My house in on the end of a little terrace, with a drive running alongside. Behind me is a bungalow lived in by my ‘nice’ neighbours who have a right of way Easement over my drive to get to their house and garage. Behind them is my garage. Right opposite my garage is a Commercial Unit, currently leased by Mr X from which he runs a furniture business. He also has a right of way Easement over my drive to get to his Unit. I own the drive from the main road to the end of my garage, but the top little bit of the drive is owned by Mr X, who parks his work’s van there during business hours. Fine so far.
I’d never had any bother with the shared driveway until Mr X moved in three years ago. He persistently kept parking his van outside the door of his Unit, which also happens to be right outside my garage, meaning that I couldn’t get my car either in or out – this despite the fact that he owns the top part of the drive and if only he pulled 3 feet further forward he wouldn’t block my garage. I was polite and kept asking him not to and he just smirked at me and continued to park.
As the months went by the customers using his business also started pulling in to my drive and parking right outside the door of the Unit, ie right outside my garage and blocking it. I politely kept asking them to move and was usually met with “I’m just seeing Mr X about my chair, I won’t be a minute!” or “I’m just offloading a chest, I won’t be a minute!” or “I’m just picking some material, can’t you wait!” and then I’d have to sit there and sit there til they’d finished. As time wore on I got more and more cheesed off.
Not only did Mr X’s customers park on my drive, so did his staff. Every time I wanted in or out of my garage I’d have to go into the Unit and ask them to move. I was met with increasing hostility from one staff member who used to bark at me to “bloody wait!”. I was even called a bitch on one occasion.
The first summer he had the Unit, he and his staff pulled a table outside onto my drive and proceeded to eat their lunch around it. I had a doctor’s appointment and needed my car out of the garage, so asked them politely to move. “We’re having our dinner, you’ll have to bloody wait!” barked the hostile staff member. So I asked her if she’d like to ring my doctor and explain I’ll be late for my appointment because I have to wait until they’d finished their butties. FFS.
Last spring I had my big appointment through at Newcastle regarding my severe endometriosis and adenomyosis and the fact I needed a hysterectomy, even though this might be life-threatening due to my MCAD. I was travelling the 180 miles alone to the appointment to see a team of specialists including an allergy-anaethetist, the gynaecologist, a specialist nurse and a specialist immunologist, was stressed and worried, came out of my house………..and was blocked in. I went into the Unit, asked the customer to move his car and was met with a torrent of abuse by the staff member. I drove the first 17 miles to the hospital crying my eyes out.
I complained about the incident to Mr X, sobbing as I did so. My Mum was also just recovering from a heart attack and my Dad had just been diagnosed with dementia. I was menopausal, ill and utterly exhausted. He promised to have a word with her and her abuse stopped, but the customer parking did not and he continued to do nothing to stop his customers, sometimes several every day, blocking me in.
I resorted to putting up “no parking” signs at the entrance and the top of my drive. It did no good. The customers, visitors and delivery vans just ignored them.
Last November I came home one pitch-black winter’s afternoon, reversed up my drive and went smash into a car illegally parked outside my garage. It was his ex-wife dropping off his son. It cost me £250 in excess, 2 months of wrangling with the insurance company who didn’t want to pay for the repairs, my insurance premium has now doubled and to be fair it really wasn’t my fault as she should never have been there.
This situation has been ongoing for 3 years now and Mr X’s customers are still parking in my drive. All it would take to remedy the situation is for him to park his van in a lay-by on the road opposite the entrance to the drive, literally 15 feet away, so one customer at a time could park at the top of the drive on his land to load/offload or do whatever the hell it is they need to. But he refuses. He thinks he has every right to run his business any way he sees fit, and if that means parking on my drive so be it.
The thing is, the house deeds explain the terms of the Easement which is a right to “pass and repass along the drive”. There is zero right to park or even stop on it, let alone obstruct the drive so that I can’t use it.
Things came to a head this week. It’s clear to me that Mr X’s customers think the drive belongs to him, so I’ve bought a new sign which reads “Private drive to my home. No furniture business vehicles”. He didn’t like that one little bit, came round to my house and demanded I remove it. I asked if he was going to stop his customers, current wives, ex-wives, visitors and delivery vehicles from parking on my drive and he said “no! They have a right to offload stuff and I have a right to deliveries for my business”, which actually he doesn’t……..not on my drive at any rate. So I said in that case I wasn’t removing the sign, so he’s now told me I’ll be hearing from his solicitor. Brilliant! I’m completely in the right and hopefully if it goes to court it will be settled in my favour once and for all by way of an injunction banning him, his customers, visitors, ex-wives, current-wives, Tom, Dick & Harry from parking on my land.
The thing that has upset me more than anything, however, is that my ‘nice’ neighbours are on his side 😦 They think I’m being unreasonable as he has a business to run, depsite the fact they too are sometimes blocked in their own garage (though nowhere near as often as me) and customers driving past their bunalow have smashed plant pots they own outside their front door! Why can’t they see that he should never have agreed to take on the lease of a Unit which has no offloading facilities when these are absolutely vital to his business?! It’s not my sodding fault there is nowhere for his customers to park. The fact I’ve been verbally abused to the point of tears doesn’t seem to bother my ‘nice’ neighbours in the slightest, or the fact I have M.E. and by the time I’ve been out and come back home I’m so ill and exhausted that I barely have the energy to walk the 10 feet from my garage to my back door, let alone having to go through the stress and rigmarole of first finding the illegal parkers, asking them to move, sometimes suffering verbal abuse in the process, waiting for them to finish what they’re doing, backing my car up so they can get out, and only then am I able to park in my garage and go home. Their lack of loyalty towards me is incredibly hurtful and is much, much worse than the arsehole behaviour of Mr X.
Luckily for me I have legal expense cover on my home contents insurance and am now at the stage where if he doesn’t proceed with court action I will – the only reason I haven’t done it before now is that I’d have to declare there’s been a problem with the Easement if I came to sell my house, which I’m trying to do as I want to move (due in no small part to Mr goddamn X). In the meantime I’ve bought a little CCTV camera to record the goings on as my solicitor says I need to keep a record of the times my garage is obstructed. And all because one vile man is so lazy he won’t park his van 15 feet away in a lay-by in a quiet village, thereby allowing his customers to park on his land instead of mine. Honestly, some fucking people!