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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23698
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Please could you clarify and inform me of my rights in terms

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Hi,Please could you clarify and inform me of my rights in terms of Housing law whether the landlord should have considered our rights in the following situation.For the benefit of this scenario, I am Tenant A and the neighbour is Tenant B.The situation affecting us as a family is that both we Tenant A and B live in terraced properties next door to each other,  both properties are owned by the same housing association landlord.The issue is that Tenant A (myself) has shared access to an alleyway and, in order to access it, A has to go through B's backyard.B has a pet dog, a bull terrier-type dog, that we are fearful of, and are therefore hesitant to pass through B's property as the dog roams there freely.My questions are:1. Should our landlord have considered the fact that Tenant A may have an issue using the shared access if Tenant B is granted permission to keep a pet dog?2. Would property B  therefore be considered suitable for allowing pets?The Landlord has now stated that my concerns regarding the dog will be investigated , but  I would not be updated as it involves another tenancy.I feel this is unfair because I also have a right to use the shared access to the alleyway which therefore concerns and affects me ,and should for that reason be informed and updated of the outcome of their investigation .3. Do I have the right to be updated regarding the Landlords investigation as it does directly affect me and it was myself  that raised the issue with them in the first place?I would appreciate your advice and assistance in this matter,Kind Regards

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Where does this alleyway lead?

and how long have you and your neighbours been there?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Hi, thank you for your response.
The alleyway leads to the public footpath .I have been here for 20 years . The neighbours have been here for less than a year.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
public pavement (onto the street)

Rather than refer to tenant A and B it’s easier just to refer to me and/or the neighbour.  Makes much more sense otherwise we have to remember who is who as we read.

Although it may not sound like it, this is a case of obstruction in my opinion.

I will give you some background on obstruction.

This right-of-way is said to be obstructed if the right-of-way is “substantial”.

What is substantial as a matter of the facts.

If for example the right-of-way is 20 feet wide and there was a bin on it, then it is not substantial obstruction.

If on the other hand there is only just enough room to get a car down in the right-of-way is on foot and with vehicles, and there is a bin on it, and it is a substantial obstruction IF it is there all the time.

It would not be a substantial obstruction it was only there for 30 minutes per week UNLESS it was every time you were going to go to work at that time.

Gates are probably the most common substantial obstruction that we get asked about.

A gate on a pedestrian right-of-way which simply swings open is not a substantial obstruction unless it would prevent, for example, someone with a wheelbarrow going through it as would happen with a swinging gate.

A locked gate which requires a key and for someone to get out of the car, open the gate, drive through, get back out of the car, close the gate, and drive on, is almost certainly substantial obstruction.

It is probably a substantial obstruction if it closes automatically and there is no lock.

In your case what you have here is a dog.  Let’s exaggerate to prove the point.  Let’s say it’s a huge vicious whatever it is, with huge teeth and a dribbling mouth that growls and leaps people and is really intimidating.  That in effect stops you using the right-of-way and it is in my opinion substantial obstruction.

This is potentially an issue for the landlord because the landlord is allowing this to happen.

You have the right to have the obstruction removed.  I think you have a substantial complaint to make to the housing association about the nature of this dog because I can understand why, with that type of dog, you are extremely nervous.  I would be.

The housing association don’t do anything about it, the major complaint of the Housing Ombudsman.

From experience, I can tell you that it always is the newcomer that causes the problem and your situation is no different.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Thank you very much for your time and In-depth response,This clarifies the situation for me.If I may, could you please elaborate on question 3, regarding whether I have the right to be informed/ updated by the Landlord on the status of their investigation.Kind regards

They have no statutory duty to advise you of that but it would be good practice of them to do so.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Once again, thank you for your assistance and advice, I greatly appreciate it.

It was my pleasure to assist you. Please come back if anything else crops up and needs clarification.
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