PROPERTY CLINIC: I bought a house with a drive that the developer never got a dropped kerb for, who is responsible for paying for one?
- You have approached your local council about it paying for your kerb to be fixed
- The developer was issued with guidance by the local council to drop the kerb
- No work has been carried out and the kerb needs to be dropped
I bought a property that has a driveway without a dropped kerb. It is uncomfortable every time I drive over it. When I approached my local council about getting it fixed, it said the developer was under no obligation to drop the kerb.
The council said I would have to apply for a licence to get it dropped. That licence costs £222.35.
I will also have to pay for the work to be carried out. Is there anything I can do about this and why are developers allowed to build homes without dropped kerbs? MT
Parking space is at a premium and many want a drive, but you’ll need a dropped kerb too
MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: Parking spaces are becoming highly desirable in many areas, as on-street parking restrictions proliferate.
Your developer was issued with guidance by the local council to drop the kerb. However, the local council in this case has confirmed that there is nothing in planning consent or elsewhere that required the developer to drop the kerb.
Unfortunately, you have no claim against the original developer or the person from whom you bought the property. And so you will now need to apply to your local council for the kerb to be dropped.
Research by Direct Line found that during the past three years there has been a rise in the number of requests for dropped kerbs received by local councils amid an increasing demand for parking spaces.
Between April 2018 and March 2019, councils received an estimated 14,500 planning requests for dropped kerbs, rising to 14,700 between April 2020 and March 2021.
Stephen Gold, a retired judge and author, explained: Your local council is correct. In fact, it is sometimes necessary to also obtain planning permission for the construction of a dropped kerb: For example, if the kerb would be on a classified road or in a conservation area.
The fact that the all-clear has been given in the past to neighbouring properties for a dropped kerb is no guarantee that you will be as lucky because of changes in engineering standards and improvements in design. You may also be refused where, say, your property is on a bend or at a road junction or close to traffic lights.
The property was sold as it was, with no dropped kerb
You have no claim against the original developer or the person from whom you bought the property.
The property was sold to you as it was: One driveway and no dropped kerb which would have been obvious, so you got what you bargained for.
You would or should have contemplated that a drive from the property over the pavement might be an uncomfortable exercise. Had your seller agreed to bear the cost of construction of the kerb and associated expenses, the position would have been different.
But assuming that you bought with the help of a mortgage, the property would have been inspected by a valuer or surveyed on behalf of the mortgage lender and you may have organised your own private survey.
If the process and expense of getting the all-clear for a dropped kerb was not raised in the inspection or survey report then you would have an arguable – although not a strong – claim against the report’s author or their employer.
After all, section 184 of the Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence to drive over the pavement to get out of your property when the local authority has prohibited you from doing so in view of the absence of a dropped kerb and so this would have been an important matter.
You would have up to six years from the report to start what could be a county court ‘small claim’. You would be well advised to send details of the claim to whoever reported with a threat of proceedings if they do not pay up. If the claim is rejected by them, assess whether to take the matter further when you have the benefit of knowing why they assert they are not liable to you.
Even making a small claims carries risks. You won’t get back the court fees if you lose and may have to pay the winner’s expenses for travel and loss of earnings in being at court.
- Stephen Gold is the author of ‘The Return of Breaking Law’, published by Bath Publishing