Property disputes – it could be you!

Jonathan Warner Reed, head of property disputes at Lupton Fawcett.
Jonathan Warner Reed, head of property disputes at Lupton Fawcett.

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Property disputes come in all shapes and sizes; something we can see from a quick scan of newspaper headlines over the last three months. But what is really interesting is the variety of people these disputes seem to be affecting.

Back in February 2017, The Times reported on a couple who had lost a battle over a fence blocking their windows. Their neighbour had built a giant barrier totally blocking the view from the windows of their £1m property. Having lost an appeal to the planning inspectorate, the fence remains only four inches away from their windows at Papermill Cottage.

The theme of fences continued into March 2017 when a millionaire fenced off her neighbours’ garden view. A wealthy pensioner put up a wooden barricade that blocked the view from her neighbours’ £2m house because she said that their new windows overlooked her garden. The case continues.

On March 21, 2017, The Times reported that a law lecturer was also getting in on the action, having won a battle to sell his brother’s house. But property disputes are not the preserve of the wealthy, or of those who should probably know better.

On March 27, 2017, the Telegraph reported on a judge accusing warring neighbours of “handbags in the cul-de-sac” after an 81-year-old man attacked a man living next door with a rounders’ bat. The scuffle was a culmination of a nine-year boundary dispute over a concrete pillar. The judge concluded that “they acted like a couple of immature teenagers”.

Battles between the older generation continued. Three days later The Times reported on a dispute between neighbours over an overgrown rose-bush which led to an assault and death threats from one side and false accusations of harassment from the other. The parties were 75 and 73 respectively.

In April 2015 even Great British institutions like the Tate Modern were getting involved in property disputes, when neighbours threatened to sue them over peeping tourists! Residents of the luxury apartments situated next door to the Tate Modern claimed that videos and photos of them, taken from the Tate Modern’s new viewing platform, had been uploaded to social media and wanted the Tate Modern to put up a screen and pay their legal fees.

In May 2017, the celebrities chimed in. Jimmy Page, guitarist for legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, claimed that vibrations from the work at next door Robbie Williams’ house would damage his grade I listed décor. District Judge John Zani ordered Williams’ builder to pay a total of £4,670, including costs of £1,500 and a victim surcharge of £170.

And finally… you either love it or hate it. A property developer who painted the exterior of her Kensington townhouse in red and white candy stripes won a High Court battle against her local council, who were demanding that she return it to its original colour. The “incongruous” paintwork on the townhouse will stay after the council was defeated on a technicality.

The point? Property disputes are not just the premise of the rich and famous. In this litigious age, they can affect anyone. If you find yourself embroiled in one then do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced and discreet team will seek to resolve it as swiftly as possible – without the headache of it making the headlines.

Jonathan Warner Reed is Head of Property Disputes at Lupton Fawcett and can be contacted on 0113 280 2045 or jonathan.warner-reed@luptonfawcett.law.