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Adjacent driveways!

(35 Posts)
anniezzz09 Sun 14-Dec-14 11:42:37

I live in an end terrace of late 1990s houses. They were built so that each house has space for one car (two at a pinch parked end to end) and the rest of the driveway is taken up with a raised bed and an adjacent space for rubbish and recycling bins.

We have one car. Our neighbours who moved this summer, had 3 cars but we each managed perfectly well in our respected spaces. They never asked to use ours or trespassed in any way and in fact, if their children strayed over our side, then their very nice young mother would call them away. We got on well.

This summer a new young couple moved in next door with a one year old. In the space between neighbours moving and moving in, we spent a sizeable sum on having the raised bed removed and the drive repaved. Because of a space on the other side of our former raised bed and the fact that we are end of terrace, we now have a drive which will fit three cars parked closely side by side. There is a narrow strip between the drives (about 18 inches). The neighbours have one car.

I try not to feel mean about this, but as soon as the new couple moved in, I noticed that he would leave his front door and walk diagonally across our drive to the road. They park half on the intervening strip. Then a few weeks ago, they had a number of friends around to lunch and he came and to the door and asked, in a way that suggested he expected the answer yes, if they could park on our drive. He said it would only be a little over from them. I said yes and then wondered if he knew that we all have free residents' permits for our visitors to park in any surrounding spaces (we are a controlled parking zone). When I mentioned this, he looked vague and said yes the last people had left him some permits. I went out shopping and found several cars parked on our drive in a fairly spacious way when I returned.

This morning I noticed a man standing staring at our house. Some time later I noticed he was still there. I was about to go out and ask what he was looking at when I realised he was looking at a small child (next door's) who was wandering around by our house and side entrance. I don't know who he was - a brother or friend?

When these people moved in, they immediately, with little discussion, took down the 6ft hedge between our gardens and put up a 4ft fence with a trellis on top. They didn't seem to understand that this felt like a major change of privacy on our part (especially as they seem to be always noisily out in their garden with one or other set of parents and friends). We put up a screen on our side, at our cost and they seemed surprised but accepted that that was what we wanted (they suggested a couple of young trees as a screen!!).

They are a nice enough couple from London who have only lived in a flat before. However, I feel quite invaded by them and annoyed with myself for minding about the drive but I also feel it is our property after all and if there was a wall, they couldn't wander across. No one else in our cul de sac on either side of the road shares drives and in fact, everyone is discreetly careful about the delicacies of living closely side by side.

Any thoughts on dealing with this in a positive manner?

crun Sun 14-Dec-14 12:31:06

It's no good asking me for advice how to deal with people, I'm spectacularly clumsy at it, but I thought I'd chip in with a couple of stories in the same vein.

I live in a semi with a shared drive, the neighbour and I have garages behind the houses, with parking for one car in front of each drive. His garage is full of junk, but at times he has up to six vehicles: a works van, family saloon, and up to four racing cars in various states of disassembly.

There's one in front of the garage, one in the end of the drive, one on his front garden, one in front of his house, one across the end of the drive, and one in front of my house. He has filled the rest of the drive with barrows, cement mixers, paving slabs etc. I can just about get the wheelie bin past.

A few decades ago, my mother and her sister used to live in a house in the middle of the town centre, and every Tom Dick and Harry in town used to help themselves to their drive as a car park.

One day my mum moved out into a flat of her own, but when the removal men arrived they couldn't get the van in because someone had parked in the drive. We phoned the police, but when they turned up they just shrugged, said it was nothing to do with them, and went away again.

So they parked the van out in the road on the double yellow lines, and brought the town centre to a standstill for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning while they carried everything down the drive past the car. That didn't seem to bother the police either. smile

Elegran Sun 14-Dec-14 12:32:45

It seems that younger people have a more general idea of what space they are entitled to use than they used to have. The freedom after the flat may have gone to their heads, of course.

Plant climbers against the fence and train them up onto the trellis to spread out and up that barrier?

A few containers planted up and put in the 18 inch space between the drives? That would define your space. Park your car at the edge nearest them to fill the space?

If you had been a bit more snippy with them at the start, they might be more cautious of offending you. Is it possible to mention it now without falling out with them? To make friends with them so that they are willing to be more considerate to you?

