Author Topic: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.  (Read 12836 times)

Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« on: May 03, 2015, 08:41:23 pm »
We need to re-render our entire house in lime render to fix a damp issue (nasty concrete render is not good for Victorian houses) We need to hack off the blown & cracked concrete render, put on lime render and limewash it.

It is a detached house, but one gable wall sits up against the boundary with our neighbour's land, so the scaffold needs to partly sit in their garden/side alley (the houses are still very close together) so they can access that wall.

The woman of the couple was never very happy about it (because of the security issue, she is scared of burglars) and has kicked off massively now the lime render company has decided they need 3 whole weeks to do the job (originally he reckoned much less) and would like to start next week. She literally slammed the door in my face just now when I tried to discuss it again with her (she has known about this since the beginning of April so it's not come as a surprise to her).

Because she is so scared of burglars, she demanded initially (when we thought it was a shorter job) that one of us was at home at all times to keep an eye on the scaffold to make sure no one was climbing on it. Because we wanted to placate our new neighbour, we agreed to this even though we both work full time in very demanding jobs, and have agreed to honour it even with the extended time (my mum, who has just been made redundant, is helping). But that's not good enough apparently.

It will also involve removing a gate that they've attached to our house (to prevent access to their side entrance) which we would pay to be removed and reattached, but I know she's going to go bloody mental when she finds out about that, too. I wasn't able to discuss that with her because the door was slammed in my face.

At the end of the day I know I can probably force this through legal channels as it's a maintenance issue and we need access, but I really would rather not for people that I have to live next to for the next 10 years. Just gutted that we've scrimped and saved every spare penny to be able to afford this work (it costs a bomb, and is fairly specialist so even finding a company prepared to do it was not easy) and now we've got this to deal with, too.

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2015, 09:05:15 pm »
You probably have a way leave or some provision in your title to the property for access via the adjacent property for maintenance purposes, which should not be witheld unreasonably. Failing this

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/23/contents

appears to offer access via notice for the purposes of repairs and maintenance, but one for the lawyers perhaps.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2015, 09:50:47 pm »
Have you talked to the scaffolders about security? E.g. removing ladders at night/weekends, and any other tricks they may know to make access difficult. It might help to reassure your neighbour.

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2015, 10:01:51 pm »
Yes, I've told the company that she's terrified of burglars, and he's said he's used to neighbours making a fuss and not to worry, and that every effort will be made to make it secure. And we've told her that he'll be making it secure etc, and she just muttered something about bloody builders etc and needing to keep an eye on them (we'd remove ladders etc ourselves if we had to, for our own benefit as well as hers). But we've now reached the stage where she's slamming her door in our faces which makes reasonable discussion somewhat difficult.

The company also mentioned about alarming the scaffolding being an option, but I don't see why we should pay extra for that *as well as* babysit the house the entire time it's up; it's one or the other.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2015, 10:08:17 pm »
If she is slamming the door in your face now, screw what she thinks. Do whatever is legally required to get the work done and ignore the rest of her insanity. She isn't going to get any better.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2015, 10:14:02 pm »
Bloody neighbours.  I'd be inclined to send a letter saying 'sorry but this is necessary' and listing the steps you'll be taking to minimise risk to her.  Be as precise as possible about dates, etc.  Stress that you wish to remain on good terms.  I suspect she'll seethe but not do much.*

*Cross-fingers.

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2015, 10:58:26 pm »
If she is slamming the door in your face now, screw what she thinks. Do whatever is legally required to get the work done and ignore the rest of her insanity. She isn't going to get any better.

'Legally' is the problem...didn't really want to go down the court order route even if we did have the spare cash to do so. We have to live next door to these people and were planning on staying here a while.


Bloody neighbours.  I'd be inclined to send a letter saying 'sorry but this is necessary' and listing the steps you'll be taking to minimise risk to her.  Be as precise as possible about dates, etc.  Stress that you wish to remain on good terms.  I suspect she'll seethe but not do much.*

*Cross-fingers.

