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Can a neighbour dispute a boundary when we've just bought a property?

Discussion in 'Your Projects' started by Rachel Fryer, 18 Jul 2019.

  1. Rachel Fryer

    Rachel Fryer

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    Hi

    We bought a house one year ago which we're having major renovations done on. Since we moved in they have complained that our gutter overhangs their boundary even though it was like that when we moved in.

    Do they have grounds to complain if they didn't complain to the previous owners? They claim that the gutter extension was done in the last few years and they thought about complaining but then didn't.

    Advice gratefully received.
     
  2. footprints

    footprints

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    If you are having major renovations done there are all sorts of issues with neighbours that can crop up quite apart from the noise disturbance works cause, best to get on good terms.
    Strictly your neighbour is correct your gutter should not overhang their property unless they had agreed to it, it depends if the problem can be resolved (without moving your walls back from the boundary) I would if possible do it to show good will.
    Maybe a picture might help in getting suggestions.
     
  3. jonbey

    jonbey

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    Look at the planning permission on the local council website - see the dates for the work done, see if distances to boundary were mentioned. Although they can complain, if they did not object at the time then you have a case to do nothing.

    And if the gutter was not there, who would suffer most? OK, you might get damp problems ... but they'd get wet!
     
  4. Rachel Fryer

    Rachel Fryer

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    One option is to create a box gutter but it's more expensive and the builders don't recommend it as it's harder to maintain. Would the previous owners have needed planning permission to have a gutter? They had an extension years earlier but this bit of gutter apparently appeared recently. Although who can prove when this happened I guess is questionable.
     
  5. jonbey

    jonbey

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    Some advice here
    https://www.lyonsdavidson.co.uk/can-homeowners-overhanging-eaves-gutters/

    Can't imagine an extension being built without a gutter - building regulations have something to say about gutters.

    "A word of caution is necessary here, however: a gutter overhanging many feet up in the air may be considered by the court as a trivial trespass. Unless you can show some real harm or serious implication requiring its removal, then the court may not order its removal and can penalise parties for bringing trivial cases."

    Is this a 2 storey extension or single? Chances are, their only option is to take you to court, and a judge might rule that the gutter stays as it has been since before you bought the house.
    Maybe they are just trying it on as they had no luck with the previous owners. And maybe they had problems with the previous building work and are worried similar issues will arise again.

    Also, if there was any dispute before, this should have been raised when you bought the house. I think you'd be in a strong position to sue the conveyancer or previous owner if there was any cost involved.
     
  6. footprints

    footprints

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    I guess the question is why was an extra bit of gutter fixed was it to solve a problem or just to feed a water butt?
     
  7. jonbey

    jonbey

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    and ....

    "A buyer can still sue you years after you’ve moved out, if you sold them a home and didn’t declare any neighbourly disputes, so it’s not something that you are able to run away from. There’s no point in cutting corners or taking any gambles where the declaration of neighbourly disputes is concerned."

    So you could diplomatically ask the neighbour if they had formally complained about the gutter to the previous owner. If no, then again, I think you will be OK to hold your ground. If yes, then things will get really interesting. But unless there is a solution that involves no gutter overhang at all, then what really can be done?
     
  8. Notch7

    Notch7

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    Maybe the gutter has been overhanging for donkeys years.

    Can a gutter get adverse possession?

    You know what they say: you cant choose your neighbours.......
     
  9. Rachel Fryer

    Rachel Fryer

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    Thanks for your help. Builders are looking into whether we can have a slightly smaller gutter which is the best solution. I think the previous owners created a larger gutter recently, but I don't know why. I think our existing neighbours didn't have the courage to complain to the previous owners so I don't think there was any type of dispute but now we're at the receiving end of that as they're taking it out on us! But for other reasons we've had to agree where the boundary is and the existing gutter is 25mm over it. I guess we can seek clarification from the neighbours as to the course of events regarding when the gutter appeared and why but would rather not have too much to do with them as they've already caused enough trouble to us and the builders!
     
  10. jonbey

    jonbey

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    25mm! FFS. But they say, give an inch, and they'll take a mile!!

    If you change the gutter, ask them if they would be happy with that, and then get them to confirm that they are happy with it in writing first - or just sign a plan / description you print out to say happy, so they can't change their mind in the future, and keep it with your deeds / mortgage info in case you move.
     
  11. Notch7

    Notch7

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    They dont like it becayse youve moved in and have builders in doing some work -some neighbours are just jealous.

    So they are whinging about 25mm.......they clearly have too much time on their hands.

    Its tempting to change it for smaller gutter, only one that is painted in lurid red and yellow stripes :ROFLMAO:
     
  12. footprints

    footprints

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  13. jonbey

    jonbey

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    How is the access? Gutters need cleaning, are they going to kick off if you want to get down there to clean the gutter out?
    Maybe if you do replace then a gutter with a leaf over?
    But, I can't believe a judge would force you to change a gutter you did not install yourself for the sake of 25mm
     
  14. Ian H

    Ian H

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    If you took it off where would the water from the roof land?
     
  15. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    Is this 25mm overhang at one end, or 25mm along its full length?
     
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