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Hi all

 

We have an idiotic neighbour who seems to think he can do as he likes.

 

Most recently has changed his boundary fence, which is quite crooked, at the side of our garage in a gap you couldn’t fit along. It has probably moved a few inches in his favor but the crookedness makes it ambiguous. I do have photos from how it looked before and can clearly notice the difference.

 

Has also concreted over about ¼ of our land/very narrow lane behind properties which has access for all but not used very much. Idiot is end property and has concreted a little bit in front of his garage and then over our land. I have a land registry document from when I bought property 11 years ago clearly showing the boundary line in red which we own and has been concreted over. Idiot has owned/lived there nearly five years now and I have a photo of how this was all grass before this was done.

 

I have house insurance with legal cover and they advised I should write a letter etc… then LBA if doesn’t correct it and they could go to court if doesn’t rectify.

 

Could someone please advise on how likely this would go anywhere if this went to court or if I should change it back to how it was myself and be done with it?

 

Many thanks for any advice.

 

E!

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Please monitor this thread for a reply later but in the meantime maybe you could lay out a bullet pointed chronology  of the timescale over which this has happened.

Also, how come you have allowed it to happen?

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I've looked at the previous thread that you have been running since 2018 about your nuisance neighbour. I see that at some point you have mentioned the problem of the concreting on your land – but frankly it was only a mention and nothing else.

By and large, you've allowed this issue to trail along without doing anything and with popping in here from time to time in giving excuses et cetera and then going silent again. If this is the way that you are dealing with your nuisance neighbour then I'm not surprised that they are getting away with it and they are running roughshod over you.

Although many of the issues are a bit difficult because measuring what is a nuisance or what is harassment can be very subjective, something like moving posts onto your land and concreting on your land is very clear, measurable and very easy to deal with if you are prepared to take the required action

On this issue we can help you – if you are prepared to get involved. However, we are not really interested in somebody who is half-hearted about it and so it's up to you.

Already you have posted a new thread 13 hours ago and haven't been back. You have referred to a problem which it turns out you referred to in a separate thread about two years ago. We are a volunteer organisation and we don't make money and we don't charge money – but that's no reason to waste our time. You need to engage with this thread and treat this is if you were paying us a commercial rate. I'm quite sure that that would focus you enormously.

Do you want to take this seriously yes or no?

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Hello

 

Yes, yes I do want to be serious on this.

 

There have been many other things happen over the time, I hate using the buzzword but suffer with anxiety and sometimes have to step away for my own sanity. One of the main issues with anxiety is avoidance which is what I tend to do. Tell myself there are worse things in the world, let it go etc... but you are right I have been not facing up to these wrong doings and want to address and get them sorted.

 

Quite some time has also been wasted on this going round in circles with police, council ASB teams and parking enforcement all to no avail, which hasn't helped either.

 

I am fully aware of the £ side of this set up and have donated several times a am very grateful.

 

Where do we go from here please?

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Okay well if you're prepared to try and take control of this then we are prepared to try and help you.

In terms of anxiety, once you are in control then it should help to dilute your anxiety.

You will have to begin some careful preparation. You may be having to begin an action in trespass and if you do bring a court action then you may as well contemplate bringing an action for nuisance as well.

The first thing to do is to send an SAR to the council or any other agency which has been involved with this so far. You need to gather as much information as possible. Send the SARs today.

The second thing you need to do is you need to get the filed plan for your land and then will be helpful if you could post it up here with a reasonably accurate line over it to show the extent to which they have encroached on your property.

I really don't understand how this could have happened – that people can simply go ahead and move the boundaries of their own property onto someone else's and then concrete over. And your anxiety notwithstanding, I'm still amazed that you have allowed it to happen.

Maybe you can tell us more about that and how long it has been going on.

By the way, this thread will focus on that aspect of your problem and we will have a look at the rest of it at some other time.

I would also like to know what exchanges you have had with your neighbours about their encroachment on your land – assuming that you have tried to raise the matter with them.

Have you tried to raise the issue of the trespass with any agency?

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I specifically said that we only want to deal with the concrete issue here. Not all the rest.

I'm afraid this is already cluttering up the focus of this thread. I'm afraid that I'm going to edit everything out and I'd like you simply to tell us the story of the concreting.

We must keep this thread on track

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Thank you, appreciated.

 

I’ll get the plan, measure and post this on. Can also show photos of how the fence gap was before and how it is now. Please bear with me as work is crazy busy and weather is rubbish today.

 

I have owned this property eleven years and weirdo has been there five years this year.

 

The lane/land isn’t used much and was a bit messy, the neighbour said mine was obstructing his accessing his garage, which wasn’t correct and just his usual trying to cause issues. We went on holiday and when we came back some had been cleared and the concreting been done. I believe this was either 2018 or the year before. I know, this sounds ridiculous and admit I should have addressed this at the time. I have not bought up the land thing as any interaction was met with arguing how he is right.

