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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9032
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My neighbour buys old cars and renovates them in his garage

Resolved Question:

My neighbour buys old cars and renovates them in his garage - I have tended to turn a blind eye because he works shifts for the ambulance service so does not work every day. Recently his son who no longer lives at home arrives when ever he is off shift with two friends - they all have old renovated classic cars - which they work on in his drive and garage and on occasions in the street.
What can I do
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

You say that you don’t want to cause any difficulties. What do you want to achieve?

Is this just an ordinary plain nuisance? Is he doing this as a business?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The man who owns the house has a passion for classic cars, he buys them as scrap then spends his leisure time restoring them. His children now share his passion and the elder boys now also have a classic car themselves. The oldest boy no longer lives here but comes with his mates (also classic car owners ) and they 'tinker' on the cars using the fathers garage and tools. I often have a car on the drive next door or in the cul de sac in front of my house with engines revving and the fumes filter into my home (if the windows are open) and garden.I have been here eight years and the problem has increased as the boys have grown up and learnt to drive.As to the outcome - I would just like to know what the law says about this kind of problems.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

It is very difficult to resolve this kind of issue without causing some problems. I will give you the legalities.

If he is doing this as a business, he needs planning permission. It doesn’t matter that he is working elsewhere, it depends whether it is a commercial enterprise. It seems not from what you have said that if it is, then he needs planning permission which is a matter for the Local authority Planning department.

With regard to the noise and general nuisance and the fumes, it may be something which the Environmental Health Department would get involved with and whether they do or whether they don’t, you still have a legal claim in common law private nuisance against the father for doing it, the children for doing it, and father for allowing the children to do it on his property.

If you have legal expenses insurance attached to your house insurances you may be able to get any legal costs covered by insurance which removes any risk involved with litigation.

Often, even if you have a quiet word about this, it can potentially spoil the relationship between you and the neighbour but that is across that you would have to bear and it would depend on how softly you approach this.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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Best wishes.


F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9032
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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