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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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AlexYou answered my question about the extractor fan.

Resolved Question:

Hi Alex

You answered my question about the extractor fan. I have another question about my lease regarding my garden.

When I bought my flat in 2008 I put up fencing in my rear garden and a pergola. It is a standard size fence and as I am in the basement, it does not come up very high on the neighbour’s side who is on the upper ground floor. The neighbour complained to the freeholder about my fence, the management company then wrote to me to telling me to remove the fencing and pergola stating a clause in the lease:

 

‘Not to…make any alteration whatsoever in the plan or elevation (of the Demised Premises) either internally or externally…and not to make any addition temporary or otherwise to any part of the demised premises.’

I noticed that a lot of the other neighbours in the block have fences and sheds in their gardens so I wrote back to the Freeholder via the management company to advise as such. I then sought advice from the Leasehold Advisory Service who advised that I could argue this case based on the neighbours having erected fences/sheds etc and to advise that I have the right to take the Freeholder to the Leasehold Valuation Service (I think it was the LVT but my notes are on another computer in storage).

I wrote to the Freeholder with photos of all the neighbours gardens where they had put up fences and sheds and noted that it was unfair to ask me to remove my fencing and pergola when other leaseholders had erected fences and sheds. I then stated that if I were to be forced to remove my fence and pergola, then all leaseholders should be required to do the same.

The Freeholder then dropped this issue and told the neighbour that if he still had a complaint about my fence and pergola, he should take it up with me and try to discuss it on a personal level as it was no longer an issue they would pursue.

That was in 2008. A few years later the neighbour that complained actually put up fencing himself.

We then purchased Share of Freehold in 2011.

Last week I received a letter from the management company on behalf of the Directors of the Freehold company stating that:

 

We write at the request of the Directors of your Freehold Company with regard to the structure that has been constructed to the rear of your property.

 

Please may we remind you that under the terms of your lease you are obliged :

 

‘Not to…make any alteration whatsoever in the plan or elevation (of the Demised Premises) either internally or externally…and not to make any addition temporary or otherwise to any part of the demised premises.’

 

Given the terms of your lease you are requested to remove the construction. Please would you arrange for it to be removed promptly so that it does not impede the construction of scaffolding for the redecoration of the rear elevation of the building.

One of the surveyors from the management company came to the building to sort out some other issues and bumped into me and asked me about my ‘structure’ or ‘extension’ in the garden. I believe that the neighbours keep calling it a structure as they cannot see over my fence so they think it is some kind of extension with a roof. I advised the surveyor that it is not an extension, only a freestanding pergola with 4 bits of timber as the main frame and the frame on top with some bamboo laid across the top for privacy from my neighbours upstairs. I confirmed the bamboo can simply be removed when they put in scaffolding for the major works so that wasn’t a problem.

He said he didn’t realise it was a pergola and said he personally

wouldn’t have an issue with that but because the Directors have requested it to be removed because they don’t like it, he had to look at it to determine if it can stay or not as he has the final say being the surveyor for the management company.

 

My question is, given that the pergola is a freestanding object and the neighbours also have sheds and fencing in their garden as already stated in 2008, can they still request that I remove the fence and pergola now? Or can I argue again as I previously did in 2008 that the pergola is no different to the neighbours/other leaseholders having fences or sheds and if mine has to come down, everyone has to do the same?

 

Everything has been in place since I bought the flat in 2008, over 7 years. Does that give me any rights?

 

Where do I stand and what are my rights please?

I am also in the process of putting my flat on the market for sale (will be on the market by the weekend) so do not want any continuing issues and want to resolve this but I feel it is totally unreasonable and unfair to single me out as leaseholder but not make the same request to anyone else.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
I agree with you, if its a structure with no roof, or fixed then they can't do anything. Imagine if you put a table outside, is that a structure, technically it would be,
So I think you have no issue here. Invite them to come round and have a look, to also see what your neigubour has done.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, I have paid for the telephone service, please can you call me on the number below. Please try the landline first. I am free now if you are?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
I am just on the train. I can call you in around 1/2 hr?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, that's fine, shall we say 10.45? Did you receive my contact numbers?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Yes I have your numbers.
Alex
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?
If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There is no option to rate!