Right of Way access path to rear gardens of terraced housing

Right of Way access path to rear gardens of terraced housing

Postby Flam » Thu May 04, 2017 6:46 pm

Interested in any opinions on the following..

Have a mid-terrace (House B) that, along with the immediately neighbouring end-of-terrace (House A) and another mid-terrace (House C), has right of way access to the rear of their gardens via a narrow path that runs along the back. On the deeds, this right of way path appears to be outside of the marked property boundaries of A, B and C. Bounding and beyond this RoW path is an unmaintained fence, deep hedgerow, and farmland.

In respect of the RoW, the deeds for houses A and B (and presumably C), state: "Part 1: Rights granted to the Purchaser. <snip> 2. A right of way on foot only over and along the footpath coloured brown on the plan annexed, the Purchaser and his successors in title paying a proportionate part of the cost of keeping the same in repair."

All good so far, here comes the fun.. the end of terrace neighbour (House A) has indicated he wants to extend his garden (and fencing) by 15ft across the RoW path, extending into the hedgerow of the farmland. He has also suggested he will informally reroute the RoW to himself, B and C, by running the path around the end of his now extended property boundary in a dogleg. Assume this land will be informally ‘borrowed’ from the farmer.

I objected, as the RoW over this path is part of our deeds, and that to move it informally would cause trouble down the line come property sale.

He has now said he will still reroute the path in a dogleg around the extended garden, but will additionally put a gate either side of his garden where the current RoW path runs so that it’s still ‘there’. At this point my brain broke and I can’t work out if that’s a valid, acceptable, or even legal solution (my gut says no?). The deeds mark a RoW over what is/was presumably part of the builder’s original land, not the neighbours plot/land - what are the implications if he co-opts the RoW path into his garden but still maintains access to it?
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Re: Right of Way access path to rear gardens of terraced hou

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu May 04, 2017 9:05 pm

Hi Flam,

you own what you own, and no more.

so, as long as the ROW is available for your property then all is good.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Right of Way access path to rear gardens of terraced hou

Postby arborlad » Thu May 04, 2017 10:29 pm

Flam wrote:All good so far, here comes the fun.. the end of terrace neighbour (House A) has indicated he wants to extend his garden (and fencing) by 15ft across the RoW path, extending into the hedgerow of the farmland. He has also suggested he will informally reroute the RoW to himself, B and C, by running the path around the end of his now extended property boundary in a dogleg. Assume this land will be informally ‘borrowed’ from the farmer.




This scenario is fraught with so many problems it's hard to know where to start - it should be an emphatic no to any changes to your existing ROW, whether its route, additional gates/fences etc., just say no.
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: Right of Way access path to rear gardens of terraced hou

Postby pilman » Mon May 08, 2017 1:48 pm

The Law of Property Act 1925 is still the law that relates to all property rights in England and Wales.

When someone buys a property that is considered to be ownership of a "legal estate" in the land, which includes all the buildings on that land.

When a property has a right of way granted, or any other easement such as common services of water drains, electric wires or gas pipes running across or over neighbouring properties these are "Legal Interests" over land that are also owned together with the legal estate in the physical property occupied by the buyer.

What the neighbour appears to be doing is to start to take possession of land that he does not have included in the legal estate he does own.

That will be adverse possession against the legal owner of that area of land, which may be two separate people if the path was originally part of the building plots set out by a builder and the farm is under separate ownership.

An interference with your granted right of way by someone taking possession of the path could be actionable if this is considered to be "a substantial obstruction " That is the legal term used when a claim is made that there is interference with a granted right of way.

If this attempt by the neighbour to take possession of all the land behind his house goes ahead with gated access over the original path made available to you, that may not be a substantial obstruction, as long as there is a way to open each gate when you need to walk over the path.

It may be necessary to open these gates each time you use the path, but as long as there is no other type of obstruction, such as a lock being placed on a gate even if you were to be given a key, then it is not likely that you would want to begin legal proceedings claiming that this adverse possession is in fact a trespass against your legal interest over the path.

I mention locks and keys because all persons intending to lawfully visit your property by using the back path have the legal right to do that. That is when a single key in your possession is not good enough, so that this then would probably meet the definition of a substantial obstruction to a granted right of way.

The problem with considering any possible legal action is that no outcome of a civil trial is ever guaranteed, although legal costs are.
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Re: Right of Way access path to rear gardens of terraced hou

Postby SwitchRich » Tue May 16, 2017 9:11 am

Brilliant pilman! Your posts are always so informative :)
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