A dangerous-looking dog would be useful, but that is a move too far! Leaving something lying around on the bit of drive nearest them would deter parking there too, but would look scruffy. Could your recycling bins stand there "to make it easier for you to put them out when you have to"

Tegan Sun 14-Dec-14 12:34:38

All I can say is that there's something very annoying about people parking on/near your property. I don't know how or why that is but I think there's something almost primevil about it. I say this because I'm a very easy going person [I hope] 99% of the time but there's something about the parking of cars that triggers an angry response in me. I live at the end of a cul de sac and we have a couple of 'spare' places that people can use if they have visitors or even just deliveries. Sometimes various people who live at the other end of the cul de sac take one of those spaces over as their permanent parking space and I find myself looking at the car in annoyance, even though it isn't actually affecting me in any way. I think your neighbours are a bit young and naive and need educating a bit; how you go about it, I don't know. It is one of those situations that triggers the irritation nerve in a major way sad.

chloe1984 Sun 14-Dec-14 12:50:55

I sympathise so much with your dilemma as we have a similar situation with our very elderly neighbours. He leaves his car parked in such a way that allows no further parking of a vehicle on our shared driveway. So we are the ones that have to put our car in the garage after each use and have to haul our shopping from the car as if we parked outside our front door to unload we would block the access for everyone else. What do we do about it ? Nothing as yet as we don't want to upset him as they are good neighbours and so we just put up with it as they were here first. However I think if I were in your place I would have to ask your neighbour not to walk across your drive and next time he asks for permission for friends etc to park on your drive just tell him you are expecting company - hopefully they will soon get the message. Perhaps they really just don't get the living in a house bit yet.

Greyduster Sun 14-Dec-14 13:18:15

When we were looking to move, we disregarded a very nice house on the grounds that it had a shared drive, and shared access to the back between the houses, which, when we went to view it, had various outdoor toys scattered along its length, belonging to the neighbour's children. We moved because of a difficult neighbour; I felt that she drove us out at the end, when I couldn't stand her obduracy any longer. We lived in a semi and for twenty years we got on well, then, for no apparent reason, she began to create difficulty over the boundary hedges, people working on my property where it bordered hers, people parking outside MY house, and any number of other things even though we went out of our way not to upset her. We now live in a detached house with a double drive and have the nicest of neighbours, but even if they weren't, we are sufficiently separated from them that they would not be in a position to trouble us. It is worth every penny of the considerable sum we had to spend to have a bit if peace. My sister in law lives in a court of houses where each house has a space and there are two visitor spaces, but there are still disputes over indiscriminate parking!

TriciaF Sun 14-Dec-14 13:33:08

I'm not sure about the legal/insurance situation in the UK, but here people are very particular about keeping to their own land. There's a concept of "servitudes" which roughly means share access roads, which lead to all sorts of trouble.
The biggest worry would be if your neighbour or his child, were to have an accident while on your land, could he sue you for compensation etc.?

anniezzz09 Sun 14-Dec-14 13:36:05

Thank you people. I did think my post might bring a few interesting stories. I once knew someone who lived in a village in a house with adjacent driveways. I don't remember who started it, but there was a dispute over the width of the driveways and her neighbour built a fence when she was away so that she could no longer get her car up her drive. They went to law and it was still going on when I lost touch with her!

There is something about car parking isn't there? The council stipulation that no household here should have more than one car is, for the most part, nonsense and our street is lined both sides with cars parked on the double yellow and up on the kerbs all weekend and every night after 6pm. People often park overhanging our drive which was one reason we had the drive done so it gave us room to get in and out (which we haven't always been able to do!).

We intend moving next spring so I hope we can keep things on an even keel till then!

NfkDumpling Sun 14-Dec-14 13:52:56

Re the walking over your drive - can you not ask him not to on the grounds that his children then follow his example and you're worried you may accidentally squash them?

You could also mention the stranger watching his child. Does the child wander around outside on it's own?

ninathenana Sun 14-Dec-14 14:00:38

We too have a shared drive. The block of two garages is situated in between our houses but separate from the front gardens and side access. Our current neighbour is brilliant no disputes at all. He is away quiet a lot and has told DD to use his drive when he's not there. But the previous resident was really picky. If DH was washing the car or we were seeing off visitors and we inadvertently stood on his half, he would complain. The drive was old grey gravel at the time and I measured the half way point and sprayed a line down the middle to stop him complaining tchgrin. We and our current neighbours agreed to have the drive block paved. Sharing the cost 50/50

Soutra Sun 14-Dec-14 14:42:25

If you say nothing, this will niggle and niggle until resentment spoils any chance of a friendly neighbourly relationship Either speak out now or put some sort of barrier- planters if appropriate. Do not get involved in any sort of dispute as that could "bite you in the bum" when you come to put the house on the market. Maybe a Christmas drink of mulled wine and a mince pie would be a good opportunity?

janerowena Sun 14-Dec-14 14:57:54

I have a friend with the same problem, I sent her a link to cheap white chain fencing (she was trying to sell the house and didn't want buyers to know she had neighbour problems) and she put it down the central reservation.

The previous owners of this house (detached but with big wide shared driveway) built a wall slightly to our side. Our neighbours have small children and would like us to knock it down again. Of course they would - they want extra room to get the children in and out of the car without scratching the paint. However, they could also widen their drive, as we have on our side. Also I don't want the girls running all over my garden. Sweet though they are.

