My Neighbours Are Blocking Our Shared Driveway: What Should I Do?…
If you have purchased a property that has a shared driveway, the potential pitfalls of this would have been pointed out to you by your solicitor. There are a number of legal grey areas when it comes to shared driveways, and in many cases, you are trusting that your neighbour will be reasonable.
But what if they are not? What are your legal options if they are blocking the shared driveway? Is there a practical solution that could give you your own parking area and access? It’s time to find out…
What Is A Shared Driveway?
In the UK, it has become common to build houses on the gardens of larger properties. It is a good money making exercise for the owners of these larger gardens and is known as infill housing. While this makes good sense in overcrowded urban areas, it is also causing issues with access.,
In most cases, the driveway of the current home is used to access the house or houses in the rear sections.
These driveways usually run up the side of the existing house, and are extended to the homes beyond. In some cases, a shared driveway may be one that runs between two houses, where each house doesn’t have room for a driveway of their own.
This is a good use of space, and allows vehicular access to the back gardens of each property.
In some cases, although the driveway may be owned by one house, legal right of access is given to anyone who needs to use it
Who Owns A Shared Driveway?
A shared driveway is usually owned by each of the homes involved. The part of the driveway on their land is owned by them, and the maintenance of the entire driveway is shared by all parties.
In some cases, the driveway may be owned by one house, but legal access is given to anyone who needs to use it. These details are always set out in the deeds of the home.
In many instances, there is no legal definition or contract that details how payment of driveway maintenance is carried out. It usually comes down to an agreement between all parties and this can often lead to disputes.
Sometimes, the actual use of the driveway is called into question, with one party considering the driveway to be theirs alone. If this occurs, they may block access, so that the other parties are unable to use the space.
Neighbour niggles getting you down? Talking to your neighbours is usually the best course of action-and far less costly than taking the case to court
Driveway Being Blocked? Here’s What To Do…
The legal position on shared driveways is that all users must be considerate and not consistently block the driveway, making it impossible for others to use it. This includes: allowing others to park on the driveway, or putting a skip or other obstruction in the space.
Ideally, this covenant is set out on your title deeds, but the law is clear that where a driveway is owned by two parties, the use should be fair. Even if one home only has access, this still applies. There are a few things you can do to try and resolve the situation:
● Talk to your neighbours, and see if a solution can be reached. This is always the best approach, as they may not be aware it is causing an inconvenience, and they may simply believe they have right of way.
● Show your neighbour the title deeds and the covenants as they are set out. Once again, they may be unaware of the rights of each household.
● If the above fails, you may need to take the legal route. A letter from a solicitor may be enough to make them act. This formal approach is often a good solution, and costs a relatively small amount of outlay.
● Your last resort is to seek an injunction through the courts to prevent them parking on the driveway. This is a costly approach, and may not be worth the hassle. It will also cause damage to the relationship you have with your neighbour – something that must be declared when you sell your home.
Bear in mind that this is a civil case, and is not an issue for the police or the council. Any action taken needs to be completed on your own behalf, and through the court system. You have the law on your side, but the process can be lengthy and expensive.
Although drastic, paving over the front garden can be positive for both parties, providing extra parking for homes with more than one car
Neighbours Blocking Shared Driveway: Additional Routes To Consider
If you don’t want to go down the legal route, and want to maintain a good relationship with your neighbour, you may choose to implement a more practical solution, such as changing the design of the driveway or parking area.
This may seem expensive and drastic, but actually can be positive for both properties, as it can improve the value of the home, and provide extra parking for homes where having just one car is unviable.
The most common way to deal with this issue is to pave over the front garden, allowing you to simply drive onto the front of the property, and not use the driveway between the houses.
That way, your neighbour can park alongside their home with no problems, aside from walking access. If both front garden areas were paved, this would be ideal, as both owners can park on their own property, and the driveway will be empty.
If the issue is actually finding somewhere to park, it may be possible to pave over some of the rear garden to provide a parking and turning area. This will mean that the driveway itself will not be used as a parking spot.
Finally, access may be found from another area to the rear of the home. This could be from an adjacent road, or from a neighbouring property, where the occupants may be willing to sell some of their garden for the purpose.
This will surely need planning permission, and a dropped kerb. It is expensive, but once again, it will improve relations with your neighbours, and improve the value of your home.
Whatever your choice, this new driveway or parking area needs to be well built and from a surface that will last and look great.
Thankfully, the majority of driveway disputes are resolved without requiring legal action-which should only be used as a last resort when a compromise can't be reached.
Who Should Maintain A Shared Driveway?
In short, all parties involved should contribute to maintaining a shared driveway-both in terms of costs and overall upkeep.
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't just refer to the driveway itself; it also applies to repairs of the surrounding area, such as a shared fence which has blown down, with the expectation that both sides will pay half each to repair it.
Thankfully, most disputes are resolved without requiring legal action-which is used as a last resort when a compromise is unable to be reached. It's important to stress that the costs involved in this course of action are pretty prohibitive, making it in everybody's best interest to strike a fair deal.
In the case of a shared driveway, problems with drainage open up yet another can of proverbial worms. If your neighbour has blocked the main drain by putting items down their own drain, or if gutters have been affected by a neighbour's negligence of their own gutter then things can quickly get personal.
The worst case scenario is that they fail to take the blame for their actions, and contest allegations that they should cough up the cash to fix things. Hopefully, all parties can reach a consensus for the required repairs, with the guilty culprit ensuring that they're less lackadaisical in future.
Resolved your neighbour disputes? Get to know everyone better by inviting them around for dinner-or dropping by with a tasty surprise!
Resolve Neighbour Disputes With Resin Bound Surfacing
If you choose to pave over a section of your garden to alleviate the issues you are having with your shared driveway, you will need to choose a surface that will look great, and will not need to be changed in the future.
Additionally, it needs to meet the legislation on the paving of front gardens and the issue with water run-off.
If the area to be paved is more than 5 metres squared, it must have excellent drainage, and a resin bound driveway offers exactly that. This permeable material allows water to flow through the driveway, and into the earth below.
This prevents water entering the sewerage system, and can provide a good habitat for wildlife that may be destroyed by less environmentally sound ideas.
A resin bound driveway is also a great way of marking your property apart from your neighbours. The colour can be anything you choose, with the gravel offering all kinds of options, from pure white to the deepest, darkest shade of black. You can even add multi coloured stones to achieve a new and unique look.
The best thing about a resin bound driveway has to be the fact it can be driven on within hours of being laid, making it a quick solution to a long standing issue. The court system could take months, and be very stressful as well.
Needless to say, a new parking space can be quick and painless, and probably much less expensive overall then braving the law courts to settle the matter.
If the relationship with your neighbour is being tested by their failure to adhere to the rules regarding your driveway, you may want to bypass the issue entirely, and build your own driveway.
Resin bound offers the flawless functionality you need, and it is less painful financially than you might surmise. Discover more of the brilliant benefits of investing in this surfacing solution today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!