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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I live in a terraced property built in 1909. We have access

Resolved Question:

I live in a terraced property built in 1909. We have access to the rear of our property (including barrow rights according to our deeds) via a passageway from the road, down the side and across the rear of my neighbour's property. He has tried to make it difficult for us to use this access, including having dogs running free etc. Recently, he has built a 7' high fence set to an angle from our rear gate, which restricts the gap at one point to 730mm between fence and his property wall. This would make it almost impossible to have furniture, and other goods such as washing machines etc. to be delivered to our rear door. The access down the passageway between the houses is 900mm. Should this width not be kept as a minimum? Thanks

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Has he done this intentionally?
What is the exact wording in the deeds?
Do you think he has done this intentionally and if so, why?
Is he trying to stop you using it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo

Apologies for my late reply, but have been called in to work unexpectedly, so this from my office.

It's been done intentionally in my opinion, but obviously this would not be proven. He has 5 dogs and would probably claim it was to keep them enclosed.

Since they first moved in some 8 years ago, they have tried to get us to use our front door. When we complain about their dogs jumping up at us and barking when we use the right of way, their reply is "Use your front door then". Then we get the usual "Get off my f****** property"

I can't get the exact wording from the deeds until this evening when I get home, but it does mention that we have easements and quasi-easements and barrow way.

The 7ft high fence looks an eyesore as it goes at about 45 degrees from our gatepost, making the narrowest part 730mm. The width of our right of way between the houses to access the rear is 900mm.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My concern generally is the restricted width of access (730mm). Was unrestricted as such previously.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It would be really useful if I had the exact wording.
He is allowed to have a fence which is 2 m high without planning permission unless it is adjacent to a highway.
You are also entitled not to be harassed when using this and the issue of the dogs and his conduct is likely to be harassment which is a police matter. They may not be interested in sadism civil matter and while the dispute is a civil matter, being harassed and intimidated is a police issue. I am certain that when he swears that you, you feel threatened and you may even fear violence. If that is the case, call the police.
With regard to the width of the Access way a wheelbarrow used to be the pedestrian standard. I have measured the width of my wheelbarrow and the handles are 600 mm apart, allowing a bit of clearance for your hands and at the widest part that would make it about 700 mm.
The reference to a Barrow way means that you can go on Fort but not with vehicles and generally with or without a load that one person might be expected to carry pushing a wheelbarrow trolley or program or wheeling a bicycle. Just because you cannot carry a three-piece suite or anything launched down there does not necessarily mean that he is obstructed your right.
Whether the right is obstructed or not is a matter of fact and looking at each case on its merits and demerits. I think if he had reduced this to 600 mm you would have a cause of action against him. At 750 mm I think you would struggle because it is just a little narrower, by about half an inch, to a standard domestic internal door.
I'm sorry if this last part is bad news for you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Just hanging on whilst I can get to my deeds in around an hours time if that's ok Jo.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
That's fine. Just post up again when you have them.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo

This statement pops up in most of the documents I have relating to the deeds etc. This is from the Vesting Assent:

'The property comprised in this Assent is vested in the Tenant for life together with all such rights of way light easements or quasi-easements as are at present used and enjoyed between the property the subject of this assent and the adjoining property*****(we are number 13) aforesaid and in particular the right of foot and barrow way over the side and rear of the said adjoining property to afford access to the property the subject of this Assent'

This was dated 1959 when the house was inherited by a relative of the deceased owner.

There are no given measurements for the right of way.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo

Will give you rating after your reply, but have to go out now and not back until 11.30 pm.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. That is useful but unfortunately, it doesn't change my answer and whilst the width of the gate that he has put in is borderline, I do not think that it is actionable. It is certainly not worth the risk of going to court.
I think I covered the intimidating behaviour above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Think I may have to get further advice on this, as the way the fence is angled, easy access with a wheelbarrow may not be possible.

Than kyou for giving your attention to my problem.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem.
Please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69993
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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