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Developer has reduced entrance width to proprty

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310 views 2 replies latest reply: 10 October 2015
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Tenant

I’ve searched the forums to see if this has been asked before and I can’t find a relevant topic.

I would very much appreciate some advice on how to deal with the below.

At adjacent to the main entrance of my residence (ground floor flat, rented), is an old garage.

In order to reach the front door of my building, you must pass through a shared entranceway with another property, walk up a short passageway and pass through another doorway. 

The garage is in the final stages of being renovated and turned into a flat. During the renovation the rear wall of the garage has been extended slightly and the owner of the garage has hung a door in the doorway.

The actual width of the doorway has been reduced by a couple of inches as a result of pushing the wall back and hanging a doorframe and door where there was once just an open doorway.

I’ve included an drawing that hopefully illustrates the scenario.

When I moved into the property, I was just barely able to fit some items of furniture in.  

I have to move out at the end of the month. I am absolutely positive that I will not now be able to swing my sofa around and through the smaller doorway. There is no other viable means of getting this furniture out of the flat (windows, etc). I’m unable to dismantle it and take it out in pieces.

In order to leave this flat with deposit intact I’m going to have to chop my sofa into bits, take them to the recycling centre and buy a replacement for my new residence. This is going to cost me a few hundred pounds.

Can anyone help with the below questions please?

– how should I engage the developer of the property?

– am I within my rights to ask them to cover the expense of binning my old sofa and replacing it?

– I’ve had some amateurish attempts as looking at forums, building regulations and planning guides, and the only advice I can find is that “any changes to external access should leave width unchanged”. Is there a specific piece of legislation I can reference when I get in touch with this guy?

Thanks in advance,

Andy

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Administrator

Hi Andy

I’m not a lawyer but, as far as I can see, your rights here are either in law as a tenant or come from your tenancy agreement. In both instances it would be against the landlord that you should take action. So, what involvement has the landlord had in this change being made? Are they also the landlord of the other flat? I know that a landlord must provide a tenant with proper access to a property but I’m not sure how that applies to your possessions. It may be that if they’ve consented to the change or they are responsible for it that you could possibly say they are consequently responsible for any damage caused by trying to get your furniture out, particularly if they didn’t give you an option to remove/replace the furniture before the change happened, or notify you of the potential consequences.

The only other option I can see is a claim against the person who made the changes (developer?) for your loss as a result of their actions – this is essentially what you’re saying above. I’m not sure about what you’ve quoted without knowing more about where it has come from.

As I said, I’m not a lawyer so I think it might be worth speaking to someone with legal expertise, either at a Law Centre or Citizens Advice.

As you’re currently in a position where you can’t change the situation, perhaps it’s worth waiting until you leave and then seeing what happens with removing the furniture. If you can’t physically get the furniture out and you have to ‘chop it up’ as you say then you won’t have an issue with the deposit. Once you’re out of the property you could then look at your claiming options. Just make sure you take photos of everything and keep all your correspondence and make sure it’s dated.

Alex

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