Question submitted to The Daily Telegraph September 2016
About a month ago, I went into my courtyard to discover a local firm erecting a scaffolding within my property to re-roof a neighbouring building. This was news to me. The scaffolding is so placed that it is affecting our access to our courtyard and to a shared passageway. There is a constant mess, leaving us to wade through dust, rubble, broken slates and bits of wood. One of my shrubs has a broken branch thanks to a falling slate and a clematis was ripped off its support and has not recovered. Add to this the fact that the builders keep disappearing for several days at a time and then went on a two-week trades holiday. This little courtyard is my delight and admired by all. My husband and I, in our late 70s, usually take much pleasure sitting out there during the summer but it is so much of an eyesore to us now. We would appreciate your advice on this matter.
Billy Heyman, Managing Director of BTL Property answers your question;
It is a shame and very bad manners that your neighbours and their scaffolding contractor did not contact you prior to commencing the building project, as erecting a scaffold on your land without your permission could be deemed as trespassing. Before you approach this legally, I would urge you to speak to your neighbour and try to discuss the situation with them. Get a commitment regarding the duration of the project, an undertaking that the contractors clean up each day, and also an agreement that they replace or compensate you for any damage they cause to your courtyard. I would also ask to see the insurance documentation from the scaffolding firm, as you don't want to be held liable in the event of an accident on your land. If that fails, I would then approach a solicitor and ask that a letter be sent to your neighbours explaining your grievance. Outline the commitments above and reference the Access to Neighbouring Land Act of 1992, and what your neighbours should have done prior to commencing the building work. If you don't want to go to the cost of a solicitor, the Citizens Advice Bureau will be well versed in these situations.
Other articles in this section