Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

marley46
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Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by marley46 » Tue May 03, 2011 10:32 am

Hi

Can anyone give me any advice??

We have purchased a piece of land from a farmer, which had no right of ways on. We have now fenced off our piece of land and put a lock on the gate. We now have had a letter from our neighbour requesting a key to our gate so he can access this piece of land as he has done for many years.

"provide a key to the gate into your field to enable me to use the right of way which I have enjoyed for many years"

He said that he has spoken to his solicitor and he confirms that he enjoys such a right!! and if we do not provide a key within 7 days he will get his solicitor to take up the matter.

When this was the farmers field he did allow people to cross this part of land as a shortcut to the public footpatch that runs across the bottom of our land so does our neighbour have any right??

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Mojisola
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by Mojisola » Tue May 03, 2011 4:01 pm

I would ask him to send you a copy of the paperwork that says he has a ROW over the land.

mr sheen
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by mr sheen » Tue May 03, 2011 4:03 pm

If the neighbour has benefited from crossing the field for many years, it is likely that he has gained a ROW. Check with the farmer that sold it to you. If it is an agricultural area and a PF exists further on and locals crossed the field to get to the PF, this suggests that this was the norm and that the right probably exists.

Since you have only owned it for a short while, if the previous owner is not wholly on your side against the existence of the ROW you could embark upon a very expensive 'loser' by entering into dispute.

span
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by span » Tue May 03, 2011 6:36 pm

....and what if the scenario is: he (the neighbour) was using the field, with the full knowledge and permission of the farmer who owned it at the time, to reach the public footpath?

OP, what does the farmer say about this claim?

Is it likely that others will come forward and ask for a key to the gate, if/once they hear the first guy is sucessful?

I'd be inclined not to provide the key - at least not until everyone reached the Courthouse door...........

Sudynim
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by Sudynim » Tue May 03, 2011 7:29 pm

mr sheen wrote:If the neighbour has benefited from crossing the field for many years, it is likely that he has gained a ROW. Check with the farmer that sold it to you. If it is an agricultural area and a PF exists further on and locals crossed the field to get to the PF, this suggests that this was the norm and that the right probably exists.

Since you have only owned it for a short while, if the previous owner is not wholly on your side against the existence of the ROW you could embark upon a very expensive 'loser' by entering into dispute.
If the farmer sold it to them as having no ROW, but then turns around and supports the ROW claim, he's going to be liable for some serious damages. It's more likely that he will minimise or deny the previous use, and support the current owner.

But your point that there's serious consequences to a formal legal dispute is well made.

marley46
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by marley46 » Tue May 03, 2011 8:06 pm

We have spoken to the farmer and he has never given our neighbour any right of way or permission to go on the land.

There is no reason whatsoever for him to use our land.

mr sheen
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by mr sheen » Tue May 03, 2011 8:40 pm

[quote="SudynimIf the farmer sold it to them as having no ROW, but then turns around and supports the ROW claim, he's going to be liable for some serious damages. It's more likely that he will minimise or deny the previous use, and support the current owner.
.[/quote]

Land is usually sold subject to all easements etc.
Just because easements are not known doesn't mean they don't exist. It is likely that legal advisers insert 'not known' or 'none known' in the section relating to ROW leaving it open for claims of ROW and covering themselves in case a claim is made.
Check what the farmer's solicitors put on the answers to questions from the solicitors.
Be very wary of getting into a legal dispute on the basis that you think the farmer will fully support your stance - once he seeks legal advice he is likely to be advised to leave well alone and revert to his position of 'none known' if that's the term that was used on the answers to questions.

You could reply to the letter quite vaguely to see if he is serious and does engage solicitors since you need do nothing until he proves his claim
???along the lines of...

Thank you for your letter dated.....
We have no knowledge of any ROW or any other easements relating to the land in question.
We note that you intend placing this matter in the hands of your solicitors and therefore we will wait to hear from them with copies of the evidence that supports your claim.

ukmicky
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by ukmicky » Tue May 03, 2011 10:03 pm

Is their any other access to his property. ?

You can either ignore and hope he goes away which is possible just like it is possible that he/she has not seen a solicitor and is trying it on.

Or send a letter back saying.

Dear sir

As your land has no express right in the form of an easement granting any right of access over my land ,i must decline your request for me to place a gate in my fence and inform you that i will consider any access by you onto my land without my permission as trespass and will act according through the courts to prevent any further trespass from occurring.

