A UK couple has been ordered to tear down their London home after it strayed 68mm onto their neighbor’s land.
Shahbaz Ashraf, 45, and his wife Shakira, 40, were ordered by a judge to remove the extension to their £700,000 property in London after their next-door neighbors, Avtar Dhinjan and his wife Balvinder, accused them of deliberately building the property on their land causing ‘damp and mold’ in their home.
As reported by The Mirror, “Mr. and Mrs. Dhinjan, backed by their son Gurpreet, said the new extension strayed 68mm or 2.68 inches onto their land with an overhang at roof level 98mm or 3.86 inches the wrong side of the line.”
“Mr. Dhinjan, a former Ford car plant worker, claimed his neighbors “intended to annoy” him and his family by building over the boundary between their homes in 2019.”
Although the ‘encroachment’ over their boundary was extremely small, the Dhinjans complained that the Ashraf family ‘intentionally’ built their house so close to their wall that it there was no room left for air circulation, and that resulted in making their house damp.
So, they sued the Ashrafs at the Central London County Court and demanded they demolish the encroaching wall.
Mr. and Mrs. Ashraf defended their case and stated they built the extension ‘on the footprint of the 1970s one and that any encroachment must have already been going on for more than 40 years, giving them squatters’ rights,’ per Daily Star.
But the lawyer for the Dhinjans told the court that the encroaching wall was constructed beyond the footprint of the 1970s, which means the Ashrafs had indeed trespassed on their property.
“There was an encroachment which, while de minims in valuation terms, causes significant injury to the land belonging to the claimants,” Barrister Rachel Coyle argued.
“The defendants’ continued course of conduct intended to annoy. Only removal and building it where it should be will prevent mould and dampness, failing which the claimants’ extension will become virtually uninhabitable,” she added. “The injury is not one that can be compensated in money.”
After listening to both sides, the judge ruled in favor of the Dhinjan family.
“One of the sad features of the case is that before the parties began building new extensions to the rear of their property, they lived in harmony and were on good terms.”
“The defendants say they built the wall in exactly the same position as the previous wall, which was in position for 41 years. I find that that is, to the defendants’ knowledge, wholly untrue.”
The judge also asked the Ashrafs to declare that the fence between the two properties belongs to the Dhinjans.
“The joint expert surveyor concluded in his report there was an encroachment of 68mm. I can see from the pictures that the breeze blocks have been built outside the existing boundary, so the notion that they built inside the existing boundary line is not sustainable because the pictures show where the existing boundary line is. Their new wall is clearly outside that wall,” the ruling continued.
“The wall erected by the defendants is encroaching on the claimants’ land.”
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Source: The Mirror