Terraced house ROW query

Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:47 pm

Hi all,

Hopefully a basic query to get you away from brexit!

Living in middle of a terrace, all our Edwardian terraced neighbours have an alleyway at bottom of garden (marked on deeds as ROW) - I guess the old coal run. All neighbours have the pathway fenced off though filled with junk etc. So no one uses it ( in fact everyone has a gate, and given the risk of burglary is no bad thing).
But One neighbour opened up the pathway by taking down their back garden fence ( therefore extending their garden) which I believe he did over 10 years ago ( but less than 20 years). Now another neighbour is planning to do same to effectively extend their garden.
Simply, can a ROW be lost if neighbours permanently block access? If so what Is the basis ? Can they not extinguish the ROW.
Any constructive feedback would be gratefully received. Or let me know if you need more info.

Thank you
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:47 pm

Hi Morph,

can a ROW be lost if neighbours permanently block access?

currently the law requires more than just access being blocked by a servient owner - it requires an action or inaction by the dominant owner that evidences beyond doubt an intention to abandon the RoW forever.

each case is different, yadda yadda yadda, but I’m sure you can appreciate that it would be rare for this to occur - which is why there are cases of RoWs being blocked for 100s or years without managing to be extinguished.

kind regards, Mac
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:03 am

hi Morph,

I agree with Mac.

Is this alleyway open at both ends, or is it a cul-de-sac? If the latter, the house at the blind end may get away with fencing/gating the length behind his property ... nobody can claim they need a right of way to nowhere useful, unless the deeds say that all properties have equal rights over all the other properties. Have you seen copies of your neighbours Land Registers?

Taken to it's logical conclusion, everybody will have a slightly bigger garden, but no rear access (wheelie bins through the houses?), apart from the house at the open end, who will have a longer garden, and wider too.

If that is what everybody wants, then there ain't a problem ... until Mr Middleman wants to sell his house, and has found a buyer. But the buyer wants the ROW. Buyer withdraws. Then Mr Openender wants to sell his house, finds a buyer ... and Mr Middleman raises a dispute. A can of worms.

Of course, just because the fences have been removed, it does not remove the ROW, it just means the dominant residents have to clamber over the new bits of fence. Are they allowed to do that? Er ... if there are no longer any transverse fences to delinate the width of the ROW, and probably no measurements measured in the deeds ... how wide will the ROW then be. 3ft? 6ft? 20ft?

This is going to come back and bite somebody.

John W
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:37 pm

Thanks Mac and John W for the sage feedback.

To answer the questions for fullness - it is effectively a cul-de-sac and I am at the blind end of it (so to your point a naturally longer garden). The deeds show the ROW along the other terraced houses (and with ours slightly longer as at the blind end).

The positive thing is of the 4 other neighbours along the line, 3 at moment still have the fence line (and gates) in place showing the width of the path. I think it is just for us to decide whether to document this and confirm if needed to prevent discussions of the ROW (and again in principle not a bad thing considering burglaries etc) meaning "forever" or a forgiveness of the right for the future. If another one is planning on changing their fence at the back may be this is the time to discuss it.

Thanks again
Morph
 
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:03 pm

Hi Morph,

I'm guessing that you have sufficient room to park your wheelie bins in front of the house? Do you have the full quota ... three bins and a box. If not, could that change?

It will cost each of you £40 to change the Land Register, plus any legal fees. Are any of the houses being bought on a mortgage ... or equity release?

John W.
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:38 pm

Thanks - good point on bins. Yes our front gardens are rather small. Oddly less of an issue for us than for the other neighbours.

I probably didn’t make my reply clear - I am not suggesting we let the neighbours all push out their gardens by effectively removing their fence demarking the pathway. I meant to say whilst don’t at moment have an issue, we don’t want them thinking they will have that entitlement forever. We just need to decide how we diplomatically communicate that.

Keep regards
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby jonahinoz » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:46 am

We just need to decide how we diplomatically communicate that.

Hi,

Diplomacy only works if the "diplomacee" is willing for it to work.

