Developer thwarting my house sale

Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby Breadcrumbs » Mon May 08, 2017 12:40 am

I will try to make this brief and clear.

My property purchased 4 years ago, it was built in 2009.
I examined the online plans for the build, planning permission and plans.
The property has a path on the east side, adjoined to the property wall. It runs the length of the property and garden.
The planning application refers to rear access via the path.
The plans show the path.
The plans show a fence along the east edge of the path, marked as being the site boundary.
No objections were raised by the owner of the adjoining land, which I would have expected him to do if a path and fence were being erected on his property.
The fence was never erected as it bordered open land. It was instead erected in line with the property wall on the west side of the path. Hence the path is open on the east side.
I asked my solicitor who owned the path, I have a letter stating that it is within the legal boundary.

I purchased the property in the belief that I owned the path.

Fast forward 3 years.

A developer now owns the open land.
He applied for planning permission.
His plans showed the path as belonging to his new build, and gated off.
His rear garden goes right up to my rear garden fence.
I raised this with the council. They added a caveat to the planning approval that the path was not to be used during the build.

Fast forward a few months and I decide to sell my property.
The developer contacted me and visited. He only has the LR plan with a red general boundary shown.
He started off trying to infer that I did not own the path, then suggested that the boundary ran down the middle of it, and then stated that he wanted shared access. I advised him that as the property had a buyer I could not change the deal, and that if he wished to discuss it with them after they moved in, that was a matter between them and him.
When I declared that the boundary was the edge of the path, not the middle, and that I had evidence to support this, he stated that he would prevent me selling my property.
The developer wrote to my estate agent at the eleventh hour telling them that his company owned the land next door, and asked me to confirm this with my buyer.
This claim had to be disclosed, and despite me providing all available evidence to the contrary, on the day of exchange my buyer withdrew.

I have plans and deeds dating back to the 1950's.
Overhead satellite images dating back to 1998.
The builder that built my property has confirmed that as far as he is aware the path is inside my boundary.
I have spoken to the elderly lady that sold him the land. It used to belong to her father. She lived in his adjoining house, She confirmed that the path belonged to her father, and that she used it as a child, It was the access path from the house to the garages that her father had on the land (which is where my property is built).
There are no easements over the path, not on my deeds, and not on the deeds for the adjoining land.

Can anyone tell me if there is a way out of this. Is there anything that I can do to prevent the developer blackmailing me? He merely needs to mention 'boundary dispute' and any potential buyer will vanish.
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby despair » Mon May 08, 2017 8:24 am

like all developers he is a bully and is trying to land grab because every square inch = £ss
but also he is threatening you and refusing to face the truth and thereby devaluing your property
are other neighbours also affected?

can you not get a solid fence or wall built PDQ along the boundary
even slam in heavy metal stakes through heavy pallets to make a barrier

you need sworn afadavits from previous owners thats for sure
do you have legal expenses cover on your mortgage or insurances or credit cards or union membership
because this bully needs putting in his place
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby Breadcrumbs » Mon May 08, 2017 9:32 am

I asked the council if I could erect a fence in accordance with the original planning permission for my property, and they confirmed that this would be in order. However, this would not be cheap, both due to the length of the fence and the fact that it would mean installing the posts in a concrete path. This is the main reason that I haven't done so. The other is that the existence of a fence wouldn't change anything regarding the position of the boundary, the physical boundary according to all the evidence that I have found is the edge of the concrete path.

Yes, I have spoken to elderly residents who have confirmed that the path belonged to 'Alex' the original owner of the house and garages, as well as his daughter, all of whom confirm that the path was owned by Alex. I have considered getting signed statements from them, but I would need to be careful about the wording to ensure that the statements held up at any tribunal, if it came to that. I have been unable to find a template on the web.

The issue is that no matter what evidence I have, the developer can still do what he did with my last buyer and simply send a free email that kills the sale. There were five in the chain last time, and all of us lost money.

The only remedy that i can see is to apply for a determined boundary, but that would be a huge expense, and no guarantee of success. I suggested to the developer that if he thought he had a claim to the path then he should lodge a claim himself, but in three years he has never done so. Legal expenses cover does not include boundary insurance, I enquired about this, the small print does not refer to the exclusion specifically, but the wording means that no cover exists for disputed boundaries.

It seems that the law is skewed in favour of the land grab claimant, everywhere I have looked, it seems that anyone can claim someone else's land, and unless they have enough money to defend the claim, they are obliged to simply hand it over. He could theoretically claim my entire house and garden as being on his land if he chose to do so, I wouldn't be able to afford any court costs at all, so would just have to give him the keys and walk away.
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon May 08, 2017 12:30 pm

Hi Breadcrumbs,

he's going to find it just as difficult to sell with a boundary dispute.

do any of your neighbours or the daughter mention how they know Alex owned the path, not just he used it?

in order to avoid being sued for misrepresentation by your buyer you should be declaring the disagreement on the SPIF anyway - maybe finding out from the neighbour is what is putting potential buyers off...

this case sounds very similar to yours: viewtopic.php?t=19157

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby Breadcrumbs » Mon May 08, 2017 2:58 pm

From the outset I declared that the developer may be interested in negotiating for shared use of the path. That was the situation when I completed the form. I also instructed my solicitors to operate with total transparency as I was well aware of the possibility of litigation if anything was concealed. It wasn't until a week or two before exchange that the developer threw a spanner in the works with a claim that he owned everything beyond my house wall.

