Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

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scranes1
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Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by scranes1 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:10 am

Hi,

I am new to this forum and was hoping someone would have some advice to help with an issue that has come up with our neighbours. We live in a row of 6 terrace houses with a shared alley way at the back which is maintained and used by 5 of the houses presently to store bins / compost etc. All 5 houses which presently use the alley generally use the same access end as the one bit of land behind the other end terrace has been left to overgrow and is generally only accessable in the winter when all the grass and plants have died. One neighbour has recently had some work done on their house and the land in question was used by the builders as a quicker way to access the garden. The end terrace on the end which isn't maintained have without any warning extended their garden half way out into the alley and the house backing onto them have taken the other half resulting in the alley way now being blocked at one end.
This has apparently been instigated more by the house backing onto them who have no access to the alleyway as those houses are semi detached and has caused alot of upset amongst our neighbours.
The reason they are using for their actions are that the piece of land which they have used has been unused and not maintained for the past 7 years and therefore under "Crown estate" rules they can use it. Our deeds clearly state it is a shared "right of way" which cannot be extended upon and must be left as it is. The land taken also incorporates a working telegraph pole which now sits within the neighbours garden!
Have anyone had a similar instance and can give any advice on how to resolve this? We have informed the planning department at the council, BT re the telegraph pole as well as asked the fire brigade to do an assessment on the new arrangement? As mentioned it is starting to cause issues amongst the neigbours who previously all got on very well.

Thanks

MacadamB53
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by MacadamB53 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:09 pm

Hi scranes,

whether they own the land or not is immaterial it you own a RoW over the land - a RoW cannot be extinguished by non-use alone (even for 100s of years not just 7 years).

they are either bluffing or misinformed about the “Crown Land” angle - not relevant.

assuming you want to use the section they’ve enclosed, you and the other affected neighbours need to unite and persuade the perpetrators to remove the obstructions or else take them to court (it’s an open and shut case unless things are less clean cut as I understand).

you may have home insurance that includes legal cover - if so, the insurers would take them to court on your behalf.

kind regards, Mac

despair
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by despair » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:26 pm

Yes you all need to check all insurances, mortgages, union memberships, credit cards for legal expenses cover

The sheer threat of court should make them back down ...because any solicitor will tell them they are talking crap

Unless as Mac says theres some detail you have not conveyed from your deeds
Highly unlikely as ROW cannot be blocked or extinguished

pilman
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by pilman » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:40 pm

You need to understand that there are two property rights recognised by the Law of Property Act 1925, which is still the relevant Act that applies in England and Wales.

You own a Legal Estate in the physical plot of land on which your house is erected.
The Legal Estate includes all other buildings on the land as well as the soil beneath the ground and the air space above the property boundaries to a reasonable height.

You also own a Legal Interest over land that is part of a Legal Estate owned by someone else.

That is what a right of way is. It is a legal interest over land. It is the right to pass and repass over land where the Legal Estate is owned by someone else.

The back alley that you have described may be registered with a known owner, or often these old back alleys remain unregistered, because there has been no dealings with this land since the builder developed the terrace of houses and granted rights of way to allow access to all the back gardens. Once the houses were sold off and the profits banked by the builder, then ownership of this land may well have remained with the builder, unless the land directly behind each plot was conveyed with a right of way reserved over the part included in the alley.

That latter alternative can be established by looking at the copy of your own register of title and title plan to see if part of the alley is included inside the red line drawn on the plan.

Irrespective of who owns this back alley you can protect a Legal Interest over Land just as you can protect your Legal Estate if someone decided to start camping in your garden.

You can sue for trespass, which would mean a claim for damages due to the loss of your Legal Interest over that land, which is a right to pass and repass over the whole length of the the back alley.

This has nothing to do with the council, the fire brigade or B.T.

It is up to you and all the other neighbours with a right of way to begin legal proceedings seeking damages, and an injunction to prevent these two owners from interfering with the Legal Interest in land that is the property right you and the neighbours own.