The only lo-cost way I can think of, is to walk the path once a year, and record it in a diary. Probably best if several people accompany you as witnesses.

Is there any no-cost of way of recording what you have done in some sort of newspaper, where the archives can be searched, should it ever become necessary.

About these wheelie bins ... do they leave enough room for your battery powered Harley Davison ... for when we eventually are reduced to such personal means of transport?

602
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:06 pm

The issue here is that each owner has effectively made their bit of their alleyway unpassable ( by locking gates/ storing things). So no one has walked down it fully for probably 10years. But to take Mac’s first point, it should matter, though I get your point. By diplomacy I meant we speak to the neighbors (nicely) and explain our concern, before all of them extend their garden.
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:30 pm

Can I ask Mac when he refers to the provision that access is not blocked forever, is there a statute or legal act that refers to.?

Thanks
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:44 pm

Morph wrote:Can I ask Mac when he refers to the provision that access is not blocked forever, is there a statute or legal act that refers to.?

Thanks
I didn’t mention such a provision? what do you mean?

kind regards, Mac
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby pilman » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:09 pm

A right of way is an easement, which is legal interest in land.
Along with a legal estate in land these are the only two property rights recognised in England and Wales.
Section 1 Law of Property Act 1925.

Your house and the plot it sits on is the legal estate you "own".
The right of way passing over other people's land is the legal interest over land that you also "own" .

Anyone blocking the right of way is committing an act of trespass, if they are causing a substantial interference to the easement you own.

That is actionable in a court of law, so the first thing to be done is make it clear to the neighbours blocking off the back path that you do not want your legal rights disturbed and you will take the necessary steps to prevent that from happening.

Whether you then instruct a solicitor to act for you and start court proceedings is when matters of cost start to become part of the process that make many people afraid to continue complaining about what the neighbours have decided to do by ignoring legal property rights owned by other neighbours.

Your option is to do nothing or do something once you are aware of your property rights that ought to be protected.
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:49 pm

Hey Mac - my bad, it was just you stated "currently the law requires more than just access being blocked by a servient owner - it requires an action or inaction by the dominant owner that evidences beyond doubt an intention to abandon the RoW forever." I was trying to understand what specific reference to the law that was.

My deeds state " the land has the benefit of a right of way system over the passageway leading from the back into xxxx road".

I bumped into one neighbour this evening who's planning to extend his fence. I mentioned politely my concern. He said he got advice as as the passageway had been blocked and not used for over 10 years he didn't think anyone could do anything legally.

I'll check for legal cover on my insurance. Thanks for feedback thus far.
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby arborlad » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:56 am

Morph wrote:The issue here is that each owner has effectively made their bit of their alleyway unpassable ( by locking gates/ storing things). So no one has walked down it fully for probably 10years. But to take Mac’s first point, it should matter, though I get your point. By diplomacy I meant we speak to the neighbors (nicely) and explain our concern, before all of them extend their garden.




You need to be far more assertive, it starts with a bag of rubbish and ends with a summerhouse, with various combinations of relocated fences and locked and unlocked gates in between. Your land benefits from a right to cross that land - in perpetuity, your neighbours land is burdened with that right - in perpetuity. None of your neighbours actions are sufficient to extinguish that easement, but progressively and cumulatively are going to make it harder and harder for you to excercise that right.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby Morph » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:11 am

I'm unfortunately realising this. Prob just trying to avoid confrontation.
Can I check one more time please- can the 10/12 year rule relating to adverse possession apply here ? If not what are the techinal differences?

Thanks
Morph
 
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Re: Terraced house ROW query

Postby arborlad » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:22 am

Morph wrote:I'm unfortunately realising this. Prob just trying to avoid confrontation.
Can I check one more time please- can the 10/12 year rule relating to adverse possession apply here ? If not what are the techinal differences?

Thanks




Adverse possession is not relevant here, unless there are circumstances we are unaware of, they already own the land and always have but that land is burdened with easements that benefit your land.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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