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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 13377
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My neighbour claims that a contractor I hired to replace my

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My neighbour claims that a contractor I hired to replace my fencing has damaged her gate (my property and 3 others) enjoy the “benefits” of shared access (ROW). She is the end of the terrace and has had a lock put on the gate and supplied keys to neighbours, but she does like to control what goes on. QShe has been present whilst works have been going on over a period of 3 days. At the end of the first days works, I became aware of an issue, and she asked me to contact the contractors public liability insurers. As the contractor would be there the next day, I suggested she not use me as a go between and speak to the contractor herself. The next day, I asked the contractor to speak with her, but she refused to open the door. She has put a lock on the gate, and blocked access twice during the three days. The contractor spoke to her directly, explaining that the cause of the damage to her fence was in fact because the posts are rotting, leaving it slightly loose, but by no means dangerous. He had offered to do something to fix her fence for her, free of charge, not because he has done anything, but because he is a decent guy and wanted to be able to get on with his work without further interference. On the last day, we had access initially, but she then stole the key back, causing further delays of 4 hours.What I want to know is, is she legally allowed to have a lock on the gate at all? Can I ask her to remove the lock? In an emergency situation , surely people don’t want to be fumbling about for keys? And I assume that because she is not accusing me directly of having damaged her fence I am not liable to pay any claim she might attempt to make especially as the contractor spoke to her about this?

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Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1.  The first thing is that your neighbour who has the lock on the gate to the right of way, has a right to do so, but she must provide keys to everyone who lawfully uses the right of way.   There is nothing which prevents her from doing so in law.  So long as there is any danger of trespassers over the right of way, she is entitled to place a lock on it, provided she doesn´t interfere with the lawful access to the right of way.  In your situation, this lady neighbour at the end of the terrace was not allowed to prevent access to your contractor when he needed to do work.  That was an unlawful interference with the use of the right of way and you can sue h er in damages for doing so.  However, the amount awarded in compensation would be small.

2.  The second thing is that you are not liable to the lady at the end of terrace for her fence posts being rotten and needing replacing.  Essentially, she must replace her own fence posts.  The lady at the end of terrace is well aware that she cannot make you liable for this matter and this is why she hasn´t accused you of damaging her fence.

3.  If you require any clarification or if there is additional information you wish to share, I will be happy to assist further in the resolution of your question.

Buachaill, Barrister
Satisfied Customers: 13377
Experience: Barrister 17 years experience
Buachaill and other Republic of Ireland Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thank you for your reply - very helpful. For me, it isn’t so much about money or compensation but more about putting her in her place as she bullies people. Her immediate neighbours also have problems with her and another neighbour actually moved because of her behaviour. I am seeing an easement dispute solicitor later today and my hope is that he will be able to write a strongly worded letter to put her back in her box.