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A not so private garden

(49 Posts)
Savvy Tue 08-Jun-21 12:55:02

I live in a ground floor flat which has private gardens front and back. The upstairs flat has its own private back garden, but no front garden.

The last two tenants of the upstairs flat seem to think they have a right to walk straight into my back garden without a by your leave from me. The garden is straight outside my living room window so their invasions of my garden is also an invasion of my privacy.

The previous tenant would happily just walk straight in, most of the time wearing just his underwear, to retrieve his dog which has gotten through the fence. The fence by the way is the responsibility of the upstairs flat and is badly in need of repair. The new tenants just tell anyone who needs access to the rear of the property to go straight into my garden - again without any word to me.

I have now padlocked the garden gate and my neighbours are furious. I've explained my reasons and told them I'm quite happy to unlock the gate to allow access if I'm asked first.

AIBU my restricting access to my garden by insisting that anyone needing to come into my garden asks first and doesn't just walk straight in.

I should point out that I'm disabled and live alone.

Cabbie21 Fri 11-Jun-21 11:17:29

I can’t see why this even started, now you have explained the layout. How often do workmen need to come? Surely only perhaps a roofer, aerial fitter, once a blue moon? Or window cleaner about every 6 weeks?
You are well within your rights. They should ask you if workmen are going to need access.

Pearlsaminger Fri 11-Jun-21 11:30:02

I live on the end of a terrace, but do not have side access to my back garden.

The bloke next door always felt it was his RIGHT to jump over my 6 foot fence into my garden, then over a 4 foot fence into his garden.

We all moved in around the same time as it was a new estate. When I asked him to stop he decided he’d start knocking on my door at the most stupid of times to be ‘let through’ my house, into my back garden and over the fence into his place.

Had to tell him ‘no more!’ and to get a key cut of his own. He lived with his Mother who wouldn’t allow him a key - so he took to climbing through the kitchen window at the front of the house instead! Wasn’t bothering me anymore thankfully, but the police were called a few times when people saw him sneaking into the house. They thought he was a burglar! grin

I don’t think you’re in the wrong - and if the neighbours don’t like the padlock, then tough. They’ll soon get used to it. As others have said, stick to your guns. Difficult at times when all you want is a quiet life. I’m disabled too and it’s too much hassle to be arguing with the neighbours. Lock your gate, shut your door and stay safe Savvy

Zuika Fri 11-Jun-21 11:51:30

I'm sure without permission they're trespassing so well done for locking your gate, you're entitled to keep your garden private and anyway it's common courtesy, if not a legal requirement, to ask permission from the owner before you send workmen traipsing round their land.

greenlady102 Fri 11-Jun-21 11:52:05

disabled or not you have every right to limit how and when people enter your space. Sadly ownership of a fence does not mean that it has to be kept in good repair but owners of dogs are required to stop their dog from straying. Is there a formal right of way or access or is this just something that has sprung up?

JaneJudge Fri 11-Jun-21 11:57:28

They have to give you ample notice if it is for workmen to carry out works (presumably on the upstairs exterior or windows?) We had an issue where the main drain was on our property and iirc they had to give 12-24 notice if works/unblocking was to be carried out

cc Fri 11-Jun-21 11:58:10

We have a small flat which we rent out. It has a private garden which needs to be used by contractors such as gardeners and decorators to enter the communal space behind the main part of the property. It was written into our lease when we bought it that we would have to grant them access and they always give us notice when this will be happening.
I think that you are quite right to lock your gate, if they need access they should ask you. They should also repair the fence if their lease says that it is their responsibility. If they are tenants you could approach the managing agent to get them to ask the landlord to fix this.

JaneJudge Fri 11-Jun-21 11:58:11

ring CAB, they might be able to tell you over the phone or it might be in your tenancy agreement or deeds (freehold/leasehold documents)

travelsafar Fri 11-Jun-21 12:09:13

I think if it was me i would contact the Landlord again and ask them to write a letter to the tenants explaining everyone's rights where the gardens are involved and that they need to ask for access to your garden for workmen etc.
This is the kind of situation which can esculate very quickly making lives a misery with resentment and anger for all concerned.

Lulubelle500 Fri 11-Jun-21 12:36:55

I think its outrageous of your neighbour to think he can ignore your rights like this! The trouble is feuds with close neighbours are the absolute Devil and usually end up making the innocent party (in this case definitely you) the most miserable. If I were you I'd resist the very understandable impulse to get angry, and try appealing to his better nature. Perhaps play the 'I'm very nervous and your appearing suddenly outside my window gives me a terrible fright' card. The longer it goes on the harder it will be to change it. Do you have any sturdy young relatives who could arrange to be there to be outraged on your behalf when it happens? I'm all for dealing with my problems by myself but sometimes someone knowing you've got others on your side helps.

