MIL facing threat of legal action

Snowsquonk
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:34 pm

Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by Snowsquonk » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:59 am

An elderly family member lives alone in a little cottage. Her back garden comprises a small courtyard and a passageway leading to a gate which gives access and ROW over the entrance drive to a block of flats.

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....

Thanks

arborlad
Posts: 8256
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:30 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by arborlad » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:37 am

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.

Thanks


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.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Snowsquonk
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by Snowsquonk » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:49 pm

Thank you - there is no evidence of an existing right of way/previous gate.

despair
Posts: 16363
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:07 am

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by despair » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:24 pm

I would tell them in no uncertain but very polite terms .....NO

MacadamB53
Posts: 6570
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:13 pm
Number of Posts per Page: 100
Number of topics per page: 50

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by MacadamB53 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:28 pm

Hi Snowsquonk,

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

Eliza
Posts: 342
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:28 am

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by Eliza » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:28 pm

despair wrote:I would tell them in no uncertain but very polite terms .....NO
Agreed.

I can't believe their nerve to even ask for it.
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

Snowsquonk
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by Snowsquonk » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:18 am

Relative says she owns the passageway and she is not aware of any existing row on the passageway or her courtyard.

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.

despair
Posts: 16363
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:07 am

Re: Neighbour requesting access to garden gate

Post by despair » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:53 pm

Not only her privacy but also house value too

Some people really have a flipping cheek and hope they can con the elderly

Snowsquonk
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:34 pm

MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by Snowsquonk » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:36 pm

We have an elderly relative who is trying to sell her house - its my mother in law and she does have a solicitor who I'll be speaking to on Monday but in the meantime I'd welcome views here.

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?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

arborlad
Posts: 8256
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:30 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by arborlad » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:30 pm

Is this the same property/relative: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21073
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Eliza
Posts: 342
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:28 am

Re: MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by Eliza » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:16 pm

1. Does she or doesnt she actually own the passageway? It sounds as if she doesnt. If she doesnt own it - then she has no legal right to grant anyone else a "Right of Way" over it and he couldnt legally use it anyway. A letter from a solicitor to Mr X should say words to the effect of "As I don't own this passageway and I use it for purposes of ROW - then I am unable to sell you access to it for ROW purposes. I suggest you contact the owner of the passageway and ask them about whether they are willing to grant you ROW on their land". That should stymie him and have him running round in circles trying to find out just who the owner of that passageway land is.

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".
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

IdefixUK
Posts: 518
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:07 pm
Number of topics per page: 25

Re: MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by IdefixUK » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:30 pm

Hello snowsquonk.
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.
Regards

Snowsquonk
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by Snowsquonk » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:14 pm

Thank you for your replies. Yes it's the same relative as in earlier post but I don't think we knew as much then as we did now!!

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?!

arborlad
Posts: 8256
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:30 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by arborlad » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:42 pm

Snowsquonk wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:14 pm
Thank you for your replies. Yes it's the same relative as in earlier post but I don't think we knew as much then as we did now!!



Best continued in that thread then...............
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

Snowsquonk
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 7:34 pm

Re: MIL facing threat of legal action

Post by Snowsquonk » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:59 pm

Oh sorry

Post Reply