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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22442
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My neighbour has watched me least 5 years. On March

Customer Question

my neighbour has watched me for at least 5 years. On March 15 2015 after a year of writing to his solicitor to get other side from filming into my back garden I rang police. They ordered cameras moved. On March 30 i photographed my neighbour hanging out of his bathroom window taking photos of me in my back garden. What can I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Five + years ago he began watching us because he wanted us to share our driveway with them. He is taking photographs of us parking, our bins out for collection, he claims that we cannot do any work to our property to maintain it without his permission (we have had workmen filmed, audio recorded and intimidated. The police have warned him to stop filming us. He is obviously mentally ill but hides it well. He is probably OCD but our problem is that we feel "hunted" and stalked by him.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to help you with this today. Please bear with me if I ask for more information.
Why is the neighbour taking these photographs and watching you?
Have you been to the police with the photographs of him hanging out of the bedroom window?
The police have warned him already, why have you not been back to them with this extra proof with a view to getting him prosecuted under the Protection from Harassment Act? That really answers your question. It’s a police issue unless you want to go to the trouble of taking the neighbour to court which is obviously going to cost you money although you should get those costs back if your application for an injunction against him is successful.
A solicitors letter threatening the court application for an injunction and referring the matter back to the police with a view to having him prosecuted under the Act may resolve the issue.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He has the benefit of the restrictive covenant which says that we need to get his permission to make alterations. He interprets all maintenance as alterations. He wants control, he is bitter that he lost his case to make us share our driveway with him (yes!) he is damaging our fence (the court ordered the fence when other side lost) and we need to repair it but when we did this in similar circumstances last year we got 3 page solicitors letters saying we "altered the fence". He prepared for a restraining order when we moved things ready for the painter and decorator. He thought we were going to do something to the fence. We are not able to maintain but have a duty (and a right) to repair.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The police came again when I reported him hanging out of the window photographing me in our back garden. They warned him. The neighbour's wife now intimidates etc. but he still films us parking and photographs our bins out for collection. This has been happening for years. We no longer park on our driveway. We warn all workmen they may be assaulted. This is not a way to live but neither can we sell or rent our house out. The agent said you would lose tenants or if you managed to sell, a full disclosure of the dispute would drive the price down.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Maintenance is not alterations but then again you already know that.
With regard to any repairs when you need access to his land, he will have to grant that under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act and if he doesn’t, you can take into court get a court order and the court will award costs against him.
If the fence belongs to you, you can do what you like with it.
There is no way of resolving the disclosure issue have you come to sell.
At this stage however I would pressurise the police because clearly this man and his wife have ignored the police previous warnings and are now continuing to harass you. He should be prosecuted under the Protection from Harassment Act.
I’m not certain whether that answers your question or not but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
These people and their solicitor know that maintenance is not alteration but they continue to write threatening to take the case back to court. The fence is ours but they say that it is a breach of the order if we take it down (can't maintain it so may as well). The police do not want to be involved. The Title docs give mutual access (positive covenant) and the court order reinforces this right to maintain. The problem is the neighbour. We need to replace slightly opaque glass in a side door with clear (higher heat insulation). Is this an "alteration" or maintenance?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.
Their continual writing threatening court is in itself harassment. They either have to issue court proceedings or shut up and leave you alone!
The same also applies to the solicitor and you might want to point that out to the solicitor and also threaten to report the solicitors conduct to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The SRA will not usually take much notice if the solicitor is not your client but if you allege that his conduct is likely to bring the profession into disrepute, they will follow it up.
The correct way of dealing with this is the police or you make your own application to court for an injunction to prevent him continuing with his harassment.
I haven’t seen the order but of the order says you are allowed to maintain it, it doesn’t mean you can’t take it down.
The issue of the continual invasion and photographing you is indeed a police matter, it is harassment, it is illegal under the act and you need to press the police making a complaint to the chief constable if necessary for the lack of action.
With regard to the replacing slightly opaque glass in the side door, any covenant to seek consent from a neighbour is only applicable in so far as its required to protect the neighbouring property and is this would not affect the neighbouring property I would just do it anyway or if you prefer, simply tell the neighbour that you’re doing it. Even if you just do it, I cannot see what he could possibly take you to court for and if he did, the court is likely to class him as a vexatious litigant, preventing him bringing any further litigation against you and it could award costs against him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Our kitchen doors are opposite each other 16 feet apart. The neighbour intermittently (before the police stopped him) pointed his camera through this door to film and audio record). They use their kitchen door as a main entrance. We don't. They may say we are watching them but we can see them anyway through the glass. They refuse to agree a wooden boundary fence. Our fence is a small metal one inside the boundary. The neighbours' aggression has caused us such high anxiety we daren't do anything. We must take action but don't know whether to force the police to act, or to take civil action, or to try to live normally and ignore the neighbours who clearly want to control our use of our own property.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.
The continual harassment and photographing you and taking photographs through your door is certainly a police matter. Press the police

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