I'm forcing my formerly friendly neighbours to demolish £80k extension that's 2ins too close to our home…it's depressing | The Sun

A HOMEOWNER has opened up about a "depressing" dispute with formerly friendly neighbours who were forced to demolish a £80,000 extension just two inches from his home.

Avtar and Balvinder Dhinjan were left fuming when their neighbours Shabaz Ashraf, 45, and his wife Shakira, 40, built an extension encroaching into their property.

But a judge at Central London County Court ordered the Ashrafs to tear apart their extension at their £700,000 London home.

The Ashrafs estimate they spent a whopping £80,000 replacing the 1970s extension at the back of their house, only for the Dhinjans to complain it was inches over their boundary.

Despite the neighbours warring over the property line, the families were once on good terms.

But the fallout between the two formerly friendly residents reached boiling point in 2019.

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Mr Dhinjan, a former Ford car plant worker, claimed his neighbours "intended to annoy" him and his family by building over the boundary between their homes four years ago.

It led to the two neighbours who used to "live in harmony" clashing in a lengthy court battle.

Now, Mr Dhinjan has said that the stressful four-year ordeal had left him "under pressure".

And he added that the fallout had taken a severe toll on his mental health having once been on good terms with the Ashrafs.

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Speaking exclusively told The Sun, he said: "I'm very under pressure. 

"I've been going through it all for four years for no reason.

"I feel very depressed."

The relationship between the two families became so strained that the Ashrafs have now moved away.

A tenant is now currently living at the property and told The Sun they know nothing about the dispute.

The court also heard that the Ashrafs had challenged the Dhinjans to go to court multiple times when being accused of trespassing.

And relations only took a nosedive from that point onwards.

According to the judge, Mrs Ashraf had said to her neighbours during a row over the issue: “If you think we have come over, then go to court.”

Judge Roberts added: “This was exactly what was said by them (the defendants) on 29 April: ‘If you think we have come over, go to court. We will only move the wall if the court tells us’.

“From the very get go, the defendants, when confronted with the fact that this would be a trespass, have simply ignored it and said ‘go to court."

Judge Roberts told the court: "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 wall erected by the defendants is encroaching on the claimants’ land.

“The claimants put their case for an injunction on this basis. They say this is a case where the defendants acted in a high-handed manner throughout and have deliberately overridden the claimants when they were saying there was an encroachment on their land.”

Judge Roberts continued: "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."

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.

While admitting the "encroachment" over their border is very small, the Dhinjans complained their neighbours' extension is making their own house damp and "mouldy" because it is so close to their wall that it leaves no room for air circulation outside.

As well as having pay their own costs, he ordered Mr and Mrs Ashraf to pay their neighbours' lawyers bills – estimated at almost £100,000, with £49,009 up front.

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The total cost of the case was estimated by lawyers outside court at around £200,000, on top of which Mr and Mrs Ashraf will face the costs of tearing apart and rebuilding their extension.

The judge also told the Ashrafs to make a declaration that the fence between the two houses belongs to the Dhinjans.

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