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Guest AlexTay

Fire exit ends unauthorised on neighbouring property

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Guest AlexTay

Some people who own some property next to commercial property we own have put a door into a wall that is the boundary of our property and their wall. The council granted planning permission for this door despite being told there is no right of way there and that it opened out on to private property. Then a few years later they put a fire exit sign on this door and I have been verbally threatened with a court injunction by two police officers if I obstruct this fire door even though I told them it could not be a fire door as we had owned the property for about twenty years at that time and been allowed to park there and obstruct it whenever we liked. The police would not believe me but believed the tenants of this property who are running a restaurant there that it was a fire door. I also have had a written warning of an injunction from a fire officer for the same thing, he would not believe me either but believed these lying tenants. The chief of the fire service has since written to me stating it is not a fire door and I am quite entitled to obstruct it. I complained to the IPCC about the police action but they thought the police were ok with these incorrect threats because if there was a fire there it could have endangered lives if it was obstructed even if it was not a legal or approved exit. I have since been convicted of criminal damage for spray painting over this sign because had had these incorrect threats made against me and it was also preventing anyone who wanted or needed to park there quite legally. What I want to know is it illegal to put a fire exit sign on a door that is not a fire exit as in my eyes it is perverting the course of justice. The occupants of the property know it is not a legal fire exit and have been asked to remove this sign but will not do so.

Kind regards

Alex Taylor

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This is not a fire safety problem it is a legal matter and should be dealt with by solicitor. All I can say is, the enforcing authority is the local fire and rescue service and it is unlikely they would accept a means of escape across private land without control and a written legal document given right of way to ensure it would be available if required. The means of escape from a premises doesn’t finish until it discharges onto the public thoroughfare.

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If there is no legally binding wayleave, means of escape license, easement or similar allowing them to access your land then regardless of fire regulations you are within your rights to prevent access - you could even build a fence across it on your land (subject to planning approval where required). The fire service and the police have no jurisdiction on this matter as it is a civil law matter and you should consult a lawyer specialising in the property law field.

There is case law upholding removal of access even where they prejudice the adjacent properties exit routes and thus ability for legal occupancy, I've worked on both sides of the fence and you are the one in the strong position - you could give them access and draw up a lease for which they would have to pay in order to have access.

They can sign it if they wish, but it's their look out if it leads nowhere.

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Guest Jules

My dad bought a property 30yrs ago and transformed it into a guest house. He put all of his life into it and has died recently (last 2 years). We use part of the celler as a games room and have a fire exit door at the rear of the building which leads onto land we owe. We had a verbal agreement with previous owners that the piece of land to which my dad had placed a fire walkway was his land and he would allow them to use it! this house has been sold and i am now in dispute with the new owners who are threatening to block up my fire exit as my door opens up onto their land. We are currently searching through deeds and paperwork as these building relate back to 1800. Q. does this new owner have the right to this??? I have been in operation since 2009. The fire walkway my dad laid down has been there for 10 years plus? What can i do???

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Guest Darr44
On 21/05/2018 at 19:45, AnthonyB said:

This is a double post ,being asked in another section. I refer you to my answer there.

Hi can you direct me to your answer for this, I'm struggling to find it. Really appreciate it. Thank you

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Guest Fed up

Hi i am going through the same problem a commercial property next door to me has instated doors that come directly out into my private yard. 2 doors. The first door they have an easment over. I know i cant do anything about this. The second door at the end of my yard they have no easment over. I have had the fire officer telling me to move my bins as im obstructing a final escape door. Even when i have explained to them that they have no legal easment to enter my property at that point. Can someone help me.

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Check out https://www.safelincs-forum.co.uk/topic/5637-fire-exit-to-be-closed/?tab=comments#comment-12036. Yours is the reverse of this situation and in your case get your solicitor to send a letter to next door telling them you are going to block off the second exit and give them reasonable time to make alternative arrangements then block it off, check this with your solicitor first. Your solicitor should deal with the situation and advise you accordingly. 

 

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