
Customer: No, they could go through a garden gate,
Customer: but the meter is right up against our kitchen door,
Customer: and they could see straight through our
Customer: kitchen and hallway.
Matt J : why would they knock on your door?
Customer: Also, at night, it would be frigtening
Customer: to have someone enter our garden.
Customer: No, but the kitchen door has a clear window,
Customer: and they could see through the kitchen window.
Customer: It would effectively destroy the privacy
Customer: we've enjoyed for 12 years.
Matt J : yes, I could see that this would be very uncomfortable for you
Matt J : There is one area to consider
Matt J : When a right is granted (either express or by prescription) it is for a particular purpose, and granted with all other factors taken into consideration (i.e nature of property, location etc). Therefore is there is a change in the nature of the use, then the person with the "burden" of the right (i.e you) can claim that the right is being expanded unlawfully.
Matt J : A usual example of this is
Matt J : where a person has the right to drive a vehicle over piece of land, onto his own land. he then develops his land and puts a factory on it, requiring lorry's and trucks to use the right of way. This could be said to be an unlawful use of the right of way.
Matt J : In your case therefore the increase is frequency could (and I hasten to add this is only an opinion, ultimately it would be for a court to decide) be an unlawful enlargement of the right that has existed so far. You should therefore write to the owners and perhaps put them on notice of this and that they should only use the right during, say reasonable hours, or with prior notice if access is required in the evening, etc
Matt J : I appreciate that this may not be the ideal solution (and I cant always give the ideal solution) for you but I hope I have helped.
Customer: Thank you,
Customer: Yes this has been most helpful.
Customer: If I wish to come back with further questions about this matter
Customer: may I do so?
Matt J : yes you can. If you click the positive feedback/smiley face I will get paid for my time this evening. The question wont close and you can ask any follow up questions on this subject if you think of them later on.
Customer: Thank you and Good Night.