Is a row just open to anyone to use?

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Amanzi
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Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Amanzi » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:51 pm

Hello everyone,

I am a new on here. And I am so happy to have found this forum, been reading for the last few weeks and really appreciate your sage advice. Apologies for a long post.

I wonder if you can help me.

August 2016, we bought an end of terrace that has an old, no longer used alleyway running next to it.  On the other side of this alleyway is a block of flats - with two flats in it.
 
The alleyway originally used to run from the side of my house no.22 all the way round back of the terraces to the other end of terrace house no. 48.  Over the years, the terraces including mine extended all the way to the back alley, incorporating it into their gardens - everyone, except houses 46 and 48 at the other end of the terrace.   So the alleyway next to my house leads nowhere.  Later on this block of flats was built on my left, it’s back windows overlooking my garden, so it’s built back from the road.  They would have to use the alleyway to look at their water pipes (another issue, as one of those pipes is currently leaking into the alleyway) and to access their gas metre boxes that they don’t actually use.  The alleyway itself is about a metre wide from  my boundary wall to the flat building itself - it would have been easy to mistake it for their backyard, except my back gate opens up to this space.  I guess what confuses thing further is that the previous owner of my house installed a gate on the alleyway to prevent it being used as a toilet, drug users etc.  He took weeks de-weeding, cleaning the alleyway and laid down some gravel stones - and I have continued the work.  Hence he put in an unlocked gate, but he put the gate back a bit so the flat gas metres are in front of it.  This is where the flat 2 neighbours decided to allocate their rubbish instead of their courtyard.
 
In front of this flat is their parking and drive to their courtyard.  Next to that is the beginning of the alleyway next to my house, it’s paved, so I park my car there.  The previous owners had said they parked their car there for 15yrs, unchallenged and so did the previous owner.  But as far as I’m concerned  anyone from the terrace can park in this space, but they put it in the house sale papers where they ask about parking and garages.  I also have in the deeds from Land Registry saying I can use this space with others. Which I assume are the terrace houses.

Now the problem.
After a year I have finally managed to convince the estate agent to tell their tenants at Flat 2 to remove their rubbish from this alleyway as it’s blocking my access. They do not cover the bins and leave plastic bags to be torn up by seagulls. They then moved the uncovered bins to the front of their property, exactly where I showed the agents a video that seagulls get to the bags and drag them around, and the rubbish ends up on my front garden. I concede that I cannot tell them where to put their bins, but I had asked that they are either covered, or are in seagull bags provided free by the LA, or move them to their courtyard .

The tenant has currently put his car to straggle between my access (the row) and his parking space. Took out the wheels and been fixing it, so the oil is spilled on my side and left me with half an access despite the fact that I said I have big appliances to move via this space.
The tenant has also been putting some road cones in front of where I park my car in order to box me in. When I move them he always puts them back.
The tenant has also harassed me about where I am parked, telling me I should move or I will get towed. I should not park on the row. I asked him several times where are his ownership papers.

As far as me and a terrace friend neighbour are concerned, this space has nothing to do with the flats really as it was built for the terraces. More than a month ago, I asked the agent to show me ownership papers, as it was a row, and I therefore should not be harassed out of the space. He in turn asked me for my access papers, which I gave him. But has been ‘investigating’ his clients access up until now. I then said can he tell his tenants not to be involved in the row, till they produce their papers. He has done no such thing. Looking at their title deeds on Land Register , nothing is mentioned about the row.

What I would like to know is :
Are these kind of row for every joe public, or just for the terrace and their visitors. Do I have a right to tell the tenant not to have anything to do with the row?
Where I usually park, there is enough space for a van or fire engine to fit in front of me and therefore access the row should it be needed. What is the required space if needed? The previous owners used to double park there, and would simply move the car if the space were needed – which it never was for the 15 years they were there.
If I were to win with the tenant actually moving his car, he would then park so close to the row border so that I could not open the door to get out of my car, despite having plenty of space there for him and to move over and allow me to park. Is there some kind of rule that would say, he is blocking my use of the row this way?

