My Halloween Neighbour from Hell

My Halloween Neighbour from Hell

My Halloween Neighbour from Hell

Scenario, Bob Jarvis:  I’ve lived next door to a retired gentleman for 7 years. He has lived in his house on our road for over 40 years. Far from being the perfect retired kindly neighbour, he is a nightmare. 

As soon as we moved in, he was arguing about where we parked our cars. It wasn’t a shared drive, I was simply parking on the road, the main highway, but he objected to our large car spoiling his view of the street and his neighbours. I didn’t understand this at first and only later learned that it was his personal hobby to watch everyone come and go in the cul-de-sac and pass judgement on their every move. He moaned every time we had visitors and where they parked their cars. He objected to the trees I planted in our front garden and our teenagers causing too much noise after 10pm at night.

After six years my wife and I decided to update the back garden fence. It was old and collapsing in places. I thought he’d be pleased to see we were rectifying (and paying) for a new fence partition between us. He was not. The fence line was ours according to our specific property title deeds so we did not think to ask his permission. It was clearly our responsibility. He was outraged that we didn’t consult with him. We did drop a note through his door to tell him that the new fence would be arriving in June and the date the works were due to commence, but ever since the new fence was put up has been so unreasonable.

In his view, he expected to be consulted on the type and height of the fence, which to be honest is not his concern, as long as we replace like for like and a similar height, he should have no concern at all. He moaned vociferously about the colour, the use of horizontal planks, the height (it’s the same height as before but he could no longer see through a top vision panel trellis which we removed) and he was clearly angry that he was not consulted with about the style we had adopted.

Last month he instructed a solicitor to complain about the boundary line and argued that it had been tampered with, the new fence taking over some of their garden. This is totally false, as we used the same post holes as the original fence. He just enjoys making trouble and being awkward.

Madhvi Panchal

Madhvi Panchal, Solicitor
Dispute Resolution team, Lawson-West Solicitors, Leicester

What does our Dispute Resolution solicitor, Madhvi Panchal say about Bob’s dilemma?

“Neighbour disputes are very common. The responsibility of partition and adjoining walls, fences and structures often lead to neighbours falling-out and even progressing to court over a few inches of land. My advice is always to try and negotiate and reason with your neighbour and involve them in any changes before they happen, putting things into writing where possible. This is especially important if you are making changes to fences, buildings or having an extension. Bringing a neighbour with you on your journey is better than showing them a final outcome, where they cannot offer an opinion.”

What is a Property ‘Binding Evaluation’?

If negotiation fails with problematic neighbours, then current legal dispute resolution process requires an independent assessment of the land in question – called an ‘early neutral evaluation’, normally undertaken by an expert, like a surveyor or solicitor. A binding evaluation involves the parties reaching an agreement, by a contract, to expert determination by an independent third party; either a lawyer or surveyor experienced in the relevant field. The parties can agree to treat this view as binding on them i.e. final with no ability to challenge it.

Pre-Action Protocol

Before anything progresses to court or tribunal hearing, the Practice Direction on Pre-action Conduct and Protocols  provides stages at which the parties can consider if the dispute can be resolved by mediation or binding expert determination. Please see, Property Protocols | Introduction for more detail. 

How to Use a Dispute Resolution Solicitor

Contact Us

We can listen to your case and provide initial assurance and advice to outline your options. We can undertake negotiations on your behalf, suggest mediation perhaps, or progress legal solutions such as Binding Evaluations and more. If necessary, we can prepare and take your case as far as court/tribunal but this is based on the specifics of your case and no two cases are the same.

It is best to speak to a dispute resolution solicitor before things get totally out of hand. After all, you have to live next door to each other and having an unresolved feud fester for years and years is not in anyone’s best interests. Remember too, if you decide to move home, you have to declare any neighbour disputes in your legal paperwork, and this should be taken seriously as it could make it even harder for you to sell your property and move away from annoying neighbours.

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