"I own the upstairs flat (leasehold) in a Victorian house and the neighbours own the downstairs one (freehold). They have built an extension that blocks my access to windows, gutters and roof without paying for scaffolding. It was ladder access before. I have always been responsible for the maintenance of the roof and gutters as part of my lease. I raised my concern with the neighbours several times before their build but they claim not to remember. This unresolved issue has resulted in delayed work to clear the gutters and now my bedroom wall has black mould. A previous quote to clear the gutters was for hundreds of pounds. Now, with the extension, there’s another £700 for scaffolding. I am a pensioner and don’t have the funds to pay for scaffolding each time the roof, gutters and windows need maintenance. This issue will also make it harder to sell my flat. My neighbours refuse to take responsibility. They just keep repeating that I am responsible for maintenance according to my lease. It is causing me a lot of stress."
Problems often occur between neighbours, if you and your neighbour disagree about a problem, it’s best to try to resolve things informally. Russell-Cooke associate Pauline Lam answers a reader's question in the Home Help section of the Sunday Times.
My neighbour’s extension has blocked access to my gutters — and they want me to pay is available to read on the Sunday Times website via subscription.
Pauline is an associate in the property and housing litigation team. She specialises in property dispute resolution and provides effective solutions for clients who encounter issues with a property element. She advises businesses, charities and individuals on property disputes and avoidance. Her expertise spans across long leasehold and block management issues such as breaches of covenants and service charges disputes including applications for determination of reasonableness of service charges and appointment of managers.