 

I don’t know anything about the agency?

 

The fence happened two weeks ago

 

Thank you for the support.

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Whether or not part of your land was obstructing access to his garage, if the land belonged to you then he had no right to occupy it. It's a trespass and it needs to be addressed.

However, you better be prepared for some unpleasantness and I suggest that you be meticulous about keeping a paper trail and about recording any exchanges between you. If you don't have one or two cameras around then I suggest that you get them and install them. These things should be done before you start to challenge your neighbour over the trespass.

You have 30 days for the various agencies to comply with your SARs – and that gives you time to prepare

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Thank you for clarifying.

 

The concrete is more of a concern than the boundary fence and I shall provide photos anyway.

 

Indeed and probably why I have hesitated. I do have a camera front and back and may think about one for the garage too.

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If they have moved the boundary and in that is what should concern you.

I understand that they have moved the boundary fence and then concreted a small portion of land which in fact belongs to you. The concrete is irrelevant. It is the fact that they have moved the boundary.

Two great extent of course the same issue – please focus on the boundary. Once the proper boundary has been restored then deal with the concrete as you wish – and by the way, if it costs money to restore the boundary or to undo the concrete or any other work they have done to your land, then they will have to foot the bill.

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When was it concreted over?

(My concern is that by failing to act earlier the OP may have acquiesced to the trespass to their property).

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No, you can't acquiesce to trespass in that way. It would take at least 12 years and in fact there are new rules relating to adverse possession. It is now very difficult possess other people's land adversely

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Thanks for the update.

 

Weather is rubbish so have done this drawing (I'm no Rolf Harris) to help.

 

Orange shows where fence has been moved closer to my garage, not to scale.

 

Grey shows where concreted in front of own garage and then kept going with it in front of mine, not to scale.

 

Yellow is my actual boundary lines as per land survey plan.

 

Hope this helps clarify until I get photos.

Lane.png

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Please would you send a Google satellite view link showing the properties – to us by email at our admin email address. We will keep it confidential.

I don't fully understand your diagram – but maybe if I had a look at a satellite view, then I might understand. Send us a streets view link as well in the same email

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Okay I'm forming a better idea. The little orange line is how the fence has been moved across your land at an angle.

Why would he have moved it in this way and an angle?

According to your drawing above, your land extends into the shared lane which grants access to all of the garages. So that means everybody owns a part that shared lane but of course there is a right of way across all of it for each garage.

I also have a sense that the concrete is not really the problem – but it is the fact that he has moved is boundary fence to take up some of your land. With this be a correct assessment?

Of course you don't really want the concrete there – but it doesn't impede you at all. It is his fence which is now on your land which is obstructing your access to a part of your own land

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Yes, the fence has been moved at a strange angle. I need to have a closer look and a photo to follow up the original I sent. I am guessing it is not correct to move this, be it 1 inch or 6 inches?

 

Correct, according to land survey and between the yellow lines on my drawing show the part I own, behind my own properties.

 

The concrete is a problem as it was all grass before and now it is concrete which is not what I want and don't believe is allowed to have done this? Photo and measurements to follow.

 

Where the fence has been moved it is in a gap you would struggle to fit along at the side of the garage. For example we had scaffold boards there once and you wouldn't get them where it has been moved. Thinking about it, the very end part of the fence I am sure is over further than it should be, but was like that when I moved in.

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Frankly I don't really know what you are saying. I'm a bit worried because your responses to this thread are starting to become a bit leisurely again.

If you end up wanting to take an action then you will have to get an independent report from a surveyor

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Which part is not clear?

 

I have just measured and it is 3.3 sq metres which has been concreted over.

 

I did say work is extremely busy at the moment, hence the delay.

 

I can provide photos to the admin address to follow the ones I sent the other day if you wish?

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Measured the gap and in my garden at the start of the garage there is 14" and in the lane where the fence has been moved is it 6" which shows the gradual positioning of the fence being moved has used/stolen 8" of land between the boundary fence and my garage.

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Afraid I still don't altogether understand the extent of the trespass. At the end of the day, it probably doesn't matter too much. The important thing is that you understand it, you can demonstrate it to a surveyor and then using a surveyor's report you can demonstrate it to a court

I hope you won't mind me saying but I think that you are having difficulty explaining it and this is going to cause a problem because if you do make a claim for trespass then you are going to have to be able to explain to a judge. A judge will want to know quite quickly exactly what the trespasses, the extent of it and also the back story.
I think that you are going to have to decide if you want to proceed to deal with this trespass. The advantages are that basically you draw a line in the sand and you make it clear to your neighbour that this behaviour can't go on. Proving the trespass is relatively easy because as I have already said, it is measurable and it is easy to prove because you will have to get a surveyor along you will confirm your story. After that it is slamdunk and your chances of success in court will be much better than 95%.