One other fact of law is that someone who takes exclusive possession of unregistered property can claim ownership after 12 years of exclusive possession, but even that would be subject to any existing rights of way or other easements that already existed when that adverse possession began.
No one can just deny a lawfully granted right of way however they acquire the land, either by buying it, or by moving a fence to include the land within what is seen to be a physical boundary of someone's property.

The words "Crown Estate" are utter nonsense, unless one is referring to land owned by Queen Elizabeth II, which is managed by a body known as The Crown Estates.

The only time land reverts to Crown ownership is when someone dies with no living relatives to inherit the property, or a limited company is dissolved when it stills owns land.
Then that land is known as "Bona Vacantia" meaning "known to be vacant". Then the land is vested in the Treasury Solicitor who can deal with the land as legal owner.

Your near neighbour is working on the theory that Bullshit Baffles Brains.

You need to fully understand that concept and tell the neighbour to stop living in cloud cuckoo land.
The two neighbours are interfering with a legal property right you own.

You now need to do something about that.

ukmicky
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by ukmicky » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:27 am

The reason they are using for their actions are that the piece of land which they have used has been unused and not maintained for the past 7 years and therefore under "Crown estate" rules they can use it.
That is one of the most absurd reasons I have ever heard for someone trying to take land. It actually made me laugh.


As the others have said you have a ROW that is legally enforceable . Even if no one had stepped on this land for a hundred years you would still have a right of way across it. Tell them to remove there obstructions.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

Eliza
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by Eliza » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:48 pm

I sympathise re this.

The neighbour across the back alley from me in my last house was like this. Fortunately, I caught him in the act trying to put paving stones down on his side of our back alley and he was informed sharp-ish that I'd get onto the Council about it if he didn't stop RIGHT NOW. The Council were the ones that owned our back alley and he did indeed stop work immediately.

He had a second go some time down the line, by putting a plant in his back yard that quickly grew out across our back alley.That time I just trimmed his plant back exactly to his back yard wall and bent its branches so that they couldnt grow over our space again.

Maybe you could get onto your local Councillor about this?
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

scranes1
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by scranes1 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:35 pm

Thankyou all for your replies. I'm glad it just wasn't us who thought the work carried out by our neighbours was one of extreme arrogance and selfishness.

We are currently speaking with other neighbours with a view of instructing a solicitor to try and move things along, one bit of legal advice given to us was to take out an injunction against the neighbours at the local county course. Hoping it doesn't come to that but we won't be happy until the right of way is restored.

scranes1
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by scranes1 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:33 am

scranes1 wrote:Thankyou all for your replies. I'm glad it just wasn't us who thought the work carried out by our neighbours was one of extreme arrogance and selfishness.

We are currently speaking with other neighbours with a view of instructing a solicitor to try and move things along, one bit of legal advice given to us was to take out an injunction against the neighbours at the local county court. Hoping it doesn't come to that but we won't be happy until the right of way is restored.

SJC14
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by SJC14 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:04 pm

This has apparently been instigated more by the house backing onto them who have no access to the alleyway as those houses are semi detached and has caused alot of upset amongst our neighbours.
Did the extension of the back fences effectively stop other houses, with no ROW, to stop using the path? Does closing off part of the lane effect other properties as you still have normal access? You have said that that section was rarely used and overgrown, so has it really caused any issue? Is there less to maintain? There may be benefits from this potential land grab. I would check very carefully that the 2 houses who extended their fence line may be restoring a previous boundary: it is not uncommon for the last houses in a terrace to have a boundary that closes off the access lane. All of the terraced houses locally to me are like that,I guess as it stops people using the lanes as shortcuts.

Confusticated
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by Confusticated » Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:46 pm

My sympathies. I think you may be one of my ex-neighbours as something very similar happened to my former house a few years ago?

Actually in all likelihood that's an impossibly slim chance, and you say the house backing on has blocked the alley, but read on....

