With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Duncan 1261
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With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Duncan 1261 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:44 pm

Sequence of events.

25th Oct 2017. I made a purchase of property. My solicitor advised there may be an attempt before completing to secure a right of way over the property from the neigbours. This was not made.
4th December 2017. I locked my gate and built a temporary wall on my boundary. I received a solicitors letter stating that their clients (my neighbours) had acquired right of way across my land (20 years continuous use, without challenge, without permission) and I was blocking this access-way. If the padlock and wall were not removed, then an injunction would be sought to force me to remove the obstructions. And costs to be awarded against.
17th December 2017. I removed the locks and obstructions. This was noted by my neighbours solicitors.
20th December 2017. I made an offer for the neighbours to purchase a strip of land at the bottom of the garden, for use as their access-way. This was rejected as they claim to have acquired a prescriptive easement.
3rd January 2018. The neighbours solicitors stated that if I did not cooperate with their application for an easement as their benefit and my burdern (to the land), then an application would be made to the Land Registry for same, and if I objected and the case went to the Land tribunal for consideration, then an application for costs would be made against me.
4th January 2018. I obtained confirmation that I could not claim legal protection from my buildings insurer, and they deemed that such a case would not guarantee 51% chance of winning ( and an award of costs).
24th January 2018. Deadline for replying to my neighbours solicitors I have made an offer of agreeing to an easement, provided that this is at the bottom of the garden. This offer is currently being advised to their clients.

Am I able to lock my gate if there is no easement on the land title?

Best Regards,

Duncan.

Roblewis
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Roblewis » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:38 pm

You need to look at their deeds. You also need to ask for their evidence of use and set these against the statements of truth that you must obtain from previous owners.

Incidentally the statement that there may be an attempt to force a right of way before completion does suggest the vendor had clear information that the acquired easement was not able to be defended by the servient owner. This vague statement could be regarded as deliberately misleading. Your solicitor ought also to have been more clear about this situation.

SJC14
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by SJC14 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:42 pm

Roblewis wrote:You need to look at their deeds. You also need to ask for their evidence of use and set these against the statements of truth that you must obtain from previous owners.

Incidentally the statement that there may be an attempt to force a right of way before completion does suggest the vendor had clear information that the acquired easement was not able to be defended by the servient owner. This vague statement could be regarded as deliberately misleading. Your solicitor ought also to have been more clear about this situation.
Sage words - agree 100%

despair
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by despair » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 am

you have played right into their hands and not doing yourself any favours

you need to go back to your vendors and establish the background to all of this before you agree to anything

it all sounds very fishy from what you have told us

Duncan 1261
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Duncan 1261 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:18 am

There is no easement on the neighbours deeds, and nothing on mine.

The neighbours are essentially land locked. They did have an easement which provided them with access to the main road through my next door neighbours passageway, but this was given up in 2013 when they purchased a small plot of land from my next door neighbours at the time.

It is going to be difficult to obtain a statement of truth from the previous owner. She also had similar hassle from the neighbours when she put the house on the market. The neighbours wanted to purchase half her garden.

On reflection, I agree that I have played into their hands. If they apply for the easement, their statement of truth will be questionable. I think that they wanted me to side with them to support their application, and using threat tactics to get me to conform.

My question has not been answered :!: . Can I lock my gate and build a wall on the boundary to prevent the neighbours trespassing, with the knowledge that there is no right of way (ROW)?

Duncan 1261
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Duncan 1261 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:45 pm

To assist, I've attached a boundary map.

My property is No. 6. The neighbours in dispute are at No. 14. The easement they had was at the side of No.5. At this point in time, they are land locked.
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MacadamB53
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by MacadamB53 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:56 pm

Hi Duncan1261,

thanks for the map and details so far.

would you mind explaining more about their claim - what is the route? is there evidence on the ground that might support the claim? (e.g. a gate, a path, etc.) what exactly did your predecessor have to say and was this ever put in writing?

kind regards, Mac

Duncan 1261
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Duncan 1261 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:08 pm

As requested.

Two photos attached showing the claimed "access way". There is no worn path in the grass. There is a Chicken Wire fence at their side, with an opening, and steps down to the grass and a Wooden gate at my side, which is what I want to lock. I have placed signage on my gate "Private Property - Keep Out".

I instructed a structural survey of the property prior to offer submission. The surveyor picked up that there may be a right of way across the garden.

Best Regards,

Duncan.
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Duncan 1261
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Duncan 1261 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:25 pm

The neighbours had made an offer to my predecessor to purchase part of the garden at the bottom. In my offer to purchase, I made a condition that I did not want an easement added to the title. There was negotiation between my predecessor for an easement to be added, via my neighbours solicitors and my predecessors solicitors. This was never adopted as in my opinion the sale would have been lost. My solicitor advised in his property report that there may be a challenge on the title and that if I had any doubt, then he recommended not to proceed with the sale. I went ahead and we completed, and with no easement being added to (both) titles.

