Question: I live in a detached house with a shared driveway between us and our neighbour. I have knocked down my garage at the back of my house but my neighbour has not. He now seems to think the drive is his and regularly parks on it, which he should not do. Talking to him is not solving the issue. What action can I take?
Answer: You need to look at your title deeds to see how the driveway is actually owned. Either you or your neighbour are likely to own it, and the other will have right of way over it.
There should be covenants in the title deeds regulating the way the driveway is to be used. Covenants are agreements, promises and obligations that affect the property and are imposed for the benefit of others. They may restrict what you can and cannot do with the property, or require you to make payments towards the upkeep of certain things such as shared accesses.
I would expect there to be a right of way over the driveway which is subject to payment of a contribution towards upkeep. There is also likely to be a restrictive covenant requiring that neither of you block or obstruct the driveway, or park vehicles on it.
As talking has not worked, you could instruct your solicitor to write to your neighbour explaining the legal situation and reminding him of the covenants and obligations to which he is subject, and of the remedies available to you if he continues to breach those covenants.
If that does not work you could take court action. This can be an effective way to resolve a dispute of this nature, but should be a last resort. The court will decide whether to grant injunctive relief or damages.
Do seek legal advice and try to resolve the issue to avoid time consuming and expensive litigation.
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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email email@example.com or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (www.withyking.co.uk).
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.