In my case I lived in the middle (say number 4) of a row of six Victorian terraced houses which ended at let's say number 6, which then had an alley along the side for access to all six houses' gardens, then another row of terraced houses starting at let's say number 7. The alley was about 2m wide and I used it every day for wheeling my bike from the shed at the bottom of my garden, then along the alley behind my neighbours, then along the alley going between gardens number 6 and 7 to the front of the house. The alley was shown on the house deeds which also spoke of requiring householders to maintain it for access, but the land forming it was not registered with the Land Registry.

No 7 built a side extension to their house which extended 1m into the side alley, thus goblbing up half of the alley and making it possible but a tight squeeze to get a bike through! They got planning permission to build up to the boundary but just carried on going beyond the boundary into the passageway.

I complained to my local Councillor, who got the city planning team to investigate. I also paid of my own money for a solicitor to give a legal opinion. The advice in both cases was that there was nothing they could do because although it was a breach of planning permission, the land wasn't owned by anyone and the passage was still wide enough to get my bike along, even though it was obviously now a lot narrower than before.

My worry at the time was that if that was the case, then there would be nothing to stop house no 6 in due course from building up to the new boundary of number 7 and blocking the passage and access to the rear gardens of houses 1-5 altogether.

Now if I have exactly described your situation and you really think I've identified you then by all means PM me and I'll privately correspond to let you know who I took it up with. But if not, at the risk of hijacking your thread it sounds like you my be in for a difficult fight and I can only with you success and advise you get all of your neighbours to act jointly rather than it be a fight just on your own.

When I sold my house I declared on the estate agents' form that I had taken legal advice about the side alley to a dispute with a neighbour. It was one of hundreds of questions I had to respond to and I doubt the buyer even looked at the answer, so I wouldn't necessarily worry about the impact this might have on a later house sale.

arborlad
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by arborlad » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:56 pm

SJC14 wrote:
This has apparently been instigated more by the house backing onto them who have no access to the alleyway as those houses are semi detached and has caused alot of upset amongst our neighbours.
Did the extension of the back fences effectively stop other houses, with no ROW, to stop using the path? Does closing off part of the lane effect other properties as you still have normal access? You have said that that section was rarely used and overgrown, so has it really caused any issue? Is there less to maintain? There may be benefits from this potential land grab. I would check very carefully that the 2 houses who extended their fence line may be restoring a previous boundary: it is not uncommon for the last houses in a terrace to have a boundary that closes off the access lane. All of the terraced houses locally to me are like that,I guess as it stops people using the lanes as shortcuts.


'There may be benefits from this potential land grab'................only for those doing the grabbing - certainly not for the OP or others with a right to use the alleyway.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

jonahinoz
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by jonahinoz » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:25 am

Hi,

As I see it, if you do not own this land, you cannot prevent anybody else from doing what they like on, or to, it. Only the paper owner has that authority. That is, provided they do not obstruct your right of way.

But if they do obstruct your right of way, who can you complain to? Do you have the right to take the law into your own hands? I understand that convoys of 4x4s, out on an off-road expedition will carry at least one chainsaw, and use it to unblock deliberately obstructed RoWs. They are very pedantic about keeping within the law, although there are a few vandals.

I assume the plot in question is the same width as the rest of the lane? Would anybody be offended it the "Land-grabbing Semis" simply cleared the overgrown lane, and used it as rear access to their properties? Arguably, it would be to the advantage of the Terrace Dwellers. Only the Paper Owner of the lane can stop them.

In the meantime, The Land Grabbers have provoked a dispute, which could come back and bite them, should they wish to sell. If they have moved their boundaries, and you have a RoW over the land they have grabbed ... how wide is your RoW?

John W

Morph
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Re: Neighbours extended garden into shared alleyway.

Post by Morph » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:21 am

Hi Scranes01
For your information this site has a section on Right of Way where similar scenarios are discussed there.

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