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Hi, I'm having the block-paving replaced on my driveway. The driveway butts up against my neighbour's block paving. Before work began, the driveways were same height due to the fact that they had bowed and dipped together over the years – they were built by my neighbour. My new driveway will follow a correct completely plumb line so at the lower 50% of the drive will be about 20mm higher. It's not a shared driveway as the deeds show a boundary line where the two driveways meet. To resolve this this difference of levels, the builder was going to put a 'low' half-block dividing line, on my side of the boundary– approx. 2 inches high. My elderly neighbour has commented this will be a trip hazard when he exits his vehicle. (He has a narrow driveway with a high wall on one side so he can only exit on one side – my side. It means he has to step onto my driveway which isn't a problem). He is adamant that my driveway should follow the contours of his undulating driveway which would mean a sub-standard build. I and the builders are reluctant to do this as the works are costing almost £6k and we would be building in defects. *QUESTION 1* By law, if I add a short raised block that is within my boundary line, but butting up against the neighbour's drive, am I potentially liable if he trips? The only practical compromise is to stop my driveway 100mm short of his boundary and have a concrete/cement patch gradient lowering to his level. The height difference would be there but softened. His counter argument was that this would encourage water to run off onto his driveway where it meets the road. (Both driveways are in front of the houses, sloping steeply down to the road so there is no possibly of it affecting his property. My driveway will have a land-drain/soakway along the bottom as per building regs. Adding the raised block would actively divert the water away from his drive and into my new drain gully. Ironically his front garden alongside his driveway has unlevel paving slabs, shingle with stepping stones with handmade steps to his house, so there multiple trip hazards on his own property. Any advice appreciated :-) Many thanks.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you.
I think that if you do leave the rise of 2 inches at your boundary knowing that your neighbour will step there and then he trips there suffering an injury then you could be liable for that. Your gradient solutions sounds like a good idea.
The Occupier's Liability Act 1957 imposes upon the occupier a duty of are. The occupier must "take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there". The standard of care an occupier is expected to meet is the standard of "a reasonable occupier", no different from the usual common law negligence standard of care.
Many thanks. The neighbour was concerned that with a gradient between the two levels, the water might run off onto his driveway and cause him problems. Effectively a raised divider marking the boundary would prevent that. Does the law permit me to install a higher divider, such as a 2ft high wall or fence – that wouldn't be classed a trip hazard?
You can put a fence up at the edge of your property if you wish to do so unless there is something in the deeds etc that prevents you from doing so.
Many thanks. Would there be a regulation that defines the minimum height of what constitutes a boundary fence? I.e. what is considered a fence/boundary divider? Local building regulations confirm they don't cover driveways and GOV.UK doesn't offer details.
There is no regulation re: minimum height but a very low one may be a trip hazard itself.