My solicitor advised that I cannot stop my neighbours making an application to the Land Registry for a easement by prescription. The neighbours solicitor warned me that his clients can provide statements to back up over 20 years of unchallenged and continuous access over the garden.

At this point no application has been made. I have not received a Notice B13, and I have set an alert up on both titles via the Land Registry web site.

Again, another scare tactic is that I have been warned off objecting to their application, they have said that if the case went to the Land Tribunal then they would request an award of costs against me.

I have contacted the previous owner (from 1959 to 2013) who is reluctant to provide a statement of truth. She had a similar issue with the neighbours when she put the property on the market, where they were driving their car onto her garden. and making a mess. She had given them permission to take shopping across, but this was only for a short time. Her daughter arranged for the gate to be built, to stop vehicle access to the garden.

despair
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by despair » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:42 pm

Curiouser and curiouser ....i wonder why the previous owner will not provide a statement of truth

If she gave short term permission for them to take shopping then permission given is also permission removed

Sounds like the neighbours are abject bullies who think lies and deception will get them what they want

Can any other neighbours confirm these oiks can actually prove 20 years of UNINTERUPTED use

span
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by span » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:48 pm

Something funny going on here.

Why would they effectively landlock themselves by surrendering their access via No 5? Who would do that?

Unless they were certain they had a cast iron alternative access via your property? It makes no sense otherwise.

despair
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by despair » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:33 pm

Not so sure about that ...it rather sounds like they caused trouble at no 5 and pressurised the previous owner of no 6

Have you gone right back to when and how 14 was even built and by whom ?
Because you have a long garden and so does no 4
I think you need to go way back get all the planning permissions
Speak to no 5 get their info
Go back to your vendor and find out the whole story
Remember 14 has to prove absolutely they had 20 years of totally uninterupted use and since they had an easment with no 5 this sounds iffy

Find out when each property was built and all the previous owners
14 had wanted to purchase part of your garden so that i believe nulifies any claim to a prescriptive easement

Gather all your evidence but meanwhile block their access

SJC14
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by SJC14 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:58 pm

The 'path' over your garden has no evidence of daily or any use, the 'steps' are just a rockery feature in your garden as far as I can see.

I would not agree to any easement or entry - yes lock your gate, I would dig over the area, plant a hedge and add lots of spiky plants, or a good place to put the septic tank.

The 20 year period of use is called a prescriptive right of way based on "user as of right".That is defined as openly used, without force and without permission of the legal owner of the land that is being used as a right of way to gain access to another property. Can they prove, without recourse to their own statements, that they were able to walk across the middle of someone else's garden? Do they have photos, non-emotional witness statements or anything to prove this at all? It sounds like loud noise to bully you into doing what they want as if they really had any shred of proof they would have used it already. The offer of an easement at the bottom of the garden was a silly mistake. Retract it. Their solicitor is paid by them by the hour, so send him lots of useless things to really bump up their legal bills, ask for reports, surveys, copies of transactions etc etc - keep them talking and busy.

It is also time to screw them right back, dig things up about them and their family and property - anything needing planning permission with their property, no TV license, no car tax, claiming benefits that they should not, their sons take drugs, anything they doing against the deeds?

Collaborate
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by Collaborate » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:27 am

The fact remains that your predecessor in title must have acquiesced at some point in the installation of the steps leading from their gate in to your garden, and of course the making of the gap in the hedge/boundary feature. the notion that it can be described as a rockery feature is a nonsense.

The neighbours need to make a prima facie case of uninterrupted use over 20 years as of right - they don't need to prove daily use. That may be by their own statements.

You would then need to rebut that with evidence of your own. Do they no longer have the use of the path down the side of number 5? If so, can they only access their property by going over your garden? If I'm correct in assuming this to be the case they will have had to go over your garden since 2013, but not necessarily before then.

No one can comment further without knowing the nature of their case. Ask their solicitor to set it out.

arborlad
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Re: With no right of way on title deed, can I lock my gate ?

Post by arborlad » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:22 am

span wrote:Something funny going on here.

Why would they effectively landlock themselves by surrendering their access via No 5? Who would do that?

Unless they were certain they had a cast iron alternative access via your property? It makes no sense otherwise.


The way the OP describes it, 14s access to the highway was via an easement over land owned by No 5, that land was subsequently bought by No 14, this is reflected in the plan so not landlocked..........perhaps No 14 also wants rear access as well.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people

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