Beyond her courtyard are buildings which face onto the street - so apart from the passageway her courtyard is landlocked. Beyond her back wall is another landlocked courtyard belonging to one of the buildings facing the street. Because of the arrangement of the buildings this does not have the same passageway and access to the driveway - the only way to access it is via the property.
The owners of this property have approached the family member informally to ask whether she would allow them to knock down part of her boundary wall and install a gate so that they can access her passageway and gate to the driveway. She has asked the request to be put in writing and she will then consult her family members (us!) as to what to do.
So some questions for knowledgeable folk please:
- Do you think granting access in the way suggested would affect the value of her property? It would definitely reduce the privacy of her property as the only place for a gate is within the courtyard rather than down the passageway and out of view of her house.
- If she decided she was happy to grant this access, would this be an easement and I assume both parties would need to instruct solicitor to ensure it was properly written up?
- If she decided to go ahead, should she request some compensation? Basically - pros and cons?? I can see how it would advantage the other property but can't really see any advantage to elderly family member.
- Could she grant the access as a temporary measure with the access and gate being removed again when her property is sold or is that just asking for trouble?
She has no relationship to speak of with the neighbours - nothing untoward she just doesn't know them but she does tend to be a people pleaser....
Snowsquonk wrote:The owners of this property have approached the family member informally to ask whether she would allow them to knock down part of her boundary wall and install a gate so that they can access her passageway and gate to the driveway. She has asked the request to be put in writing and she will then consult her family members (us!) as to what to do.
I think the absence of an existing gate says it all, no rights exist over your relatives land and they would be unwise to grant any. As a caveat, it is possible that a previous gateway had been bricked up - but it would be easy to tell.
smile...it confuses people
- Posts: 7059
- Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:13 pm
- Number of Posts per Page: 100
- Number of topics per page: 50
can you confirm that she does own the passageway and whether it is already burdened by any RoWs?
an aside - if her property isn’t registered then you ought to have a sols take a look at the paper deeds in case you/she misunderstands what she owns...
kind regards, Mac
Agreed.despair wrote:I would tell them in no uncertain but very polite terms .....NO
I can't believe their nerve to even ask for it.
We will need to check her deeds to be absolutely sure but she is usually quite on the ball with things.
Gut instinct is a polite refusal - it would really affect her privacy.
I'm attaching a diagram which I hope will help. There is access to my MIls courtyard and then the house via a walkway (there is also access from the other end of her property this is not the only access) - this leads from a small parking area, and then between the wall of some flats and a very old boundary wall at the back of some houses. In her title deeds it is written that as the owner of the house she has a right of way across the walkway and the hatched area in the diagram which is used as a small parking area for the flats.
Currently, the land of the walkway is unregistered. There is a gate where marked on the map which only she has a key to. There is no further gate but I put a line in at the right hand end of the walkway because that is where Mr X wants the gate to be moved to.
Mr X has, for at least the last 20 years, been trying to establish an entrance where I've marked on the diagram. You can see that the rear garden of his property is land-locked - there is no rear access and his previous attempts to cut an access through the ancient wall and into the walkway have resulted in him being told by solicitors (of the previous owners of MIL's house) to stop.
Earlier this year, Mr X or his representatives (we are not sure which, my mother in law is in her eighties, lives alone and can be both easily manipulated and easily confused. She's also quite deaf) called on my MIL and explained that they would like to be able to bring things in to the house through the back, and it would be really helpful if they could have rear access through the wall into the walkway. She said she thought that would be OK but she'd ask her solicitor to get involved (she is in many respects very on the ball!).
Solicitor looked at the case, got advice from counsel, and then sent a letter to Mr X via his legal advisors telling him no. This is based on the only person with a right of way over the walkway is MIL, the amount of time the gate has been in situ (since 1933!) and because previous attempts have been thwarted.
MIL's house is now on the market. She has received a letter from Mr X's legal team threatening legal action in one letter, and then in another making an offer that he will pay for and arrange for the gate to be moved to the right, so that he can then cut his access into the walkway and use it. He is offering £1.5K for the inconvenience.
It's accept his offer or face legal action. We have to respond by next Friday according to Mr X's solicitors.
We are confused as MIL's title deed shows very clearly that her property does not include the walkway. She has a legal right of way over it but the land itself is currently not registered. So my first thought is that legally this has nothing to do with MIL - she has a right of way over some unregistered land to a gate. My second is - we really need to get her house sold as she is moving to sheltered accomodation. If we call Mr X's bluff there will be a potential legal dispute which will need to be resolved before the house can be sold - we think Mr X knows the house is for sale and that is why he's making another attempt now. We could roll over, take his money, move the gate, sell the house and walk away. He has no right of way over the walkway but that won't be our problem. He will also have no right of way over the hatched area either but that also won't be our problem.
As I said I'll be taking advice from the solicitor on Monday but I wondered if any legally-minded folk had any thoughts?
2. As it's her wall that he wants to knock his gate through - then the answer to that one is "It's MY wall and I choose not to allow anyone else to alter it in any way".
I'm darn sure most people would turn round and refuse to allow a stranger to amend their wall to their property - at least unless that person was prepared to pay for it (and rather more than £1,500 at that). The usual response to a request to amend one's own wall would be a two word response and the second word would be "......off".
You are clear in your post that the walkway land is unregistered. Is your mother-in-law's house unregistered as well?
If both are unregistered it would explain why MrX and his legal team assume that the owner of the walkway is the same as your Mil's house, and thus why they have made contact with your mother-in-law.
It is a pity that your mother-in-law's property benefits from an expressed right of way because it means that a claim for adverse possession of the walkway up as far as the gate will probably fail.
You say that the solicitors of Mr X have threatened legal action, are you able to tell us upon what basis this might be?
It is a fact that many a solicitor uses the three "B" tactics of Bullying, Bluster and Bullshot.
If they have threatened legal action, this ordinarily must be considered a 'dispute' which should be declared on the sale of her property......but since it doesn't concern your mother-in-law's property I cannot personally see that it should be declared ( the otherside are pehaps thinking that this is a good bully tactic to 'force' Mil to agree to granting an easment for access). From what we currently know Mr X should find out who owns the wall between his property and the walkway, the owner of the walkway and the owner of the hatched area,; he should seek to negotiate with those owners to purchase or otherwise arrange an easement.
It would be morally wrong for your Mil to grant an easment over land that she doesn't own, even if she used the words "in so far as the grantor is legally entitled to grant......."
If Mil's property is unregistered then a thorough look through the deeds pack may indicate or suggest the ownership of the walkway.
On what legal basis did your barrister get your solicitor to write to MrX's solicitor to say "No" to his previous request for access.
It's the walkway which is unregistered. Mils house and courtyard are registered. I need confirmation of this from the solicitor but we think she is seeking to get the walkway registered as part of Mils property.
Legal basis for declining Mr Xs request to move the gate and share access to the walkway was that there is no legal basis for Mr X to claim ROW. There has never been access, as there is no access Mr X hasn't had many years of using the walkway...He's had no years of using it!
The nasty letter says that Mr X has tried to reach an amicable solution. As that has failed he is threatening to move the gate and then issue legal proceedings against MIL to recover his costs including legal fees. The nice letter says MIL can avoid that by letting him move the gate at his own expense and pocket £1500.
This is bullying isn't it?!