'Bully' neighbour ordered to pay £60k for ‘selfish’ parking after blocking cars in ‘toxic’ row over few feet of space | The Sun

A 'BULLYING' accountant has been ordered to pay £60k to his neighbours after his “selfish” parking, a court heard.

Ivan Soares, 53, and Manish Kothari, 41, who are both accountants, have been locked in a bitter feud over the parking in their West London cul-de-sac since 2015.

Bindu Kothari, her husband Sandip and brother-in-law Manish claimed their neighbour had frequently boxed them in by parking inches from their car, and had obstructed their garage.

Mr and Mrs Soares meanwhile accused their neighbours of trespassing on their own parking space, with tensions running so high during the row that police have been involved.

But Mr Soares and his wife Sunita have now been told to pay out £60,090 compensation at Central London County Court after Judge Jane Evans-Gordon said his parking behaviour was a form of "bullying."

The “toxic” neighbours' row, which has racked up over £100,000 in lawyers' bills, revolved around three car parking spaces outside the homes in Fallowfield Close, Harefield.

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Two were owned by Mr and Mrs Soares and a third in between them was owned by the Kotharis.

Historically, Mr and Mrs Soares had allowed a "swap" arrangement, whereby they parked their vehicles in the two adjacent spaces on the left, closest to their house, with the Kotharis using the space on the right.

The couple said that was a "sensible" thing to do as it allowed them to park their cars together in front of their house, with their neighbours parking closest to their own house and garage.

But the neighbours fell out over the parking arrangements – after allegations of inconsiderate parking – and, in September 2018, Mr and Mrs Soares "revoked" the swap agreement.

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The parking feud ended up before a judge in 2021, when it was ruled that Mr and Mrs Soares had validly revoked the swap agreement and that the space on the right is rightly theirs.

But the case returned to court last week as Mr and Mrs Soares claimed compensation for the Kotharis having "trespassed" on their land by continuing to park in the space for nearly two years after the swap deal came to an end.

However, the Kotharis countersued, seeking compensation over their neighbours' bad parking, which they said had harmed the value of their property.

Mrs Kothari told the judge how her neighbour had routinely reversed his car towards her vehicle’s space, “getting closer and closer to her car until they are all but touching”.

And she said she had not used the middle space, which belongs to her family, since July 2022 "for fear of being boxed in" by their neighbour.

Mr Soares had also at times left the couple's car parked at the main road end of the cul-de-sac, “causing an obstruction”, as well as blocking access to the Kotharis’ garage.

The Kotharis claimed the value of their £750,000 home has been slashed due to the impact of their neighbours’ oppressive parking, with an estate agent telling them the problems would have to be disclosed to potential purchasers and could reduce the sale value by up to 10 percent.


Giving judgment, Judge Evans-Gordon said a police officer who had attended the road over the dispute had described Mr Soares' parking as "selfish and unnecessary."

Having reversed until his vehicle was very close to Mrs Kothari's, he had turned his wheels towards her car before leaving, said the judge.

Branding Mr Soares’ parking “high handed, insulting and oppressive,” the judge added: “this is exemplified by the evidence given by Mrs Kothari, who told me that when she couldn’t access her car she asked Mr Soares to move his car because she couldn’t get to work, but he said ‘that’s not my problem’ – and refused to move his car.

“There is no better example of high-handed and insulting behaviour."

She awarded the Kotharis £60,090 to compensate them for their neighbours' trespassing on their space, damage done to their parking area and for the reduction in value of their house caused by the dispute.

She said: “Given the claimant’s behaviour – which amounts to bullying – a potential purchaser might be fearful of repeat incidents. Hence the reduction in value."

“There is no better example of high-handed and insulting behaviour."

On top of awarding compensation to the Kotharis, the judge slapped a series of injunctions on Mr and Mrs Soares, barring them from straying onto their neighbours’ parking space or in front of their garage.

Ruling in favour of Mr and Mrs Soares on their own claim, the judge awarded them £2,530 in trespass damages from the Kotharis for their continued use of the right sided parking space after the "swap agreement" was ended.

And the judge also accepted that the Kotharis had in the past "obstructed" their neighbours' turning circle through parking.

But she declined to grant an injunction banning this conduct because she was “not satisfied there’s been any obstruction of that turning circle for some years”.

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The Kotharis must pay Mr and Mrs Soares’ legal costs in bringing their trespass claim, while Mr and Mrs Soares must pay for their neighbours’ costs in bringing their counterclaim.

A separate judge will have to assess the precise amount of costs each side has to pay up but an earlier hearing was told the case has already run up around £100,000 in lawyers' bills.

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