Shared drive­ways can cause rifts

This is the sec­ond in a se­ries of four about the most com­mon dis­putes be­tween Kiwi neigh­bours. re­ports.

Hauraki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Who would’ve thought that the hum­ble drive­way could cause so many dis­agree­ments be­tween neigh­bours?

All seems fine and dandy… un­til one day you can’t re­verse out of your garage be­cause the neigh­bours have de­cided that 2pm on a Thurs­day is the per­fect time for a party and their guests don’t feel like park­ing on the road.

Or, af­ter years of wear and tear, your drive­way is less drive and more hole but the other peo­ple who use it don’t want to pitch in for the re­pairs.

Yes, shared drive­ways have the po­ten­tial to cause sky-high rifts be­tween neigh­bours; we’ve prob­a­bly heard the sto­ries (if we haven’t had the mis­for­tune of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing them our­selves). But due to a pop­u­la­tion boom and hous­ing short­age in many parts of New Zealand, they’re in­creas­ingly be­com­ing the new norm, so it’s im­por­tant that we un­der­stand how we should ap­pro­pri­ately use them.

Firstly, know your rights – and there­fore the rights of your neigh­bours. These de­pend on your prop­erty’s ti­tle. If it has a ve­hic­u­lar right of way or ease­ment, ei­ther you or the other party have the right to use the drive­way to ac­cess their prop­erty.

If you live in a sub­di­vi­sion you prob­a­bly have a share in the ‘‘ac­cess lot’’, and as an owner you have the right to pass and repass over it.

If you own a cross-leased prop­erty your drive­way is classed as a ‘‘com­mon area’’ which own­ers shouldn’t ob­struct in any way. If a body cor­po­rate man­ages your prop­erty, there will be rules about the use of your drive­way.

If you’re un­lucky enough to ex­pe­ri­ence drive­way-re­lated prob­lems, your first port of call should al­ways be the neigh­bour con­cerned. Drop in for a quick visit, pop a friendly let­ter in their let­ter­box or send them a quick pri­vate mes­sage via Neigh­bourly. Re­mem­ber, a friendly and po­lite de­meanour will al­ways get you fur­ther than anger and hoity­toity-ness.

If talk­ing doesn’t work, your next step de­pends on the type of sit­u­a­tion you’re in. If you’re a ten­ant, talk to your land­lord or prop­erty man­ager. If you live in an apart­ment, talk to your body cor­po­rate.

If you own your home, try me­di­a­tion or seek le­gal ad­vice (al­though both op­tions cost and will po­ten­tially dam­age your re­la­tion­ship with your neigh­bour even fur­ther).

Drive­ways don’t get much at­ten­tion un­til a prob­lem crops up, so the best way to solve prob­lems is to be proac­tive, do unto oth­ers as you’d have them do unto you, and avoid them hap­pen­ing in the first place.

Park in a way that doesn’t ir­ri­tate or in­con­ve­nience any­one. If your flat has five cars, ob­jec­tively look at your space and agree to park three of them on the road.

If your neigh­bour has a tricky cor­ner to get around in or­der to re­verse out of their garage, use your good neigh­bourly vibes and avoid forc­ing them to make a 13-point turn to get out.

Keep rub­bish con­tained and ask vis­i­tors to park on the road. If you use the drive­way, con­trib­ute to its main­te­nance. It’s not rocket sci­ence!


Be­ing con­sid­er­ate of your neigh­bours is the key to get­ting on in high-den­sity hous­ing ar­eas.

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