A client of ours who lives in a semi detatched house wanted to find out if there was anything she could do about her neighbour who owns the attached semi detatched house. The neighbour who owns the property lives nearby in another property but appears to check the property monthly. However, the garden is a complete mess and there was also a problem with rodents and people trying to break in to the neighbour’s house. Our client wanted to know if there was anything she could do about this and whether she would be able to make her neighbour sell her house or bring it up to standard.
No one is under any obligation to keep their house and garden in good condition even if their failure to do so “lowers the tone of the neighbourhood” and possibly causes neighbouring properties to de-value. However, if the neighbouring property is in such a bad state of dilapidation that it causes damage to the neighbouring property then it should be possible to have a valid claim for damage. For example the damage caused by rodents.
There could well be problems on how to enforce this and it would certainly not be possible to make the neighbour sell their house. However, if there was a claim it would mean that our client would need to apply for an injunction requiring the neighbour to make the necessary repairs. Such proceedings would be very expensive.
Another option could be to approach the local authority as they do have the powers to enforce owners to carry out necessary repairs to their properties.