This hopefully will start to give you confidence in dealing with the other issues and also because you have got a judgement for trespass this will give you further ammunition when you want to start dealing with your neighbours in respect of their general attitude to you and their harassment. So bringing an action for trespass will bring you a lot of benefit. And that is in addition to the money that you would get and I would suggest that if you do bring the action then you would probably sue for a figure not exceeding £1000 – although we would have to see the report.

However, if you want to bring an action for trespass then I think that the next thing you're going to have to do is you're going to have to instruct a surveyor to come along, have a look at the land, prepare a report which will include diagrams and a description of what has happened and a comparison with the original filed plan.
This report will be expressed in a way which will be easy for a judge to understand and a judge will be completely comfortable of giving a judgement on that basis. There will be a fee for the report but on the basis that you win the case, the fee will be paid by your neighbour.

If you want to do this, there are two ways to go about it.
You could begin simply by getting the report and then sending your neighbour letter telling them that you want the trespass addressed and it has to end and that they must make good the land which they have taken from you. You would give them seven days to reply and then after that you would issue a letter of claim and then issue the claim.

Or, you could take a chance that your neighbours are going to cooperate – you could send a letter in advance, complaining about the trespass and asking them to remedy the trespass and see what they say. Then if they didn't respond or they became aggressive about it, you would then give them five days notice that you are commissioning a report and that you will be taking them to court and that you will expect them to pay for the cost of the report as well. Once you had received the report, you would then send them the letter of claim and then proceed.

Of course on the basis of what you have said above, the neighbours are not going to comply at all and in fact they're going to start getting a bit rough and nasty. I'm afraid that this unpleasantness is something that you are going to have to get ready to tolerate for the duration of the action.

It is likely to continue after the action – but in fact once the action started, I think you would be in a good position to ask the court for an order to prevent them from harassing you. And also you will be in a good position to bring the matter to a peak to the council and get the necessary order from them as well.

Of course you would be recording everything on cameras and also keeping daily notes of everything that happened.

So I think the question is do you want to address this. I have to say if you don't want to – or if you feel uncomfortable about doing it (and I wouldn't blame you) then I think that you will find that it is going to get worse. Clearly the neighbours now understand that you are not prepared to take any action and that they can bully you anyway they want.

I think it is time to bring it to a halt – and with our help you can. However once again, you're going to have to engage with it. The longer you allowed to go on, the more comfortable and the more bullish your neighbours are going to be about giving you a hard time.

So it's your choice.

If you do decide to proceed, then once you issue the letter of claim then you must go through with your threat. Don't bluff because if you do then that will be the end of it and you will incur the aggressive behaviour are neighbour and also extra confidence by them that actually you're not prepared to take any action at all.

So if you issue a letter of claim this means that you are absolutely going to go ahead, bring the action, and stop their aggressive behaviour towards you.




 

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You could be right and maybe I am not explaining this properly.

 

Regarding trespass, I don’t really fully understand it if I am honest and the word has only been mention by yourself and my house insurance legal advice line.

 

What you say makes sense and does seem quite straight forward explained that way.

 

Any idea how much a surveyor would charge?

 

Action needs to happen and I agree with your advice. To be honest I am not concerned about the idiot being aggressive or nasty, he wont even look at me if we are outside at the same time. More passive aggressive, sly and very good at doing things under the radar which are never enough to break the law etc… until now anyway.

 

From my perspective, the concrete is very clear, the fence a bit more tricky.

 

I sent you some more photos to the admin address which I have from partway through it being done.

 

Here is a sketch I just did which may help? It is almost like the new panel goes from my side of a post onto the end post with a bit added on. The result being it trims a good few inches off my land.

Fence 2.jpg

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There are several different types of trespass but here we are dealing with trespass to land.

Trespass to land is where somebody deals with your land as if it is their own by going onto it without permission or using it in some way without permission – or in extreme cases, effectively asserting their own ownership of it – as seems to be the case here.

In other words you own certain land and your neighbour has pushed is boundary and effectively "stolen" part of your land.

This amounts to a trespass and you can bring a claim in the County Court is for it for compensation – and if he refused to desist from the trespass then eventually you will get a court order preventing him from carrying on and there would be various sanctions if he defied the court order.

Trespass damages would be calculated according to any actual loss that you had suffered and also for trespass there is a measure of "punitive" damages which can be awarded for the insult which you have suffered by somebody depriving you of your property.

