Neighbour using our land to turn around?

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loobiloo
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:46 pm

Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by loobiloo »

This forum is fascinating! I hope you don't mind that I ask another question.

We part-own a drive with our neighbour that runs between the houses to garages at the rear. The deeds clearly show the drive being a ROW for us both with the boundary in the middle. Now there's an additional area of land at the bottom of the drive, in front of our neighbour's garage, that is owned wholly by our neighbour but is a ROW for ourselves. It allows us access to our land at the rear, where we have a garage/garden/hardstanding. In years gone by, there was a large gate at the boundary between neighbour's land and ours. It is shown on plans dating to the 70s. But the gate was removed and hasn't been there for at least 12 years to my knowledge.

For various reasons our neighbour is in the habit of swinging their vehicle(s) onto our land in order to reverse onto their own side, enabling them to get out more easily. The garage appears to be used for storage.

If we were to reinstall the gate a) would this be within our rights? b) would neighbour be able to argue that they need the space on our land to turn their vehicle around, having used it for so long to do just that?

Sometimes the speed that our neighbour drives and swings onto our land bothers me in terms of safety. But I don't think there would be enough room as things stand for neighbour to do a 3-point turn on their own land.

I'm not looking to do this anytime soon - we've not fallen out with our neighbour or anything. It's just something I've wondered about and might be useful in the future?
jencast
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by jencast »

It would help to know the exact wording of the row over your land. Then you would know the limitations of what you and the neighbor can do over each other's land. If it is clear, I would reinstate that fence/gate pronto to interrupt/avoid any possible expansion of the row or any addl claims for a row due to prescription. The devil is in the detail.
moshbeard
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by moshbeard »

I would assume that you can install a gate if you like but probably wouldn't be able to complain if they opened it in order to use the land to turn around in, a bit like putting a gate on an alley with a right of way.
Sudynim
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by Sudynim »

loobiloo wrote: The deeds clearly show the drive being a ROW for us both with the boundary in the middle. Now there's an additional area of land at the bottom of the drive, in front of our neighbour's garage, that is owned wholly by our neighbour but is a ROW for ourselves...

For various reasons our neighbour is in the habit of swinging their vehicle(s) onto our land in order to reverse onto their own side, enabling them to get out more easily. The garage appears to be used for storage.

If we were to reinstall the gate a) would this be within our rights? b) would neighbour be able to argue that they need the space on our land to turn their vehicle around, having used it for so long to do just that?
I think they would have a strong case that reciprocal ROW's had been established by your common usage of that area. Whatever you do, don't rock the boat.
loobiloo
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:46 pm

Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by loobiloo »

Thanks for your replies. I hope the following documents make the situation clearer.

I'm attaching the actual wording from the land registry document:
shared drive.jpg
Here's the plan it refers to (1958 deeds) - note that it is our neighbour's house outlined in this plan. I can find no details of the shared access in our own deeds:
plan 1958.jpg
And here's the plan that shows the position of the gates I've mention (1978 I think). I have added the orange detail. The gate was wider than originally shown when we moved here 12 years ago, and the posts are still there. Neighbour's garage was made larger before our time here:
plan 1978.jpg
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pilman
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by pilman »

No. 34 can reverse all he likes on his own land, so why is he using the land belonging to 32?

It seems that you can use the green land to access your back land, but he has no right to use your land beyond the yellow right of way.
loobiloo
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by loobiloo »

Thanks Pilman. Neighbour's land (hardstanding) has a lot of 'stuff' on it, restricting the space. Garage is used for storage. The easy option is to drive onto our land and reverse back onto no.34.

My concern is: can our land become a ROW if we carry on allowing it to happen? Not sure what to do about it, since I don't want to cause problems....
pilman
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by pilman »

My concern is: can our land become a ROW if we carry on allowing it to happen?
Yes it can, after 20 years use without permisison , without force and openly exercised that use becomes a prescriptive easement.
That adds value to the land of the neighbour whilst reducing the value of the land you own.

There is quite a difference between not wanting to cause any problems and gifting a valuable property right to an aggressive neighbour by not doing anything to prevent such use of the land, which is currently a trespass, but after 20 years becomes a legal property right over your land.

There has been quite a lot of legal argument about whether a written permission will act to stop such use of land becoming a prescriptive right if such use has already started. It seems to be possible, but certain case law suggests it is not clear cut.

Use by force is also considered to apply if the land-owner constantly warns the neighbour to stop using the land and is ignored.