I don't know. I think she might call the police and complain about trespass or something. I think she may have mental health issues, she was so irrationally angry earlier on, going on about not being given enough notice, except I definitely had a conversation about this with her 2-3 weeks ago (albeit the company had not confirmed dates then) to tell her it would be happening late April or early May so she knew full well this was coming. I tried my best to be conciliatory (I deal with a lot of angry neighbours in my job as it happens!) but she was having none of it.

We are going to try again tomorrow in the hope she will be calmer. Her husband does seem a little more sensible and I wish we could get hold of him (shortly after we moved in, he did attempt to stop her telling us slightly random horror stories such as how our house would definitely be invaded by maggots from the rubbish truck that parked outside our house while it collected the bins from the rest of the street...) but it always seems to be her who answers the damn door!

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2015, 06:30:19 am »
If she is slamming the door in your face now, screw what she thinks. Do whatever is legally required to get the work done and ignore the rest of her insanity. She isn't going to get any better.

Yes, I had a similar problem with a neighbour.  Husband was fine about us removing the ivy from our collapsing fence and putting up new panels.  Then when i started and the inevitable gap appeared where the old fence was, out she came ranting and raving.  I couldn't get a word in!

I waited until their son and daughter-in-law visited later in the day and went round to sort things out and she couldn't make a scene while they were there it seems.  Anyway we came to an arrangement provided I put up a 6ft fence, yes, 'to keep the burglars out'!  That was fine, I'd have put up an 8ft fence if it was necessary to keep her out of my hair..  Husband's dead now; i'm not surprised.

Definitely nuts, these people, there's no other explanation.
Sic transit and all that..

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2015, 07:05:51 am »
Unlucky, neighbours can be real shits and generally ruin an otherwise excellent day.

Send her a bunch of flowers and be nice, but you'll have to be firm with her as she sounds a bit loopy. Tell her you'll set up some security cameras covering the scaffolding and record it, they only cost £100 or so.

It might work, but I know what you're going through as we had a major issue over a neighbours retaining wall that they refused to build, anyway a letter and a solicitor from our insurance company sorted it and we moved house afterwards.

Can I also suggest that you ensure that the builder is responsible for clearing up properly and that the scaffolding is sheeted when they remove the old render. It'll be coming off in big slabs and you don't want anything to be damaged if they are careless.

Plus, with my building conservation hat on, make sure they don't put any cement at all in the lime when they render it as it will ruin it, no matter what they say, it's a no go.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2015, 08:25:53 am »
Party wall act, no need for a solicitor.  Just a surveyor.  If you are the slamimg door stage I suspect it gone past that point.

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2015, 10:03:19 am »
Rather than flowers, we'd already bought beers and wine to hand over yesterday (we know they don't mind a drink as I've seen her in the local shop stocking up when there's been offers on, and think that might be seen as more valuable currency!) but we didn't even get a chance to hand it over  :facepalm:

The company we're using has very good reviews, has some excellent examples of their work, and is actually more used to working on rather more precious listed buildings/ those in conservation areas (of which our house is neither, just bog-standard, but old and inappropriately rendered) so I'm reasonably confident they know what they're doing, but I will stress again the need for care when taking off the render.

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2015, 10:04:55 am »
Its not a party wall as defined in the legislation.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2015, 10:14:02 am »
No, it's on our side of the boundary so it's our wall.

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2015, 11:05:59 am »
Good luck and I hope it works out somehow.

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2015, 11:10:03 am »
She's a fruit bat. Get the job done, ignore the ranting, wait till they're on holiday (BTW what does she do about 'the burglars' when they go on holiday?) and sell the house.

The other alternative is mass murder but that ain't gonna fly . . .

**Not the most charitable response, I'll grant you
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2015, 11:17:33 am »
She's just come and knocked, giving us an opportunity to hand over the booze. She's grudgingly now allowing us access to put up the scaffold, but is refusing to allow us to remove her side gate from our wall to allow a neater job (we'd remove and replace it at our cost). Render company owner was loathe to render around her side gate as he said this was lazy and wouldn't give a good finish.

