Gransnet forums

House and home

Difficult neighbour

(33 Posts)
Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 18:17:48

Hi , I am wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction.
I live in an old terraced cottage and need access to the side of my property to check guttering and general maintenance of walls . The only way to get there is via a section of my neighbours roof . The person I employed to do the work contacted owner and explained to her the situation. She has totally refused to allow anyone on her roof and I am wondering what to do next . Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The property he needs to get onto the low roof of is actually rented so it's not a falling out with my actual neighbour, it's her landlady that's the problem.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 02-Apr-24 18:21:54

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act should assist you but you really need to see a solicitor and ask them to write to the landlady.

Shelflife Tue 02-Apr-24 18:27:25

How unreasonable!!.I do hope you are able to resolve this issue - very stressful!

Desdemona Tue 02-Apr-24 18:47:50

Has she given a reason for saying no?

Keeping adjoining houses in good repair is in both neighbours interests.

Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 19:56:04

Germanshepherdsmum

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act should assist you but you really need to see a solicitor and ask them to write to the landlady.

Thank you, I knew there was an act of some kind but wasn't sure what it was called so that's a great help .
A solicitor sounds expensive sadly 😥

Grammaretto Tue 02-Apr-24 19:58:29

A solicitor's letter will be a lot cheaper than a new roof.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 02-Apr-24 19:58:48

I doubt the landlady will budge without a solicitor’s letter. Perhaps the CAB can point you in the direction of one who isn’t too expensive. Good luck!

Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 20:01:05

Desdemona

Has she given a reason for saying no?

Keeping adjoining houses in good repair is in both neighbours interests.

No , she just said that she wouldn't allow anyone on her roof even though she was reassured IF any damage occurred it would be corrected. She just always has this air about her that she thinks she is very important.
I bet if my guttering failed and water caused her property to be affected she would be shouting very quickly!

Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 20:01:52

Very true .

Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 20:03:54

Germanshepherdsmum

I doubt the landlady will budge without a solicitor’s letter. Perhaps the CAB can point you in the direction of one who isn’t too expensive. Good luck!

Yes, I think that will be my next step.

Katie59 Tue 02-Apr-24 20:28:50

I presume your builder could access the rear through your house, handing ladders etc trough windows, it going to be less effort than scrambling over a roof carrying ladders.

silverlining48 Tue 02-Apr-24 21:50:24

If. It’s an old property it may be she is concerned about damage . I know someone who did agree but their roof was damaged and only repaired in a perfunctory manner after numerous requests which caused bad feeling.
In this case the person wanting access had extended to the boundary which is why they couldn’t access their own property.
Old houses have old tiles which can easily be dislodged by people climbing over them. I can see why the owner is reluctant. Difficult though I know, is there no other way?

J52 Tue 02-Apr-24 22:05:47

Your house insurance may give you legal assistance. It’s common on most policies and is separate to making a claim.

Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 22:17:16

Katie59

I presume your builder could access the rear through your house, handing ladders etc trough windows, it going to be less effort than scrambling over a roof carrying ladders.

No unfortunately not. A bit complicated to explain but due to an extension you can't access the side wall other than going up from next-door low connection roof. It's a narrow tunnel between the 2 properties.

Gangan2 Tue 02-Apr-24 22:18:06

silverlining48

If. It’s an old property it may be she is concerned about damage . I know someone who did agree but their roof was damaged and only repaired in a perfunctory manner after numerous requests which caused bad feeling.
In this case the person wanting access had extended to the boundary which is why they couldn’t access their own property.
Old houses have old tiles which can easily be dislodged by people climbing over them. I can see why the owner is reluctant. Difficult though I know, is there no other way?

No unfortunately not .

biglouis Tue 02-Apr-24 22:44:18

The other posters are correct. Access to Neighbouring Land Act allows access to maintain or repair existing structures - which yours is. Before paying out for a solicitor you could try looking up the Act or a site which explains it. Send a photocopy/print with a formal "letter before action" (via recorded delivery) warning the LL that you will have no option but to commence legal action in the event of a refusal.

You could point out that because you can show that you tried to reach an amicable agreement first the court may well take a dim view and impose any costs upon the party that is refusing access. So it would be very much to their advantage to negotiate an arrangement now.

Some people imagine that they simply have the right to go/send work people onto their neighbours property without first seeking permission but this is not so. My neighbour tried this within a few weeks of my moving in - sending workmen onto the property - and it soured relations permanantly. Had she come to me in a conciliatory manner beforehand and explained the problem I would have negotiated an agreement with her.

