Couple May Lose House After Denying Neighbour Access to Meter

19th October 2017 By Arman Khosravi

Disputes between neighbours can blight the lives of all concerned and it is always wise to seek legal advice before matters get out of hand. In one case, an elderly couple face losing their home under the weight of legal bills following a long-running row with their neighbour over her access to a utility meter.

The meter was attached to an exterior wall and the neighbour could only access it by going onto the pensioners’ land. They denied her access by erecting a gate that they kept locked. After she launched proceedings, a judge found that she had the right to inspect, read and maintain the meter and directed the couple to either remove the gate or provide their neighbour with a key.

The judge was highly critical of the pensioners’ behaviour – referring to the woman as a spiteful troublemaker and to her husband as bombastic – and, after ruling against them on every point, ordered them to pay the legal costs of the case, a six-figure sum that has since been secured against their home.

In dismissing the couple’s challenge to the judge’s decision, the Court of Appeal could detect no flaw in his approach to the case. That the woman should have access to her own meter was obvious and the contrary view was absurd. The Court observed that, whereas most neighbours would have found a sensible solution to the dispute, the couple had taken their stand on what they considered to be their strict legal rights. To their great cost, they were wrong about those rights.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 and other legislation gives the right of legal access over land in appropriate circumstances even if there is not an ‘easement’ registered over the property.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...