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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 20874
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My neighbour has a downstairs toilet/washroom with a window

Resolved Question:

My neighbour has a downstairs toilet/washroom with a window which opens onto my patio area at the front of my house, near my front door.

The window is a large vertical rectangle which opens out from the bottom and is of opaque glass.

There is a covenant in our deeds which refers to this window as a "kitchen" window which should be of opaque glass to prevent my neighbour from looking into my property.

We are currently in dispute over this window as my neighbour continuously opens the window as far as he can.

His toilet is also directly underneath the window and he uses the toilet with the window open, on dark evenings I can also see him quite clearly when he is using the toilet and has the light on.

Despite my requests to my neighbour asking him to put up a blind and to close the window whilst using the toilet, my neighbour continues to open the window whilst using the toilet.

I have now placed a trellis outside his window to protect our privacy.

The advice I need is does this covenant still stand now that the use is no longer a kitchen but is now a toilet/wash room ?

My neighbour is threatening legal action if I do not remove the trellis - he can still open is window the width of his window sill which is approx 2 inches.

Thanks,
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

We can only answer on mainland UK law. is that OK?

What is the exact wording in the deeds. I need the whole reference please.

Is it still opaque glass?

Does the window open over your land?

Thanks

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

An answer on mainland UK law will be sufficient, thanks.


 


The covenant sates "that the purchaser his heirs and assigns shall have the right to place a window of opaque glass but not otherwise in the south-west wall of the kitchen of the dwelling house called (my neighbours house) hereby conveyed and that so long as the said window shall be obscured so as effectively to prevent a view of (my house) therefrom the Vendor his heirs and assigns will not interfere with or obstruct the said light in such a manner as will prevent it coming to such window at an angle of at least forty-five degrees from the perpendicular"


 


The window is still opaque glass and opens out from the bottom and sticks out about 10 to 12 inches from the wall when open.


 


Thanks,

Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.

So far it is looking good. How long has this widow been in place and opening. This is really important.

 

is that 12" over your land? When did you 1st raise objection? I am offline now till late but will pick this up then

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately I do not know how long the window has been in place, I have been in my house for 4 years and it was there when I moved in, although we never noticed it opening at all for the first 6 months or so.


 


In the covenet it refers to it as a kitchen window, not a toilet window, which I guess has perhaps mislead my advocate when I purchased the house ?


 


My neighbour however moved in approx 12 to 18 months before we did and he was doing renovations to the property including re-rendering the said gable wall, he could well have installed new windows at this point however I cannot confirm this.


 


I would say the window opens at it's widest to approx 10 inches over my land.


 


I first raised the issue about 18 months ago with him verbally, we then placed a trellis in front of the window 9 months ago, my neighbour then called the police and although the police advised that we could put what we want on our property where we want, we were advised to move it to keep things amicable and again asked my neighbour to put up a blind etc etc.


 


We have placed the trellis back in front of the window as he is continuing to open the window to the full extent and also deliberately opens the window whilst he uses the toilet and close it afterwards !


 


Thanks for your help


 


 

Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.




Thank
you. That is most useful.

The
covenant quite clearly states that he's got the right to place a window of opaque
glass, however what it does not do is give him the easement to open it over
your land.



It
does stop you covering it up.



However
if he has opened the window for 20 years or more, (that includes his
predecessor) then he has acquired the right to open it (and easement) under the
Prescription Act.



Assuming
that he cannot prove that it has been there for 20 years or more I would get a
solicitor to write to him (it is more powerful from a solicitor) reminding him
of the exact wording of the deeds (send him a copy) and reminding him that he
has the right to have the window there but not to open it so that it extends
over your property. The extension over your property is trespass and whilst he
can open the window can only open it as far as his windowsill.



Solicitor
can tell him that he continues to open it beyond the boundary of his property,
you will apply to court, without further notice, for an injunction to compel
him to stop the trespass into your airspace and that you will ask the court to
award costs against him.



Does
that answer the question? Can I help further? Can I answer any specific points?



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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful.

I just have one more question, as my neighbour or previous owner has changed the use from a kitchen to a toilet does this infact void the covenant or should there be a new covenant put in place to state that this is now a toilet ?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.




Although you might
think it would help you, it doesn't because it was a kitchen at the time of
granting the covenant.

There is no
covenant for it to be a kitchen but nothing else.



I don't think it's
worth pursuing that line.



Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 20874
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice