Leaseholder using freehold land for table and chairs-another leaseholder has objected

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    Leaseholder using freehold land for table and chairs-another leaseholder has objected

    I am a director of a freehold company which comprises six leasehold flats in a converted tall terraced building.

    The leaseholder of the lower ground flat has taken to placing a small table and two chairs in the very small area outside her front door for use when the weather is good. This is on communal land which is owned by the freehold company. Immediately opposite her front door is the vault which holds the waste bins for the residents, next door to which is another vault in which residents keep their bicycles.

    Unfortunately the leaseholder in the lower ground floor and the one immediately above in the ground floor flat have an extremely difficult and turbulent relationship and do not speak with each other.

    The ground floor flat has now written to our excellent Managing Agent saying that she feels very uncomfortable about putting rubbish in the vault, particularly when the table and chairs are in use which is often. There is also a noise issue when the table and chairs are occupied but not loud, just from general conversation. Furthermore, when occupied, the table and chairs partially obstruct the access to the rubbish vault. In addition the ground floor leaseholder says that, again, she does not like putting her bicycle in and out of the bicycle vault for fear of encountering her rather volatile neighbour who she now feels rather views this small area of land as her own “territory”. This area is at the bottom of steps from the pavement and only used by the lower ground leaseholder for access to her front door and by other residents to dispose of rubbish and access their bicycles.

    The Directors, in the main part, have no objection to the table and chairs, and have covered the matter of there never being any claim for possession of the freehold land.

    However we have one very unhappy resident who, at the request of the Managing Agent, has been keeping a diary of the use of the table and chairs and it has now reached a stage where we directors have to discuss formally and try and resolve this issue which we appreciate is, in essence, a “civil” dispute but nevertheless has to be moved forward in some way.

    Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

    #2
    You say that this is happening on communal land owned by the freehold holding company but then you mention that there has never been a claim for possession of that communal land. What is the relevance of the 2nd point?

    Are you not just simply saying, "this is happening on land communal to all the leaseholders"?

    Comment


      #3
      When you say it is communal land do you mean that the leaseholders have rights over it or just that it is land not included in any lease?

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for the comments above.

        Apologies - I should have been more specific in my terms of “communal land”.

        The area leading from the steps down to the lower ground floor flat and the land leading up to its door as well as the vaults are owned by the freehold company.

        The leaseholder in the lower ground floor flat has the rights of access to their front door and whilst the lease does not expressly forbid table and chairs the lease does state “the lessee does not have the right to use any part of the building other than the demised premises and hall staircase and passages leading thereto and only for the purpose of access thereto”.

        The Directors would be agreeable to issuing a licence or whatever is required to enable the lower ground floor flat to have a table and chairs.

        However one other leaseholder strongly objects to the table and chairs and says that her enjoyment of living in her property is greatly diminished and is fearful of going down to the rubbish and bicycle vaults when the table and chairs are in use for worry about an altercation with her neighbour which, unfortunately, would happen. The relationship is that bad…

        We want to help both leaseholders but have difficulty in seeing a way forward.

        Comment


          #5
          To whom is the communal land, communal? ie who has the rights to use it? I'm struggling to see a scenario where land is communal but not legally useable by anyone.

          Comment


            #6
            “the lessee does not have the right to use any part of the building other than the demised premises and hall staircase and passages leading thereto and only for the purpose of access thereto”.

            The above is pretty clear. I don't see how you can grant a licence unless everyone agrees. By not requiring the leaseholder to stop you are effectively granting a licence. Tell her to stop.

            Comment


              #7
              I't a dispute between neighbours, pure and simple, so treat it as you would any other.

              ie. It's their problem not yours. Don't let them make it your problem, you'll only get flack from both sides if you do.

              The table/chairs are a red herring, just one small item in that ongoing dispute.
              Anything you do with regard to the table/chairs is going to please one neighbour and annoy the other, just adding fuel to the flames between them.

              Being practical:
              Don't issue any licence/agreement/letter giving anyone permission to do something.
              Simply point out that both are free to use the 'communal' space, and that if they chose to use/access it or not, at whatever time and/or for whatever reason, then that's their choice.
              Add a reminder that items must not be put/left/stored there (don't specifically mention tables or chairs, just 'items').

              Comment


                #8
                Many thanks for the very helpful comments above.

                Quite agree that it is, in essence, a dispute between neighbours.

                Our Managing Agent has tremendous calming and diplomatic skills and will let her sort the matter out so that the directors do not have to get further involved.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have some european tenants who put chairs outside the block and sit there smoking for hours. Its a cultural thing but not very british as brits are more private.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have a different take on this.
                    The terms of the lease are being broken. It is not just a dispute between neighbours. You can't cherry pick what parts of the lease to not follow.
                    The area must be kept clear for free access.
                    The lease must be enforced.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Codger View Post
                      I have some european tenants who put chairs outside the block and sit there smoking for hours. Its a cultural thing but not very british as brits are more private.
                      I'm pretty sure that Brits are Europeans too 😅 but I know what you mean, my Romanian tenants sit in the front garden and smoke rather than the perfectly nice rear one .

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Because it's more sociable to sit out front rather than hide away in the garden.

                        I grew up in terraced housing, everyone used to stand or sit outside in nice weather, chat to the neighbours and watch the world pass by, the kids would have their tea as 'picnics' on the pavement.
                        All very sociable and 'community spirited', you probably knew personally the 20 or so families in your terraced block and the 20 or so in the opposite block, as well as many others on the street.
                        How many of your neighbours do you know these days other than to nod at in passing? (or more likely toot/wave at because they are straight out of the door and into the car on the driveway).

                        Our neighbours have become strangers, which probably accounts for many neighbour disputes that could/should be settled just by talking to each other.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by scot22 View Post
                          I have a different take on this.
                          The terms of the lease are being broken. It is not just a dispute between neighbours. You can't cherry pick what parts of the lease to not follow.
                          The area must be kept clear for free access.
                          The lease must be enforced.
                          ^^ Exactly that

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