The best way to understand me is through pics and plans and I have plenty. Will try to post 3 times so I can put up some. Apologies for the long post, I cannot express myself cleary.

https://imageshack.com/i/plJ7JGXOj
https://imageshack.com/i/pnulf3M5p
https://imageshack.com/i/potsG6UYp
https://imageshack.com/i/pndk5clkp
https://imageshack.com/i/pmOuzhy2j
https://imageshack.com/i/poY2Ym31j


Thanks

MacadamB53
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by MacadamB53 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:23 pm

Hi Amanzi,

if you don’t own the alley you cannot stop others from using unless their use is stopping you from enjoying your right to use it to walk to and from your property.

parking a car across the alley - or obstructing access in any other way - is wrong and might be deemed unlawful.

kind regards, Mac

Amanzi
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Amanzi » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:11 pm

Thanks Mac,

When you say I cannot stop others, Are you also referring to random people from off the street who have nothing to do with people who have rights to the row? People who have no row / title / paper to use this space, are not connected in anyway to the terraces. So they are not visitors, workers etc .

To give you a bit of background, I have had issues of bullying from this tenant since I moved in as he sees me as vulnerable ( divorced mom to small kids). He never used this space when the previous owner was here ( military man with three sons aged 19-26). And he never used it or said anything when my builders were working here for over a month before my arrival - they used the row everyday. But when he realised I was alone here, he moved his bins and black bags to the row - seagulls were constantly spreading the bags around causing a most disgusting sight. Me and the women who work at the old age home next to the flats had to clean up the mess all the time. He usually dumps furniture, sofas, and even a fridge on this space and these would stay here for weeks and months. He also granted himself parking on the row so that he blocked it and had a double parking space himself, for all this time he used this space for visitors and his car fixing business.
One day, my builder replaced a wooden fence panel and put it against my fence for one day as he had to get a right size van to pick it up next day. The tenant came over to my house, threatening , swearing and shouting at me and removed the slim panel to the back of the gate saying that was his space, i asked him to prove that, he did not. They are the kind of people that pride themselves on shouting and swearing at others.

I hope you can see the pics from my OP.

The pictures are :
1 To illustrate that you can easily identify the old alleyway / row
2. A map of what the alleyway was like originally. This is where the terrace neighbour says it was made for terrace residents
3. Wording on my title plans
4. Plan of the tenants flat
5. The audi in front with no wheel is the tenants, it is straddling across the row, as he does not want to move it to his own parking space as he would like a double parking and to 'show me', basically. The black c3 on the back is mine where the previous owner always parked (he also used to park where the audi is because no one but him uses it since no one else uses the row, but realises that this was not the right thing to do). The cones are put there by the tenant in order to put me in my place.
6. The rubbish and car fixing business, one of the examples of how this place usually looks. But I had enough now.

jdfi
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by jdfi » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:25 pm

Is it perchance a public ROW? Your council will have a definitive map online (or at local library).

Amanzi
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Amanzi » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:33 pm

Thanks for answering jd,

Good idea for me to have a look at the library, which I will do by end of the week.
There are a few of those public alleyways around town, but they usually lead from one street to another. I had assumed that if it was one of those alleyways, it would not even be mentioned in our deeds, since it would be basically a public roadway. Also, aren't those kind of alleyways maintained by the council, because in our case, they said they do not clean up fly tipping etc. in this space - the people who share the row and have it in their deeds should maintain it.

Thanks
A

ukmicky
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by ukmicky » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:21 am

If anyone who has a right to use it cant actually gain access to their property anymore through it as they have extended their gardens then your obstruction whilst it may be technically unlawful would not allow any action against you to be successful. The reason being your obstruction must interfere with real attempts to gain access to their properties which would be hard to show if they have blocked there own access further along by extending their garden .

As your boundary borders the ROW you still however have access through it directlly onto your land so can as the dominant tennament take action agaist the neighbour who is blocking your right of access if his trespass substantially prevents you from gainimg access to your land. You cant however prevent him from doing anything on it that does not substantially obstruct your access . Any interference less than substantial can only be dealt with by the actual landowner.

In other words he can walk on it , sit on it and place things on it that don't substantially obstruct your access and only the actual landowner would be able to sue him for trespass.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion

Hugh Jaleak
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Hugh Jaleak » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:55 am

Site can be found quite easily on Google Maps, with information given. Street view gives a better picture of the situation.

