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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9684
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am seeking some advice regarding my neighbours and their

Customer Question

good evening
i am seeking some advice regarding my neighbours and their property.
We own a derelict barn in Norfolk and this year started revonvating the property after obtaining planning consent.
One of the first jobs was to rebuild the roof and the walls one of which boarders our neighbour.
After speaking to the neighbour and explaining that we needed scaffolding erected in their garden for around 12 weeks in order for us to complete the work they agreed and work commenced.
For one reason or another the job has ta***** *****er than expected, we are now in week 14 and we probably need another 4-6 weeks to finish.
The neighbour contacted my builder 2 weeks ago and asked for me to supply gates to his property for compensation. I had some secondhand gates so offered him them which he agreed to.
Another week has now passed and the neighbour has had a change of heart he no longer wants gates he wants £1500 as compensation.
Can you give me some advice please ?
Regards Jason
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

The neighbour is certainly entitled to something in respect of the disruption to his property and inconvenience which he agreed was going to be 12 weeks but is now it seems running into probably 18 weeks.

On a strict interpretation, and looking at this as though it’s a contract, there was an agreement for you to have it in place for the longer period in exchange for the gates. There was an offer of the gates in exchange for the consent and he accepted it. Hence there is an agreement, there is consideration of value and therefore he is bound by what he agreed.

Of course, this was a verbal and he can deny that.

If he is minded, he can say that (lie) it was only ever for a 12 week period and that he wants it gone and if you don’t move it within the next few days, he will apply to court for an injunction and legal costs, to make you remove it. That’s the risk.

If the court believe him, he will get the injunction and he will get costs awarded against you and that’s likely to be more than £1500. If you defend the action, your solicitors costs allowed are going to be several thousand pounds. If you lose, you would have to pay your loan solicitors cost plus his solicitors cost. He may not have the money to take the matter to court or the wish but it’s a risk.

Strictly speaking, he is entitled to nothing but it’s going to be cheaper to come to a financial arrangement with him that it is to risk going to court and ultimately deal with the court proceedings. I would probably offer him half of what he is asking for and ultimately, if he is adamant that he wants £1500, it’s going to be cheaper to pay him but get it in writing and get the period extended to 24 weeks from the beginning so that he can’t come back to you in another six weeks with his hand out.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes

FES

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
can you offer any advice on how to reply to his request, should we put this in writing now or keep it informal?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel that he is taking advantage of my good nature.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

If he has put the request in writing, reply in writing. I think what he’s doing is not so much taking advantage of your good nature but taking advantage of the fact that you are now partway through this and have to continue.

If you have a property which is better than his, he may be jealous and if he thinks that it’s going to be an asset for you and you may make money from it, he may begrudge that.

If however he had not given you the consent in the first place, you would have had to make other arrangements. If you are building up to the boundary, the Party Wall Act allows you to have access onto the neighbouring land but there is no provision in the Act for putting scaffolding up.

His request request was verbal, have a chat with him but then follow it up in writing saying that you’ve put it in writing purely so that this a record of what was agreed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advise. Hv a good evening.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I’m glad that I was able to help. Best wishes.