Property Clinic: ‘Our neighbour is blocking our driveway’

I know our neighbours are doing this to annoy us. Is there any way to prevent it?

‘Our neighbours are not approachable and we had to resort to leaving our bin outside our drive so that we could prevent them from parking outside our house.’ Photograph: iStock

We are having difficulty with our neighbour partially parking in front of our driveway. The issue we have is that we have a very unwell child with a serious medical condition and need to able to safely exit our drive 24 hours a day in case we need to bring her to hospital. We also need access for ambulances when required.

Unfortunately, our neighbours are not approachable and we had to resort to leaving our bin outside our drive so that we could prevent them from parking outside our house. They ended up reporting us to our local authority and a community warden called out. He agreed that the complaint was ridiculous as we are not causing any litter issues and when I called the council they said once he was happy there is no problem to leaving our bin there. The council advised me to ring the Garda as they would not deal with any parking issues.

I called the guards and they advised me that once the council was happy, there should be no issue as they are not aware of any legal stipulation that states a person cannot leave their bin outside their drive.

All we really want to know is if there is any way we can prevent our drive being blocked under the circumstances. I know it seems very petty and I know our neighbours are doing this to annoy us, but all I care about is being able to get in and out if I need to bring my child to the hospital. We do not seem to be able to get answers anywhere, with one public body telling us to contact another body, and vice versa. If any one could give us any advice on this matter we would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance.


In dealing with issues relating to land and property, I find that the most stressful situations are caused by inconsiderate neighbours who either damage, or seriously interfere with, a shared boundary without consultation; ignore their trees or hedges overhanging neighbours’ properties; ignore enforcement notices from local authorities; or park their cars without any concern for their neighbours’ rights. Your case clearly comes under the latter category.

It is unfortunate that one public body refers you to another and vice versa. However, you have clearly defined rights under road traffic legislation. The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997, section 36 (2) (g), state that, “A vehicle shall not be parked – in any place, position or manner that will result in the vehicle obstructing an entrance or an exit for vehicles to or from a premises, save with the consent of the occupier of such premises”.

This means that not only can your neighbours not block your driveway by parking in front of it, but they cannot park on the road close to, or across from/opposite your driveway on the other side of the road if, by parking in such a manner, they obstruct your exit from, or entry to, your driveway.

It appears to be a matter for the Garda. However, it is advisable to record instances and times of obstructions as evidence. You should take photographs that clearly identify the car causing obstruction. The photographs should show the car in relation to the entrance to your driveway. They should be dated and times of day included. The duration of the periods of obstruction should be recorded.

Before you approach the Garda, you should consider one last approach to your neighbours and appeal to their sense of fairness. Ask them if there is a reason why they make things difficult for you.

If they do not co-operate after this approach, you should then visit your local Garda station, make your complaint and present your photographic evidence. Brief the gardaí, on your final appeal to your neighbours. If the gardaí, are satisfied from your evidence that your neighbours are in breach of road traffic regulations, they will visit them and talk to them. You should then allow a period of say, a couple of weeks as your neighbours compliance may be “gradual”, so as not to be seen to be faced down. However, you should continue to record instances of obstruction as there may be no compliance with the regulations.

If they continue to obstruct your driveway, ensure that you have sufficient new evidence to support your case for a new complaint. Then visit your Garda station and renew your complaint. The situation will have now changed as on this occasion not only have your neighbours ignored your requests, but they have ignored the Garda’s advice. Based on your evidence, and their previous visit, the Garda will deal with the issue.

Remember, the law is on your side, it’s a matter of providing gardaí with sufficient evidence to enable them to enforce it.

Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered civil engineer, and a member of SCSI,