Daisend1 Fri 11-Jun-21 12:40:53

There you are then. NO NEED to go through your gate .
Lock it. They are clearly taking advantage and advise them they are to ask your permission IF for some reason there is no other way which clearly there is, of access to their property.
Citizens Advice will assist you should you feel the need for more help.

Lupin Fri 11-Jun-21 12:44:44

I agree with you SAVVY, and all those who have backed you up.
I had a problem with my car parking space when I first moved here. Each apartment has a numbered space. I have kept it civil but after a number of invasions of the space the message that I will usually say yes to occasional use if asked first and friends and family will not need to park in it.
I think your neighbours are just miffed and will get over it. They have no defence.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 11-Jun-21 14:12:06

I am unclear whether you are the landlord or not, but I assume you are renting your flat, as are your neigbours renting theirs.

My advice is that you take the matter up with the landlord.

Not knowing the bye-laws where you live, I cannot possibly know whether you are legally entitled to lock your gate, but presumably you know that you are allowed to do so.

It is tempting to say as you do that your neighbours have no right to walk into or through your garden, but is it honestly worth having a bad relationship to your neighbours over this?

Whatever you choose to do, let the landlord deal with this. Itis his job after all to make sure that tenants abide by what their contracts say.

Alioop Fri 11-Jun-21 19:37:03

Keep the gate locked to keep the idiots out. Get a big " PRIVATE" sign put up too. Some people just think they are entitled to everything.

Savvy Fri 11-Jun-21 19:56:08

Thanks all.

I'm going to put a sign on saying which flat the garden belongs to and requesting that anyone needing, not wanting, access asks for the key.

Savvy Fri 11-Jun-21 19:59:37

grandtanteJE65 we are both tenants but on different kinds of tenancies. Mine is through the local authority, but theirs is a private tenancy as the leasehold was purchased from the local authority and they rent it from the leaseholder through a letting agency.

Jess20 Sat 12-Jun-21 20:39:16

Sometimes a 'private' garden still has a patch of land right in front of the building that's communal in as much as it must be available for scaffolding or other works to be carried out. Look at your lease and see if this is the case as work to the fabric of the building may be the issue.

Savvy Sat 12-Jun-21 21:22:34

I don't have a lease, I have a tenancy, its not the same thing. My tenancy is with the local authority who own the building.

The upstairs flat is leasehold, as in the right to live there has been purchased for a set number of years from the owners of the building, but the leaseholder has rented the flat out. They are not allowed to do any work to the fabric of the building.

If the local authority need access for works, they write and let me know who will be attending and at what time and if its not convenient, I have the option to rearrange. The local authority are the only ones who can do this. Any works needed to the fabric of the building has to be reported to the local authority, there are no short cuts to this.

olliebeak Tue 15-Jun-21 20:00:16

If you know who the Letting Agents are, I'd speak to them and ask them to make it clear to their tenants.

The Landlord also needs to be made fully aware of what's going on, as the Letting Agents are operating either ON his instructions or WITH his permission.

Even though you are a Local Authority tenant, and they aren't, there could STILL be something that your Landlord could do on your behalf.

Good Luck!

Edith81 Tue 15-Jun-21 22:25:37

I’m ever ready to compromise in any situation, but if someone disrespects me it gets my back up and then I don’t want to know. Your neighbours are doing that to you, don’t stand for it.

CocoPops Wed 16-Jun-21 00:12:35

I think you are not being unreasonable at all. Perhaps your landlord, the local authority can sort this out for you. You could/ should let them know that you are concerned as your neighbours walk into your private garden without permission and can see into your living area which is a concern to you regarding both your privacy and security. Good luck.

welbeck Wed 16-Jun-21 00:32:39

OP, have you tried approaching the council about this, as they are your landlord, and the freeholder of the building.
i would mention that you are disabled, as they should know who/where vulnerable tenants are, and that you feel you are being harassed over this issue.
good luck.

Savvy Wed 16-Jun-21 01:21:16

Unfortunately, my relationship with my landlord is not good as I'm currently in the process of taking them to court for not doing necessary repairs (ie fixing damp that was reported 5 years ago.)

The fence has now been fixed, which is a step in the right direction.

BelindaB Wed 16-Jun-21 14:32:09

...or get yourself a Rottweiler!