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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 775
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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We own a property (presently let) with a shared access through

Customer Question

We own a property (presently let) with a shared access through a passageway to the rear entrances and gardens of both properties. In March of 2013 new tenants took possession of the bar/ restaurantnext door and changed all the locks including that on the door which provided us with the access to our rear entrance and garden. They then refused to give us a key. They were supported in this action by a local lawyer who maintained that the flawed lease provided by their landlord did not require them to give us access.
In normal circumstances all we would have to do would be to insist that their landlord (the freeholder) provide us with a key. Unfortunately this lady had been "persuaded" to give up her right to a key and she not able to help. Eventually we made life so uncomfortable that the tenant felt it was preferable to co-operate and we regained access.
When we inspected the passageway in Jan 2014 we discovered that insulated pipes and electrical cables had been attached to our wall. We wrote to their lawyer complaining that this constituted a trespass and that his clients must remove and re-route them. He ignored our complaint. Eventually we got the tenant to admit to responsibility for this work in writing. After some delay we felt we had to insist that the work was put in hand and gave a deadline of Friday 3 October 2014. Their immediate response to this was to deny responsibility for the electric cable. (They have tacitly agreed to work on the insulated pipes). We have no means of proving whether or not they were responsible for the cable and this work could well have been carried out by the previous tenant who left the premises just prior to Christmas 2012.
We have contacted Scottish and Southern Energy our local supplier and they have advised that they have no record of such work having been undertaken at this address. It seems that either the current or the previous tenant might have illegally fitted the power cable.
Can you advise?
Peter and Jennifer Cutmore
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
LondonlawyerJ :

Hello, I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

LondonlawyerJ :

Are you confident that the external wall that the pipes are attached to belong to you. The wires serve the restaurant and whoever put them in this will amount to a trespass. Are you worried about the safety of the wiring or that it might be illegal abstraction.

Customer: Thank you for your note.
Customer: We are sure of our position regarding the ownership of the wall and the trespass. The following is quoted from a letter written by the tenant of the bar to their solicitor after requesting, for financial reasons, that we defer the removal of the pipes and cable.
Customer: Letter heading: Erroneous fixing of pipes and cables to the wall of Solent Prospect 11a Gosport Street, Lymington.
Customer: "Thank you for agreeing to defer the re-routing of the above pipes and cables.
Customer: We hereby acknowledge the necessity to a remove these fixtures from your wall and will undertake this work before we finally vacate the premises of*****or, in any event, before the termination of our present lease at the end of February 2028.
Customer: This letter is copied to our solicitor, Philip Salt, to instruct him to formalise this agreement as a legal undertaking."
Customer: The above letter is dated 18 April 2014. After interminable delays we eventually felt it necessary to insist on the work being done and on 22 August 2014 we wrote saying that if the work was not completed by Friday 3 October we would commence legal action. At this stage and for the first time the tenant refused responsibility for the fixing of the electric cable. (No mention was made of the pipes and we know from conversation with him that he had these fitted). We accept that it could have been the previous tenants who fixed a new electricity cable and we contacted SSE. They advised that they could find no record of work having been undertaken at the address and further advised us that if the work had been done without their knowledge and approval it would have been an illegal act. We have no reason to believe the installation is unsafe nor do we believe their is any attempt to abstract electricity illegally
Customer: We fear that the situation might blight the property and feel we should regularise the position. If the tenant does not re-route the pipes by 3 October we will wish to take action against him and we will seek to have all costs awarded against him.
Customer: On reflection we believe that if the cable was fitted illegally it was probably in an effort to minimise cost rather than for any other, more worrying, reason.
LondonlawyerJ :

There is a lot there. I have been in court all day and now need to go and pick up my children. I will answer later this evening.

Customer: We have found that we are unable to edit our previous wording so must ask you to excuse mistakes. Most particularly, the letter quoted was addressed to us and copied to the tenant's solicitor. This is a pretty uncomfortable site on which to communicate . If you would prefer - as we would, our email address is : *****@******.***.
Customer: Don't worry about having to sort out your life we are very happy to go at the speed you can manage.
Customer: Regards.
Customer: Peter and Jennifer Cutmore
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 775
Experience: Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
LondonlawyerJ and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I am talking to the boss please give this man a chance to settle the children.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Hello again and thank you for your patience there was something wrong on this site last night that meant I cold not reply. As the pipes are on your property and you can use your property more or less as you wish you can very likely employ an electrician to remove the cables. Likewise you can disable/remove the pipes. However this will have a drastic effect on the bar/restaurant and could lead to a claim against you in some circumstances.

A concern I do have is whether you have agreed to not enforce your rights until 2028? I take it you have not.

You should get an electrician to quote for the work and send a letter (probably should be from a solicitor) explaining your position and demanding that they remove the offending wiring and pipes by a set deadline or you will remove them.

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