The actual loss that you appear to have suffered here is extremely low – but it would probably involve the cost of removing the concrete and restoring the boundary. I don't know what that would cost. In addition to that, there is the question of the insult. The level of punitive damages is decided by the court. You would want to limit it because you would want to limit your exposure to court costs so I would suggest that you claim a figure "not exceeding £1000 in the discretion of the court" – although given the level of trespass, £500 might be more reasonable. This would reduce your court costs a great deal and the court then might decide to what you a couple of hundred quid or if you are able to show evidence of provocation and that your reasonable requests that the trespass stop had been refused, then the court might decide to award you the maximum that you add asked for – the £500.

In fact I think that I would consider claiming about £650 so that if you could show good evidence of provocation then this would take very clearly over the £600 limit – including your actual losses – to put it within the realm of High Court enforcement so then you have a no-nonsense enforcement against your neighbour – which might will then bring everything to an end.

On the basis of what you say it seems to me that you have suffered quite a lot of provocation from your neighbour over the years. Of course it hasn't been helped by the fact that you seem to have put up with it which of course has encouraged your neighbour.

I still don't fully understand the extent of the trespass – so we have to rely on the fact that you are quite certain that your neighbour has encroached upon your property in the way that you say.

From what you say, your neighbour is so aggressive that even if you try to reach out to him amicably, he will rebuff you and simply provoke you even more. He may even try to suggest that you have provoked him.

I think you need to decide if you're going to take action. If you take action then you will win. There is pretty well known doubt. You say that you are prepared to tolerate the inevitable increase in aggression that will accompany an action. This is a decision you have to make.

If you want to bring this action then you will have to get an independent survey done. I don't know how much this is going to cost – but it is a necessary step.

I would suggest that you do the following things in this order.

First of all you contact a surveyor and get a quote for inspecting the area in dispute and comparing it to the filed plan and giving you a written report that your neighbour is encroached on your property and description of their encroachment. Get a quote for that.

Once you have that quote and you think you are prepared to pay that money (you'll get it back when you win) – then write to your neighbour and tell him that you are not happy about the way that he has encroached on your property and that you would like him to stop and to remedy the situation without any delay. Tell your neighbour that if that isn't done within seven days then you will be obliged to instruct a surveyor to prepare a report and that you will then begin a legal action and that you will be expecting your neighbour to pay for all of these costs. Tell your neighbour that you've already found a surveyor and tell your neighbour what the cost of the report will be. It's important to make sure that your neighbour is aware of every possible expense before it happens. You can also tell your neighbour that if he disagrees then he is welcome to produce his own surveyor to carry out an inspection in order to show that you are wrong.

You give him seven days. This letter would have been sent to your neighbour recorded delivery and also a copy posted through his letterbox by hand.

At the end of the seven days, instruct the surveyor to carry out the survey.

If the survey returns a report which supports your position then you would issue a letter of claim to your neighbour including a copy of the report showing that it has now been confirmed by an expert that the trespass has occurred. Want your neighbour that unless he takes immediate steps to remedy the trespass and also to pay for the cost of the report, that you will begin an action in the County Court. Give your neighbour 14 days.

At the end of the 14 days, if your neighbour has not done anything then you issue the claim. We will help you of course.

You shouldn't bluff. You should stick rigidly to your timescales and not get involved in any discussion which extends any time limits or get into any provocation.

That's what you should do. If you want to take this kind of action then let us know and start getting the quote for a survey.

If you don't want to take this action then frankly you better just stop and put up with it because it won't go away on its own.

I don't know if you are ever thinking of selling your property, but if you do then I'm afraid that this trespass and this dispute will put a blight on it and you won't be able to sell the property unless the whole situation is dealt with and resolved.

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Thank you BankFodder, really thank you for explaining this clearly in easy to understand steps.

 

I am feeling 100% better about this now as I have measured between the boundary fences at the front gates, front of house, back of house, just before garage and it is all consistently the same…until I measure behind my garage in the lane where the fence has been moved and it is 26 cm shorter! This is the part I ‘felt’ concerned about as the concrete is clear as day. I’ll get a photo from the roof tomorrow which should also help.

 

I would like to say now, if this goes to court and I win, as we hope I do, I am happy donate 10% to this forum as have found it invaluable over the years.

 

Regarding provocation, I have a plethora of photos of the neighbour parked over the edge of our drive, the env noise letters and fact an officer sat in our house listening to the loud music for an hour. I didn’t react to this as I believe the neighbour was hoping I would and think the concrete and fence moving are just further actions to provoke a reaction. Hopefully this could be all factored in? or maybe best sticking to the main fence/concrete part?

 

I have contacted the person who arranged my mortgage when I bought this place as may be an idea to get the same surveyor. I would hope it wouldn’t be too £££ as it just the fence/lane being checked.

 

One question, I have legal cover with my house insurance and a £250.00 excess. Am I best using this option or could they go off piste and not quite do things correctly/the way you advise on here?

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