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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Solicitor / Lawyer to advise in a neighbor dispute

    Hi,

    oh boy, one of those neighbor from hell scenarios what you are watching on telly and you think, its just a show, fun to watch, might does not even exists, until now. Wink

    I am renovating a property currently, employed subcontractors, they are working on site for some weeks now.
    Direct neighbors are two elderly couple has nothing else on their hands than to make the renovation difficult for us.

    I am trying to liaise between the two parties to avoid the matter turning too serious.

    So far the complaints were:
    1, There is rubbish in our front/back garden (renovation materials) since then its removed but obviously new rubbish will be gathered soon.

    2, Builders tried to burn wood in the garden causing disturbance (can agree with that)
    Its now stopped, will not happen again.

    3, This is a terraced houses, so we should have got the neighbors permission to renovate as the properties are joined by the wall between them (of course its not necessary)

    4, Some party wall got damaged and now they are saying its a health hazard and they can not enjoy their home. I told them we will fix any damage caused by the renovation, but I am not 100% sure it was caused by us.

    We are not doing any work needs planning consent, replacing like with like (new bathroom, kitchen, carpet, ceiling, paint, etc)

    So, I am looking for a reliable solicitor/lawyer firm dealing with property matters to be involved in the mail correspondence between us and the neighbor and put some weight to our side of the story.

    Thanks much!
    Pete
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    Hi Pete,

    From what you have said, I would caution you about going legal on this.

    My advice would be to arrange a meeting with the two neighbours.

    Take some nice cakes and biscuits round and try and get to know them a bit.

    Tell them how much you respect that this is their neighbourhood and empathise with them that it must be a bit disconcerting for them to have builders next door.

    Ask them what you can do to make the process easier for them to bear. Tell them how important it is to you to work with them.

    Show them that you are a human being. Explain to them what you are hoping to achieve with the property.

    Basically, get them on-side.

    If you send them a legal letter, I can see this turning into a pi$$ing contest, of which there will be no winners.

    Eat a bit of humble pie and let them feel like they have some control over the situation.

    I suspect that if you do this, it will all fizzle out and they will become your allies. Smile
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    Thanks Vanessa for your reply!

    This is what we are trying to do at the moment, I am emailing her with the most polite way I ever did in my life. The director of the builder team will visit her to discuss matters further.
    We are hoping the best but I also want to be prepared for the worst.

    At this stage they can cause a lot of trouble for us as it is easy and cheap (free) for them, if I move the case to legal grounds, they will have to pay for legal advice and representation, so I would not be surprised if their tone changed then.

    Thanks much,
    Pete
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    Hello Pete,

    We had the same problem last year, ours was the daughter of an elderly lady looking to make a quick buck!

    I agree with Vanessa but unfortunately some people, no matter how nice you are will still try to drag you through the mud...

    In the end we offered to pay for an independent Party Wall surveyor of her choice and covered her legal fees, thats what it took to make the problem go away. It was a painful process all for no reason at all but I guess its all part and parcel of this game.

    Anyway, the surveyor we ended up using was very thorough and knowledgeable. His name is Patrick Moyle and he works for Brian Gale Surveyors (https://www.briangalesurveyors.com).

    Goodluck!
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    Hi Pete,

    I am sure this series of events can happen easily, especially if neighbours are at home all day and are constantly disturbed by the noise and mess of a renovation, with terraced houses/flats being by far the worst.

    My strategy has always been to introduce myself to neighbours before work starts, explaining my plans and timescales. If extensions are planned, I send all neighbours copies so they feel empowered and up to date. Normally, because the house is in such a state and I am coming along to improve the property (and therefore the value of the neighbours' properties to some extent), neighbours are pleased that I am going to do the work if a little apprehensive about the distruption. This I manage by ensuring all work is Monday to Friday, 8 to 6 only. No weekend unless an emergency deadline. I leave them my mobile number for raising concerns and chat to them if I see neighbours when at the property. Builders are told to be considerate with parking by me - and their radio, especially if I can see some neighbours are getting bothered. My logic is from the outset to get and keep neighbours on side. They are my allies and will hopefully keep an eye on the place when it is rented or empty whilst awaiting sale.

    Of course, some are utterly unreasonable - but I don't get the impression that these are being. More just irritated and disempowered.

    So, I definitely think Vanessa has the right idea - cake (wine as well!), apologies for not keeping them properly informed, with an idea of timescales when work will be finished. Humble pie so much better than legal. A visit from you rather than your builder would be so much more effective since they have no vested interest. And legal disputes have to be stated at sale....not good!.
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    Here you can read and see how the owner of the house destroyed the drains canall  and home  the neighbor.

    https://www.propertytribes.com/disrepair...39833.html

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    hi pete

    show them this picture and tell them how lucky they are im not renovating next door to them, should help things along https://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=dbqk3&s=9#.XQ-rWOhKiM8

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