Not 100% sure where we stand on this because it's on *our* wall, but it's probably been there a good few years so I don't know if it's acquired some kind of right, and again, I don't really want to push it anyway.

We're replacing our own garden side gate (which is knackered) with a much tougher, higher one, to give better protection to the Preciouses (ie the bikes in their bike bunker). Considering asking the bloke who's coming to quote us tomorrow for a quote for our new gate to replace her gate with a better, taller one too, if it means we can get her permission to temporarily remove her gate to do the render job properly. Not that we exactly have extra dosh knocking around...

(NB considering the obsession with burglars she's not got an alarm that I can see - we've got one that the house came with, and set it religiously when off out because it gave us a hefty discount on the contents insurance...I mean I know they generally do sod all....but still....)

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2015, 11:26:09 am »
Sounds like you're getting there.

red marley

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2015, 11:27:14 am »
Edit: Written before your previous response...

Some rather uncharitable responses as regards her mental health ("fruit bat", "real shit" etc.). We had a similar situation with one of our neighbours, who ended up secreting hidden recording devices around the garden as she thought we were planning to pull down her house. It was a highly stressful situation for all concerned.

If it is possible, I'd recommend seeing if it is possible to discuss through an intermediary (possibly the husband or other relative?) whom she trusts.  There is cause for optimism as you genuinely want to resolve this amicably with minimal inconvenience to your neighbour. Having someone she trusts helping to persuade her of that fact can help to smooth things through. And as hard as it can be, ~always~ keeping your cool, always being polite, whatever the provocation helps in the long run.

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2015, 11:37:49 am »
If the gate is bolted to your house, you have the right to take it off to maintain your property.

If you put it back on afterwards, she'll have no reasonable cause to complain. You will have to leave it off for a few days however, as the lime render will take  at least week to go hard enough.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2015, 01:41:17 pm »
AM has it right. Talk to the husband and tell him what is going to happen. Let him deal with her irrelevant objections.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2015, 02:11:07 pm »
Talking to the husband is difficult when it is she who comes to the door every time we knock. She has also refused to give us a phone number should we need to contact her/them. She obviously wants control of the situation.

The only alternative is to lay in wait for him and ambush him on his way in or out of the house...which isn't exactly easy either. Come to think of it, I haven't seen him in a while; I would definitely rather have raised this with him.

Re the gate, it's the leaving it off for a few days that will send her up the wall. Think of all the burglars that could walk in while it's off! (I raised this with the company and they said they'd secure it via other means to put off potential opportunists.)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2015, 02:18:13 pm »
Maybe it's her husband she's trying to keep out?
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2015, 02:54:45 pm »
Its not a party wall as defined in the legislation.

No, it's on our side of the boundary so it's our wall.

Party wall acts covers works to structures withing an area.  If you can't get the scafolding up on your own land then party wall legislation can be used.

Also if the gate is attached to yours, you can do what you want.  Is there permission to attach it to your property?

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2015, 03:01:22 pm »
Edit: Written before your previous response...

Some rather uncharitable responses as regards her mental health ("fruit bat", "real shit" etc.). We had a similar situation with one of our neighbours, who ended up secreting hidden recording devices around the garden as she thought we were planning to pull down her house. It was a highly stressful situation for all concerned.



You don't actually say that you weren't. 
Sic transit and all that..

Re: Need access to neighbour's land to maintain gable wall.
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2015, 04:21:31 pm »
It was there long before we bought the house, so a previous owner may well have given permission, I don't know

Thing is, we don't really want to start throwing our weight around with what we can legally do, if it's going to totally ruin our relationship...I don't really want to go to war with her.

Might try persuading her again under the guise of removing it to stop it getting damaged while the render is getting hacked off the wall. Which unfortunately sounds like a threat, but is a realistic possibility...