Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Preparing for a neighbourly dispute

Parking to the letter

I never get to write letters like this that often though sometimes one just has to be polite, firm and resolute about protecting one’s property from abuse.

My apartment comes with a car parking space and they cost a premium in Amsterdam, as the last year turned difficult I attempted divesting myself of that asset without success and so the hardship that followed.

Thankfully, things have begun to turnaround and it is still part of my property as it sometimes gets used by neighbours or other apartment block residents that have the courtesy of asking to use the parking space.

Though, I do remember a birthday celebrant coming over to ask to use the space years ago at least that was the reason she gave for wanting usage but whilst I am not complaining the offer of a piece of birthday cake would definitely not have been snuffed at – there’s gratitude for you.

Taking liberties

So, by happenstance I took my bicycle into the garage to get air in the tyres and saw a car in my parking space, it did not belong to my neighbours or my friends so I called the Residents’ Committee about the problem that I have now learnt is rife in the apartment block.

There have even been instances when the illegal activity have involved the miscreants moving non-vehicular property of the spots to park their cars, how annoying.

The Residents’ committee got back to me today and offered a few suggestions including getting a vehicle removal firm to shift the car, meanwhile, I have be taking pictures of the “criminal” activity for actionable process.

Stretching the meaning of theft

One analogy I was given was I do not expect when I am away from my home on holiday to see others occupy my property without my consent, that would be burglary. Without extensive extrapolation to occupy a parking spot without permission is an inconvenience if needed and an affront to polite society even it is empty, it might not be burglary but its value gives it a context of an element of theft.

I have given the miscreant till tomorrow morning to move that car before I am compelled to take drastic action.

The responsibility is not mine

It would be interesting to note that as I placed the letter under the windscreen wiper there was an envelope just on the dashboard without an address but a mobile phone number, probably from the abuser expecting me to call and then using that occasion to ask for permission to use my parking space.

Well, honestly, after three days of my noticing the car on the spot, there is no reason for me to seek out the culprit and then be bounced into doing the person a favour. It is incumbent on that person to seek me out and do that, so there we are.

Without Prejudice

I do not know if Dutch law allows for the usage of “Without prejudice” letters, but in English law I am informed that it grants the sender certain privileges of protection of expression that the receiver cannot take advantage of in law.

Many a time, when I was in the UK, it came in handy when dealing with difficult situations. English just happens to be my mother tongue even whilst living in the Netherlands, my shame but then, it has its effective uses.

The purpose is to ensure I am not unnecessarily inconvenienced if I do decide to have the vehicle removed and rightly so. The letter appears below.

Without prejudice

To whom it may concern,

I have noticed over the last few days that you have parked your car in my parking space without my permission.

Whilst the space is empty it does not make it a free parking space; it is a matter of common courtesy to request permission to put your vehicle in a place that you do not own.

I have for actionable purposes taken pictures of your vehicle on the space and reported the matter to the Residents’ Committee.

I would kindly suggest you remove your vehicle by dawn of the 23rd of September 2010 before I seek redress for this illegal activity.

I hope with this note you are duly notified without prejudice and with the utmost consideration on my part.

With the kindest regards,

Signed with contact number.

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