You need to decide what sort of relationship you want to continue with this neighbour, but doing nothing seems the less sensible option.
loobiloo
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by loobiloo »

Thanks again Pilman, this is the information I needed and it sounds like we (my husband and myself) need to look into it further and decide what action to take. Our neighbour will not take kindly to it, I'm sure, so we need to consider it very carefully.

Very much appreciate you taking the time to reply in full :)
Roblewis
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by Roblewis »

I would be inclined to keep asking him to desist and to install your gate as planned. His ROW is only the yellow area and thus you can remove him from elswhere. Keep a diary of every conversation with regards not using your land. But the gate I think is the best option to defend yourself against loss as outlined by Pilman
syckend
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by syckend »

I agree with all the warnings above. The gate is the best option but you could also put up a notice on your land saying:-
PRIVATE LAND. NO ACCESS OR TURNING.
Then photograph the notice with a copy of that day's paper set up alongside.

Such a notice is a common way of preventing a route becoming either a public or private ROW or a piece of land becoming a parking place after 20 years. By putting up a notice you would stop the time 'running' because any use thereafter would have to be with your permission. And if your neighbour persisted he would not be able to claim a prescriptive right.
I advise as an experienced layman whose dispute via Courts lasted 5+yrs. Try to avoid this route©
appledore
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by appledore »

We had a similar problem with our neighbour using part of our drive. Like your neighbours it was the easy option. It started with them doing it very occasionally, and then became more and more frequent until it was a nuisance. We asked them to stop,
parked our car there to stop them, but in the end we installed a gate. We wish we'd done it sooner.
Keep calm and carry on.
Roblewis
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by Roblewis »

Silly me the green is his and you have a RoW over it. The advice is the same though!! Erect a gate
loobiloo
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by loobiloo »

Thanks for your replies - we have decided to reinstall the gate when we have some other work (low fencing) done this summer. This thread has helped us come to this decision so I really appreciate the help.

Roblewis - I read your original reply the way it was intended! Actually, I find it strange that there is nothing explicit about the ROW in our own house deeds (everything refers to neighbour's documents). Is this common?

Hmm, if we decided to leave our gate open for a length of time and neighbour continued to use our land, would this be a continuation of previous use? Or is it best to simply keep it locked all the time?

It's all a bit tricky, but pilman's point about the value of our land being decreased in the future made our minds up!
pilman
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Re: Neighbour using our land to turn around?

Post by pilman »

I find it strange that there is nothing explicit about the ROW in our own house deeds (everything refers to neighbour's documents). Is this common?
It is when a sale of land took place and the vendor reserved a right of way over the land being sold for th ebenefit of the retained land.
That conveyance deed, with the details contained in it, belonged to the house purchased, so that when that house was first registered the words used in the conveyance were recorded in their Register of Title.

When your house came to be first regsitered, the 1954 conveyance was no longer available to show Land Registry because it was not a conveyance of your property.

That is why there is no entry on your regsiter of title.
Land Registry did not see the necessary conveyance where the words were recorded beacuse that copy conveyance was not part of the history of your property.

I have just seen this first hand where one house never even knew they had a legal right of way until the neighbouring house was first registered and the old conveyance clause was recorded where rights of way were reserved as well as granted.
That was when the knowledge became public, but it only did so when a copy of next door's register of title was bought from Land Registry in relation to another problem that had arisen.
Reading the reservation clause made it clear that a common owner of two houses sold one and retained the other.
That seems to sum up the situation you find yourself in.
The common owner of land sold off some parts, whilst retaining other parts.
The retained land not having any written evidence of what was reserved by the vendor when parts were sold off at various dates.
On paper deeds a written memorandum would have been shown on the original deed when the land was bought. e.g.
"Memorandum. By a conveyance dated 26th June 1925 made between Mr. A of the one part and Mrs B of the other part the property being 26 Back Street, London was conveyed to the said Mrs. A in fee simple and her right acknowledged to and undertaking given for production and delivery of copies and safe custody of the within written conveyance"
It is a flaw in the system due to the different dates property becomes registered. After the first property was sold off, unless the memorandum replicated the reservation clause, which did not often happen, no future owner of the retained property got to know about ithese reserved rights until Land Registration was effected. Even then they had to buy a copy of the Regsiter and that only became a public register in 1990.

You can now make an application to Land Registry to have the words from the 1954 conveyance recorded in your Register of Title, as that refers to property rights you own, although you originally knew nothing about it because you had never seen a copy of that 1954 conveyance.
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