Katie59 Wed 03-Apr-24 07:33:33

Gangan2

Katie59

I presume your builder could access the rear through your house, handing ladders etc trough windows, it going to be less effort than scrambling over a roof carrying ladders.

No unfortunately not. A bit complicated to explain but due to an extension you can't access the side wall other than going up from next-door low connection roof. It's a narrow tunnel between the 2 properties.

So are you saying that you have no back door and no windows facing the rear of your house.

If so then it is possible to erect a scaffolding bridge over your neighbours low roof, it’s going to be expensive but I suggest legal action or damaging the roof is going to be more expensive

M0nica Wed 03-Apr-24 07:44:46

gangan Have you told her that her own house is liable to be damaged f she does not give you access and that you will not take responsibility for repairs if her intransigence is the cause of the damage.

Put this to her formally in a letter or email and keep a copt together with her reply.

TinSoldier Wed 03-Apr-24 10:06:43

Whenever I walk by houses where one (or both) have had side extensions built to the boundary leaving only a tiny gap between the houses, I wonder how they deal with gutters and exterior painting. This seems to be one of those cases.

It happens a lot around here with 1930s semis. In this example, they seem to have dispensed with side guttering altogether. Damp problem waiting to happen?

I’d be curious to know what happens at the planning stage or in any subsequent sales. Is the neighbouring property made aware of the Access to Neighbouring Land Act?

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 03-Apr-24 10:28:38

I doubt the planners would be concerned unless one owner made a formal objection about the consequences of building right up to the boundary. Access for maintenance is totally impossible! And how was building regulations approval obtained if a gutter was omitted? Building so close to the boundary should involve a party wall agreement between the two owners if done after the Party Walls etc Act 1996 came into force - frequently ignored.

OurKid1 Wed 03-Apr-24 11:22:56

Grammaretto

A solicitor's letter will be a lot cheaper than a new roof.

Often Solicitors will give an hour's advice for free. Might be worth asking. Any letter would be extra, but might be enough to get things moving at a minimum cost - well as minimum as Solicitors' costs ever are!

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 03-Apr-24 11:39:32

The solicitor doesn’t need to spend an hour advising as the law is entirely clear - but the letter will carry much more clout than anything the OP sends.

Gangan2 Wed 03-Apr-24 11:51:34

biglouis

The other posters are correct. Access to Neighbouring Land Act allows access to maintain or repair existing structures - which yours is. Before paying out for a solicitor you could try looking up the Act or a site which explains it. Send a photocopy/print with a formal "letter before action" (via recorded delivery) warning the LL that you will have no option but to commence legal action in the event of a refusal.

You could point out that because you can show that you tried to reach an amicable agreement first the court may well take a dim view and impose any costs upon the party that is refusing access. So it would be very much to their advantage to negotiate an arrangement now.

Some people imagine that they simply have the right to go/send work people onto their neighbours property without first seeking permission but this is not so. My neighbour tried this within a few weeks of my moving in - sending workmen onto the property - and it soured relations permanantly. Had she come to me in a conciliatory manner beforehand and explained the problem I would have negotiated an agreement with her.

Yes , I was aware of this hence she was contacted beforehand so there was no act of trespass. Unlike my neighbours the other side whose workmen walked all over my property numerous times last year .

Gangan2 Wed 03-Apr-24 12:00:27

TinSoldier

Whenever I walk by houses where one (or both) have had side extensions built to the boundary leaving only a tiny gap between the houses, I wonder how they deal with gutters and exterior painting. This seems to be one of those cases.

It happens a lot around here with 1930s semis. In this example, they seem to have dispensed with side guttering altogether. Damp problem waiting to happen?

I’d be curious to know what happens at the planning stage or in any subsequent sales. Is the neighbouring property made aware of the Access to Neighbouring Land Act?

My property is very old , pre 1900. The extension at the rear was granted early 1960 along with a very large balcony off of the back bedroom so the recess we require to access is over 14ft from my back wall .
I am sure she is very aware of the act, she is far from silly but is just making it as difficult as possible.

Gangan2 Wed 03-Apr-24 12:04:57

Germanshepherdsmum

I doubt the planners would be concerned unless one owner made a formal objection about the consequences of building right up to the boundary. Access for maintenance is totally impossible! And how was building regulations approval obtained if a gutter was omitted? Building so close to the boundary should involve a party wall agreement between the two owners if done after the Party Walls etc Act 1996 came into force - frequently ignored.

The extension was built early 1960 with full building regs .
As the property is old there is even a clause stating that there must be room for access of a horse and cart across the back of all our houses!