Neighbour’s outbuilding within my boundary in state of disrepair?

by Readers Question

8:55 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Neighbour’s outbuilding within my boundary in state of disrepair?

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Neighbour’s outbuilding within my boundary in state of disrepair?

I own a Victorian terraced property which has an outbuilding, belonging to the neighbour, lying completely in my property boundary. It was one property originally apparently. outbuilding

The issue is that this outbuilding is falling down, but the neighbour refuses to repair or remove it and blames a tree of mine for causing the damage. She won’t ask her insurance to assess the situation. The roof rafters are rotten and there are small trees growing out of the brickwork! It clearly hasn’t been maintained.

I have since removed the tree. I am trying to sell the property but this situation is causing huge problems. Can anyone suggest anything I can do to resolve this situation, please?

Many thanks

Lynne



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:58 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Lynne,

I don't really understand how someone else owns a building within your boundary. Is it like some kind of Flying Freehold?

When you purchased did your solicitor explain how the ownership of the outbuilding worked with rights of way etc?

Sorry I only have questions, but this might help others with the answer.

Lynne Tomlinson

10:00 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Neil. The building was 1 property originally then split into 2. When this happened the outbuildings were split and the neighbour has access rights to their building which is now on my property. My solicitor told me about all this and it wasn't a problem until the brickwork started to fail and I asked the neighbour to repair or remove. Therein lies the problem. She refuses to do anything blaming a tree for causing the damage so is there anything I can do?

Charles King - Barrister-At-Law

10:34 AM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Lynne - I understand Neil's point, and I am assuming that a part of the neighbours land actually 'sticks out' into and beyond your boundary rather than you owning the land upon which their building is situated. That would indeed be very unusual. Your key practical problem seems to be that if you really want to sell, through the normal channels, you will have to declare any disputes with neighbours as part of the sales process, and any prospective purchaser may drop out once they discover that there are potential neighbour nuisance problems. Unless you want to take the matter to law you may be better off getting the neighbour's agreement to your painting her unsightly outbuilding and making it look as tidy as possible so as to limit the unsightliness. You will almost certainty have a legal right to paint and even re-point the wall if it is a party wall. Also chopping any rogue trees are unlikely to cause a significant dispute, but getting the neighbour's agreement is always strongly advisable. Why would she not agree? Other than this, if you had more time, the Party Wall Act would provide a proper solution (although this legislation can also cause serious headaches) or, if there is damage or the threat of damage to your land, you could sue in nuisance. I would heartily recommend the last option, but that's because I am a lawyer, and they are usually the main beneficiaries of nuisance cases! You should generally avoid suing your neighbours in nuisance if you can. Best of luck!

Mike

12:45 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

It really is a case of who needs done what and why? and who pays for it and why should someone pay for it when the need is yours, and I will get it fixed in my own time.

To sell your property for your own benefit, the neighbour is not keen on doing any repairs, or in the least not now, or blames you for that tree, you have one option do it yourself, otherwise the 2nd option is a much longer route and probably more expensive.

My neighbour a landlord who rents his next door house to mine to some students, phoned me and asked me to replace tatty old lapped fence that had seen 10+ years and is now in taters, he literally spoke rudely to me and ordered me to get my fence fixed, I replied I will fix it when I want to, and for the time being the fence is still there, other than it is in bits and strung together with pieces of string to hold it in place around concrete posts.

Next day my neighbour went and bought 6 new fencing panels and erected a new fence that belonged to me and took away the old.
I can't complain, it was his need not mine.

Lynne Tomlinson

14:00 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Thank you for your comments. It isn't a party wall, the whole building is in my garden on the opposite side to the party wall.

I take your point Mike, my need is greater than hers!

Charles King - Barrister-At-Law

14:53 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

So does she have a right of way over part of your garden to access the outbuilding? And why wouldn't the wall of the outbuilding dividing your land from hers be a Party Wall?

Mike

16:27 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lynne Tomlinson" at "22/09/2016 - 14:00":

Hi Lynne, though it would be appropriate and considerate to inform her that you wouldn't mind paying for the repairs as long as she can permit you to carry out any required work, just say that as it encroaches into your property, it effects the value of your property and so you are willing to do this for her at your own cost, as long as she allows.It is another matter if she refuses and then it will be a legal route, a technical word for this sort of thing would be out of court settlement, and it works and you could save a lot of hassle and grief and court charges and not to mention charges for hiring a good lawyer and then it is the length of time.One has tpo weigh all situations and work out best least fuzz route. thats me though.

Lynne Tomlinson

11:35 AM, 24th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Charles - the neighbour has right of access across the garden to the outbuilding. Said building is on the opposite side to the party wall. It is a row of terraced properties and the outbuildings were toilets, coal stores etc. That is why the building is on my land as there is no access directly to next door. Thankfully, we no longer need our toilets emptying at night! However, the problem remains. Can I offer to buy the 10' x 4' bit of land and building and have it added to my deeds? What would I need to do and would it be expensive?

Mike - I could offer to repair it although if it were possible to buy the small plot that would sort it once and for all.

Thank you both for taking the time to comment, it has been useful getting another's perspective.

Mike

14:31 PM, 25th September 2016
About 2 years ago

No worries Lynne, that would be the best solution in the long run, buy it, but I am not sure how you would go about it, and if the freeholder of that land will be willing to sell, but in view of you selling your property is where I suggested that you spend some money and tidy it over to make it look a little presentable, or is there something else you could plant in front of the shed to like a few feet from it to provide a nice green screen, like some conifers, I have in my garden brick build shed, and no one likes to see bricks everywhere, so i planted some conifers, and they now fully screen my ugly brick shed. My garden looks better with green all around well sort of.


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