The wall is starting to crumble. When it gets bad I shall erect a living fence, which is a wooden paling fence planted up with ivy. The fence gradually disintegrates, but by then the ivy is firm and creates an evergreen hedge that can be cut right back thinly and kept as a fence.

crun Sun 14-Dec-14 15:00:30

Come to think about it, my other neighbour pointed out that the boundary wall is about 2 degrees out of square with the house last month. He went away happy when I pointed out that the house itself is about 2 degrees out as well. grin

Anya Sun 14-Dec-14 15:14:50

I'd rather say nothing and just try to accept the situation. I do think its a good idea to invite them round for a mince pie and mulled wine though. When you know them better you may not mind the intrusions so much and as we get older it's better to be on good terms with neighbours.

sunseeker Sun 14-Dec-14 15:22:33

We used to have a really nasty neighbour who resented our moving into the village (I have no idea why) and even knocked on our door to tell us we weren't welcome in the village! We had a large drive and when their daughter got married most of the guests parked on our drive (without asking) and I couldn't get my car out of the garage. I was about to go across and ask them to move when DH arrived home. At the time he had a JCB which was kept on our land at the rear of the property. He went across to the neighbour and told them he was going to start up the JCB and he would use it to remove any cars still on our drive. People came streaming out of his house running for their cars and the last one got off the drive just as DH arrived in the JCB!! They never parked there again. However, I understand this was rather extreme (and not everyone has a JCB handy!).

Greyduster Sun 14-Dec-14 15:29:56

Respect, Mr Sunseeker!

papaoscar Sun 14-Dec-14 15:33:15

Gold star, Sunseeker, one up for you and your son. Bet that wiped the smile off their faces!

FlicketyB Sun 14-Dec-14 16:37:12

Annie, if you are thinking of selling soon, grin and bear it, although putting a barrier down the edge of the properties, planters or post and plastic chain, should help anyway.

There is a question on the documents the solicitor will send you when you have a buyer asking about any disputes with your neighbours. You need to be able to tick the 'none' box.

anniezzz09 Mon 15-Dec-14 08:06:18

Thanks for the reminder of that FlicketyB, it's one of those things that I call 'modern world'! I don't intend letting things progress to a row, it's good to have a place to let off steam so thank you GN! I've never had a neighbour problem before and I think I am amazed at their insensitivity and it's so out of character with the rest of the street. Hopefully, they'll fall into line in time. I am worried about Christmas when I suspect they'll have both families around and the parking question may arise again. Oh dear, people...sometimes I think I'd like a detached house with acres around!

pompa Mon 15-Dec-14 08:36:55

We have adjacent drives with our neighbours. I would nevr have considered it a problem with utilising each others space to enable us to park or move our cars. Our neighbour has several cars and if he needs to get the furthest one out he will use my drive, I don't see any problem with that, he is causing no harm to my property. Likewise I normally park at the front of our house and use his drive to enable me to reverse into my space.

We are often away for periods, I then ask my neighbour to park one of his cars on my drive, looks like I am in.

Unless damage is being caused, live and let live.

harrigran Mon 15-Dec-14 11:35:37

We have a joke metal sign which says "Mercedes Benz parking only" all other vehicles will be towed away. DD bought it for her Dad as we have a Mercedes but so does our next door neighbour so I could hardly complain tchgrin

Anya Mon 15-Dec-14 13:41:25

Well said Pompa, my feelings exactly.

annie if you do not need the extra parking space over Christmas, why don't you offer some room to your neighbours if they need it. That way you are letting them know it is your space and by your kindness they may use it when you agree.
But if you do need all your parking space over the Christmas period, then just mention that too.

rosesarered Mon 15-Dec-14 17:11:30

Agree, that pots planted up would be a good barrier, and also look nicer?
The problem with neighbours getting used to you agreeing they can park on your drive [or their friends and relatives] is that they will do it all the time, and maybe without asking if you are out.We had this problem a long time ago, and also ended up with oily patches from their cars on the drive.
If anyone has a good neighbour, and they only ask this favour because of a wedding or similar, then that is different.Glad that we don't have that problem nowadays.

anniezzz09 Mon 15-Dec-14 20:18:21

Yes rosesarered, it's the slipping into it being the norm that I'm worried about. The houses are designed so that the kitchen French windows open to the front and I'm afraid I think cars are ugly great lumps of metal! For the first time in 9 years I don't always have to stare at ours and I don't want to stare at anyone else's! And it's a slippery slope, what's next? Attaching their bicycles to our fence? Putting their wheels bins on our drive because we happen to have more room?

And we all have different sensitivities. As I said, I feel invaded by them at the moment, they are much more noisy and obtrusively there than the people before and I need personal space and some peace and quiet. The removal and replacement of the hedge in the garden was insensitive enough for me to fear the worst. My garden was carefully designed to have private spaces where I could enjoy a book and some sunny peace and that has now gone. I cannot cope with the front suddenly being used too, it's like a siege!

durhamjen Mon 15-Dec-14 20:36:52

Agree with what you said earlier, annie. If you are going to move next year, do not fall out with your neighbours over what is a temporary inconvenience. You will have to put any disputes with your neighbours on your house sale details. If you lie, you could be held liable by the purchaser.