A rural community in the countryside is the setting of a dispute between two neighbors over the use of a privately owned shared pathway. One of the homeowners has now turned to Mumsnet to find out whether or not he’s wrong about how he wants to proceed.
*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*
The dispute began when a family recently moved in next to a house owned by author, who has a pathway that connects the front and back roads, as well as the steps leading up to it the author’s home He explains:
“Since the new neighbours moved in, they have been using [the path by house, that is on our property] ALL THE TIME for getting from the front to the back [of their house]. They have a garage at the front of the house but park their 2nd car at the back. Clearly they have no way of getting into their house at the back (we put in a back door specifically for this purpose) so them using our steps to cut through instead of walking all the way around the corner house.”
This situation has been a source of tension for the author, with his post expressing his confusion over whether or not it would be unreasonable to ask the neighbors to stop using his pathway. He continues:
“Now, the thing is that the steps go past our living/dining room, and I actually see them zipping past every time. If they look in they can see us too. It's (irrationally?) annoying the heck out of me that they seem to think they can just come onto my property because it's more convenient for them. I've even blocked the bit a the front with a row of plant pots to make it slightly more obvious that it's not a public way, but they're still using it.”
The post has received a number of responses, with some users advising the author to talk to the neighbors and explain why they feel uncomfortable with them using the pathway and steps. Other users suggested the author should put up a sign or gate to make it clear the pathway is not a public way.
One user commented:
“Do you have a gate at the top of the stairs? If not, I think it would be reasonable to put one up. It would be a clear sign that the steps are private property.”
However, some users argued that it would be unreasonable to ask the neighbors to stop using the pathway. One mentions:
“I don't think it's unreasonable that they use it. There is no way for them to access their backyard otherwise.”
What do you think?
Are the neighbors justified to be going on the author’s property and using his path, since the neighbors don’t have their own to get to and from their backyard?
Or are the neighbors entitled to be stepping on the author’s property whenever they like without permission, and the author should absolutely say something to get them to stop?
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