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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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The council is forcing me to give up my rights to access

Customer Question

I have legal rights to use a path leading from my garden through a council property garden and onto the street, this path is a shared access for us and the council tenants next door. I've been using this access for the last 7 years for deliveries and taking my wheely bins. The council tenants have always been obstructing the path and I have complained to the council, provided them with evidence over the past 3 years. Every time it complained the path got cleared for a few day, but for the past 5 months I have totally been unable to take my bins out, I've informed the council regarding this and kept being told ther're dealing with the issues. My neighbour's dogs have broken into my garden several times and also killed 1 of my pets and injured 2 others, the council have refused to take any action. I have been waiting for the council to remove the rubbish from my garden but was tol by them that it's my responsibility as it's my bins. The council admits that I have full legal rights to use the access 24/7 but at the same time they have told me to start taking my wheely bins 'through my house and out the front door even though they know it's impossible for a tiny person to lift a wheely bin up a step plus I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and rib problems carsed by trying to move heavy things out of the path, I can not let my DISABLED son use my garden for much needed exercise nor can I let my animals and poultry out in my garden. I can't find a legal aid solicitor to help me with this. Please tell me what I can do as I'm now being threatened with environmental health ans social services by other neighbours who are concerned with the amount of rubbish in my garden. Thank you. Please help
Tilbury, Essex
P.s I can't afford a solicitor as I'm currently unemployed and looking after my children (5 years old disabled son and 1 year old baby girl) I'm also a single parent.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
LondonlawyerJ :

Hello, I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this. Have the council said what they are doing to try to sort out the problem?

Customer : The council said they''ve written to their tenants asking them to make sure the path is accessible at all times, their dogs should be kept in their garden and not on the path, they have to move everything from the path, the council have also said they have put in a request for the gate & fence to be replaced. But the council have been saying these same things to me for the past 3 years. The council have also (in a recent letter) said that I'm not cooperating, that if I couldn't use the back access I should just tahe my wheely bins through my house and out the front and it's my fault there's a build up of waist in my garden so it's my responsibility to pay to have it removed.
Customer : I have been telling the council via email & telephone for months that I am totally unable to access the back path, before the build up of rubbish and the council kept saying they're dealing with the situation.
Customer : I feel like the council are trying for trick/force me into giving up my rights to access, they know they can't stop me using the path as it's on the house deeds so they' purposely let my garden get into this state so that I'll have no choice but to pay for the collection of this rubbish and get fed up and stop using the back path myself. Is there any way I can sue the council for this and the damage to my ribs and back? How do I take the council to court myself with out solicitors as I can't afford it and the council knows this
Customer : Thank you for your help
LondonlawyerJ :

How exactly are the neighbours preventing you from using the right of way?

Customer : The neighbours put a wheely bin against the gate originally filled with electronic goods such as big old televisions microwave etc but now filled to the top with dirt. There are car parts, tyres, bricks, scooter and motorbike on the path and if I try going through the back way their dogs come running. I've emailed lots of pictures of these things to the council and the local housing officer along with a member of environmental health also came and took pictures of this.
Customer : Every time the council warns the neighbours, they move some of the things out of the way but the heavy wheely bin and the dogs are always there. I'm a very tiny person (4'11) uk size 6 I can't possibly move that bin specially now that I'm constantly in pain. But right now my biggest problem is 5 months of rubbish in my garden because of which my disabled son is unable to use the garden my animals are always in their pens (sleeping area) and inside my home, I feel the council should remove the rubbish as it's their fault
LondonlawyerJ :

Thankyou for this. I will answer you later this afternoon or in the evening as I will be busy until then. Hope that is OK.

Customer : Yes that would fine. Thank you and I sure hope you can help or at least tell me what to do. Thanks again
Customer : Hi. Please let me know if you are unable to answer so I can start looking at other sites as this is quite urgent for me, I asked the question on this site on 14/07/2014 at approximately 11:30 am and was expecting some sort of help quickly, as no one answered the customer service team put my question on High Urgency that afternoon. I appologise for rushing you but I am quite desperate and if I don't sort this out quickly I think I'm gonna have a nervous breakdown! Thank you
LondonlawyerJ :

I think you are in a difficult position. You have rights but there is no obvious way of enforcing them. The council took take action but are reluctant to do so. Their tenants are behaving in an antisocial way and they could threaten possession proceedings if they continue. I know that you are getting blamed by the Environmental Health Department but asking them for help may be the best way forward. They have a duty to deal with environmental health threats and you need to make it clear that the neighbours are the cause of the build up.

Customer : I've already complained to the antisocial team, they visited both properties and nothing got done. I emailed them several times months ago but they are not responding. I've emailed the housing team again last week but they aren't responding either. Environmental health originally said the housing department will deal with the rubbish but now are saying that it's my responsibility. I know I have rights as I consulted a solicitor 3 years ago who sent the council letters & paperwork proving my rights on that path. I want to take the council to court or at least get an apology and my garden cleared but I can't afford a solicitor so I need to know from what I can do myself to get this. Is there any way I can sue them or take action against them? If nothing can be done, what sort of punishment am I looking at if I were to dump all the rubbish outside the council office keeping in mind I've never been in trouble with the police, no criminal record, never done anything illegal in my life, I've had great jobs and can get references from professionals