The reason that they know Alex owned the path is that they had no claim on it. Quite simply, he laid the path down the side of his land to adjoin another path that led to his house. He used the pathways to get from the house to the garages and garden area. It led nowhere except up to the side of his garages. He had no easement over it, he didn't need one, the path was on his land. The mere fact that when my property was built, no occupiers of any surrounding properties objected to the location of the site boundaries, the proposed fence, or the side access path bears this out. The then owner of the land that the miscreant developer now owns did not raise objections to the path either, which further supports the notion that the path is within the boundary of my title. The path has been there for many decades.

The path isn't open to the public, it is, and always has been, sealed off at both ends, it served no purpose other than to enable Alex to walk from his house to his garages without getting his feet muddy.

You are right about the developer not being able to sell any new build, he has shot himself in the foot, however, the problem still remains...how do I get rid of his pointless claim. He has absolutely no evidence of a claim to the path, all that he has is the LR title plan with a general boundary marked in red, which as we all know is pretty much a worthless document as far as boundary location is concerned. It is physical evidence on the ground that counts. I have my original planning application, the plans, the design and access statement etc, along with everything listed above.

Thanks for the link, I will take a look at that post.
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby mr sheen » Mon May 08, 2017 4:41 pm

The history relating to the path seems to be lots of hearsay, so you may need to open your mind to the reality being slightly different from what you are currently asserting....more research appears to be required. What Alex said ...doesn't cut it....put together a pack of paper evidence to support your position and get statements of truth from relevant people, aerial photos, old deeds etc etc
The developer is within his rights to notify the estate agent of a dispute. However, he cannot just allow the matter to sit there.

I would write and include all the evidence that supports my position to the developer along the lines.....

As a result of your notification of a boundary dispute, the buyer of my property has withdrawn from the purchase of my property with the result that I have incurred costs.

Please find enclosed evidence that clearly illustrates that the lane alongside my house is part of my property.

If you dispute the boundary or claim any other interest in the lane, please outline the particulars of your claim and provide evidence to support your assertions within 21 days of the date of this letter. These will be forwarded to my solicitors for consideration so that the matter can be resolved.

If you fail to provide the requested documentation, I can assume that there is no evidence to support any claim of a boundary dispute. Continuing to claim a boundary dispute without supporting evidence will be considered to be spurious and malicious. If you fail to provide details of your claim and supporting evidence, you need to withdraw your complaint of a dispute and I will Re-market my property. If you fail to withdraw the boundary dispute claim and fail to provide details of a dispute and supporting evidence, I will hold you responsible for all costs that result from your unproven claim including but not limited to loss of sale of property and associated costs and will take such action as is required to recover these costs.
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby despair » Mon May 08, 2017 7:19 pm

Excellent Mr Sheen
definitely best way forward
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby arborlad » Tue May 09, 2017 7:17 am

Breadcrumbs wrote:The fence was never erected as it bordered open land. It was instead erected in line with the property wall on the west side of the path. Hence the path is open on the east side.
I asked my solicitor who owned the path, I have a letter stating that it is within the legal boundary.

I purchased the property in the belief that I owned the path..




Although knowledge of the paths previous ownership and use is important, it's evidence that the path and the land it occupied was conveyed to you and didn't remain with the vendor that is needed.

How wide is the path and what type of fence is it?..........no reason why posts can't be fixed to concrete if it's suitable.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Developer thwarting my house sale

Postby ukmicky » Tue May 09, 2017 11:47 pm

mr sheen wrote:The history relating to the path seems to be lots of hearsay, so you may need to open your mind to the reality being slightly different from what you are currently asserting....more research appears to be required. What Alex said ...doesn't cut it....put together a pack of paper evidence to support your position and get statements of truth from relevant people, aerial photos, old deeds etc etc
The developer is within his rights to notify the estate agent of a dispute. However, he cannot just allow the matter to sit there.

I would write and include all the evidence that supports my position to the developer along the lines.....

As a result of your notification of a boundary dispute, the buyer of my property has withdrawn from the purchase of my property with the result that I have incurred costs.

Please find enclosed evidence that clearly illustrates that the lane alongside my house is part of my property.

If you dispute the boundary or claim any other interest in the lane, please outline the particulars of your claim and provide evidence to support your assertions within 21 days of the date of this letter. These will be forwarded to my solicitors for consideration so that the matter can be resolved.

If you fail to provide the requested documentation, I can assume that there is no evidence to support any claim of a boundary dispute. Continuing to claim a boundary dispute without supporting evidence will be considered to be spurious and malicious. If you fail to provide details of your claim and supporting evidence, you need to withdraw your complaint of a dispute and I will Re-market my property. If you fail to withdraw the boundary dispute claim and fail to provide details of a dispute and supporting evidence, I will hold you responsible for all costs that result from your unproven claim including but not limited to loss of sale of property and associated costs and will take such action as is required to recover these costs.
Perfect
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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