If you however feel that you do in fact have a right prescriptive or otherwise and the fence i have erected is causing an interference with that right ,either place a claim at at the land registry in order to formally claim it or send me detailed evidence proving your right .
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

span
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by span » Tue May 03, 2011 10:17 pm

ukmicky wrote:Is their any other access to his property. ?

You can either ignore and hope he goes away which is possible just like it is possible that he/she has not seen a solicitor and is trying it on.

Or send a letter back saying.

Dear sir
As your land has no express right in the form of an easement granting any right of access over my land , i must decline your request for me to place a gate in my fence
and inform you that i will consider any access by you onto my land without my permission as trespass and will act according through the courts to prevent any further trespass from occurring.

If you however feel that you do in fact have a right prescriptive or otherwise and the fence i have erected is causing an interference with that right ,either place a claim at at the land registry in order to formally claim it or send me detailed evidence proving your right .
I've bigged & bolded. Micky, the fence is already up. The gate is already installed. The lock is already on the gate. All done by the OP on their own initiative. The neighbour is asking for a key to said lock.

marley46
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by marley46 » Tue May 03, 2011 10:18 pm

This is not his only access to his property.

I have just searched the internet under his daughters name and what a surprise, she works for a solicitor!!!!!

span
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by span » Tue May 03, 2011 10:21 pm

marley46 wrote:This is not his only access to his property.

I have just searched the internet under his daughters name and what a surprise, she works for a solicitor!!!!!
Gotta love Google! 8)

ukmicky
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by ukmicky » Tue May 03, 2011 10:28 pm

span wrote:
ukmicky wrote:Is their any other access to his property. ?

You can either ignore and hope he goes away which is possible just like it is possible that he/she has not seen a solicitor and is trying it on.

Or send a letter back saying.

Dear sir
As your land has no express right in the form of an easement granting any right of access over my land , i must decline your request for me to place a gate in my fence
and inform you that i will consider any access by you onto my land without my permission as trespass and will act according through the courts to prevent any further trespass from occurring.

If you however feel that you do in fact have a right prescriptive or otherwise and the fence i have erected is causing an interference with that right ,either place a claim at at the land registry in order to formally claim it or send me detailed evidence proving your right .
I've bigged & bolded. Micky, the fence is already up. The gate is already installed. The lock is already on the gate. All done by the OP on their own initiative. The neighbour is asking for a key to said lock.
Sry speed reading.

Change it to i must decline your request for a key :)
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

marley46
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by marley46 » Wed May 04, 2011 8:02 am

I would like to also add that our boundry fence has been up for over a year now and he has not been on or needed access onto our land for any reason.

pilman
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by pilman » Wed May 04, 2011 2:36 pm

Unless the neighbour can provide a deed granting such a right or can prove 20 years use of a particular route as a prescriptive right of way, then he has no right of way.

For people to claim a public right of way, there has to be evidence of 20 years uninterrupted user provided by the applicants, following an application to modify the definite map and statement that records all known public rights of way in the area of a Highway Authority.
This is dealt with by the Highway Authority so no legal costs are necessary.

You are unlikely to face legal fees unless the neighbour seeks a court order that he has obtained a right of way for the benefit of his property.
It is not a personal right but an easement that will benefit his property.

The first question is, would the right to walk across the field benefit his property?
The second question is, has it been used for 20 years or was a deed granted that set out the right.

These are facts that need to be proven to a court if the matter was to be taken that far.
Once you consider the legal costs of taking such action, I would consider the chances fairly slim that the neighbour will actually do anything other than try and have a letter sent by a solicitor setting out the dire consequences if you do not do as he wants.

That is the BBB letter often sent under these circumstances addressed to a lay-person unfamiliar with English Land Law.

BBB is the Bullshit Baffles Brains system used by many solicitors, which I have now seen on a number of occasions whilst assisting people who posted on Garden Law.
My new hobby is responding to these letters by stating that facts have been misinterpreted and points of law claimed have no validity.

I would have ignored the neighbour's request for a key, but Mr. Sheen's comment earlier is a polite way to respond without conceding anything.
Thank you for your letter dated.....
We have no knowledge of any ROW or any other easements relating to the land in question.
We note that you intend placing this matter in the hands of your solicitors and therefore we will wait to hear from them with copies of the evidence that supports your claim.

span
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Re: Does my neighbour have any right of way??? PLEASE HELP

Post by span » Wed May 04, 2011 4:06 pm

pilman wrote:BBB is the Bullshit Baffles Brains system
AKA Bluff, Bluster & Bullshit.
:mrgreen:

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