UK Property Law
Get UK Property Law Questions Answered by Experts
Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied
Have you spoken with the landlord of the property to date please? If so what is his response?
Yes, we asked the landlord to visit the neighbours and they were very accommodating to him. The landlord reported to us that they had expressed surprise at our getting in touch with him. The landlord also reported back to us that he had been informed that the neighbours would be co-operative and not block the shared access and that they recognised that the area was shared. They are looking to buy the property from him soon and I think they were telling him what he wanted to hear so as not to jeopordise their tenancy agreement. Their behaviour before and since his visit is not as they described to him. T
Thanks. Has there been no further contact with the landlord since?
No, not as yet. I have been trying avoid anything that might be seen by my neighbour as an 'escalation' of the situation, including calling his landlord repeatedly.
Thanks. Finally do I understand the situation correctly whereby this is the sort of arrangement where in broad terms each of you own effectively half the driveway but each of you have rights over the others half to enable access over the full width of the shared driveway?
That's more or less correct. The shared access is at the end of a turning head in a cul de sac. Each private drive section (his and mine) are arranged at right angles to the shared part. The deed plans show the neighbour's plot boundary extending over about 80% of the shared zone and the remainder lies within my own plot.
Thanks for the clear explanation.
Based on what you say you have rights over his half (for want of a better term) and the likelihood is that he probably has reciprocal rights over your "half" though the latter point is probably less relevant for this purpose. Providing the above is the case the position in law is that he may not impede your rights without your consent unless he does so under any provision for maintenance in the deeds which if they exist are unlikely to give him the right to do so without notice to you and in any event from what you say he is not carrying out any maintenance or upkeep in his actions.
If you can show that he is impedeing your right of way and right of access you can request that he ceases and desists in that course of aciton and that if he fails to do so within 7 days you reserve your right to apply for an injunction in the county court. You would need to present to the court some evidence of his actions. A diary of events for a week or two would be useful together with pictures of his actions to support your statement.
If you are forced to apply for an injucntion you will need for N16A
His actions can also amount to a private nuisance which is a seperate ground for action but is a means to the same end
The courts have considered what amounts to an intereference with a right. They have decided that there can be no substantial interference if, despite the obstruction, the right of way can be "practically and substantially exercised as conveniently" as it was before Hutton v Hamboro (1860) and Colls v Home and Colonial stores Ltd (1904).
From what you say your rights cannot be exercised as conveniently and in deed may not be able to be exercised at all. Providing you can show one or ther other or both you should have a basis for a relatively straightforward action. If successful you can claim the court costs of your application. If the neighbour ignores an injunction he can ultimately be committed to prison for contempt of court.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
That's very helpful, thank you. I will obviously try to resolve things without resorting to an injunction and I may present with a dossier of photographic evidence and diary entries as you have suggested. I would assume that might galvanise him into some form of action which may or may not be effective. Assuming it is not (worst case scenario) and an injunction is successfully granted is it likely to prove enforceable in practical terms? I have discovered from researching this topic that seems to be a very common form of dispute and there also seems to be a wide consensus that local authorities and police forces are not interested in getting involved in these matters.
You are quite right that police and councils will be reluctant or commonly refuse to involve themselves on the basis that is a private civil matter and in this respect they are not incorrect. However an injunction is a court order and failure to observe the terms of an injunction can amount to a contempt of court which is very serious and is punishable ultimatly with imprisonment. If the neighbour ignores the injunction you can return to court with your evidence of his ignoriing the same and the court can order him to be brought before the court to explain himself. A judge can commit the neighbour to prison but typically will allow a further strike and your out policy. However ignoring an injunction is not really an option at least not in the long term as a court will enforce the terms of an injunction using its above powers.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
Thank you for your time and advice. I hope things don't get that far but it's good to know what courses of action are available if things don't go too well. One final question for you; can I first put any pressure on the landlord if sufficient evidence is available. I'm assuming that he ought to bear some responsibility to make his tennants behave properly?
A pleasure. Yes the landlord can be vicariously responsible for his tenants actions and you could seek damages in from either the tenant or landlord on the above basis; if the landlrod is hoping to sell you could exert pressure on him on the basis that it would be "unfortunate" if he were to have to declare a formal dispute to any buyer (should it not be the tenant) as of course would you similarly hope.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.
That's great. Thanks for your advice. I will add feedback now. Goodnight.
Many thanks. And to you. Best wishes