My thoughts. Firstly, he has no right to deposit rubbish on the gravel area, it's not his property and could be classed as flytipping. However, may need to be the Landowner who takes action, if it's a shared ROW landownership may be jointly between all houses that have ROW.

Parking is a different matter. The area of the ROW to the side of your home is not wide enough to accommodate a vehicle, and the block paved area I strongly suspect belongs to the flats. The brown line on the LR plan is probably rather generous, I doubt the ROW could be classed as being any wider than the concrete strip already there. Given that, you will be unlikely to have any legal right to park any part of your vehicle on the blocked paved area. Others have done it, and the status quo has remained unchallenged until now, but as tit for tat, (you've complained about him), the current tenant is being awkward. However, he is doing no more than you are, in the sense you are parking partially on 'his' property, so he is parking partially on 'yours'.

Only the Landowner could insist you dont park there, but the Tenant knows this, and unless you go to the Landowner to seek permission, there is little you can do to prevent the tenant using his area of driveway, however, I suspect if you did pursue the issue, then you are going to lose the current goodwill of sharing both sides of the boundary, and they are likely to insist you dont park on any of their property, thus losing you your current parking spot. They will probably still be able to squeeze a smaller car onto their property.

Amanzi
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Amanzi » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:59 pm

Hi everyone,
Apologies for the delay in response as I did not realise that I actually had more people responding to me.

ukmicky, you nailed it in the head, what I wanted to hear that because my terrace neighbours are not blocked by me because they are no longer using the row due to extensions to the back gardens. I have no problem if one of them would like to access their gardens from my backyard as I have a removable fence panel should they need. I have never had problems from the terrace neighbours, they have no problem with me using the space as parking. The problems lies with the flat neighbours on the other side who apparently have no RoW over this space.

HughJaleak, my car can actually fit in the space next to my house. Please see pictures.

https://www.imageshack.us/i/pntk6Zx3j
https://www.imageshack.us/i/pl8KMRmTj

The block paved area is not registered either. So not the tenants parking really, but the right of way for all those flats, including some on Rosemary road. We are not concerned about this, as we are just concentrating on our own row.


I finally got their agency to move the car that was straddling, though they are quite bitter about it, took over a week to move and now and again still park there. Most importantly though, they have put those road cones in front of my car, preventing me from moving forward. Its not really clear why they do this. I asked them, but got some real aggro from them about it, but infact, without the cones there, I can move my car forward and make it easier for the other cars to move in and out of my right. I then received an offensive note from the tenants telling me that the cones and car stay where they are. Their agency told me they have too much work to bother with this, I must just move the cones everytime.
The agency then sent the tenants a very confusing letter from the year 2000 basically making as if my row and their row is one piece of land. The letter states that the land is unregistered, is a row then tells everyone to not have anything placed there. After a week of this letter the tenants moved the car, but still keep the cones there, and when I move them, put them back. I so happen to have a copy of this letter and what the agency omitted was an attachment explaining to previous, previous owners of my house that they were blocking the row for the flats on Rosemary road - I can only assume they had a very big car or double parked next to each other. To top it off, the solicitors who wrote the letter are long closed down as I wanted to know what the response was from those previous owners ( these are owners before my previous owner). This letter, ironically, is preventing the tenants from putting their bins and parking their car in front of their own house. The agency however,though they were trying to prevent me from parking in the row. I told them, the law says, I should not block others from accessing actually, and since I am the sole user of row, I am only blocking myself.

Here is the confusing letter and attachment.
https://www.imageshack.us/i/poSM593xj
https://www.imageshack.us/i/pnxOj4Fwj


I have checked with council, local and regional, and land registry. Unfortunately, I was told that with unregistered land, they do not have much, so cannot tell if it's two parcels of land or not. They do not have much from before the 50s and what I have is what they have. THey can see I have row, but do not have more than I have. My terrace neighbour happens to have her deeds from the 1920s, and they have a drawing that where I am parked is the terrace row. We are basing this on that fact, plus the row and back of the house row are to the other side are the same measurement, just under 2m. When I tried to landscape my garden I could not do the last part of the house due to how hard and built in the row is by now, I can see it from my neighbours too. The block paving you see next to my row would not be able to claim the row as it was too ingrained in they would not be able to dig it out and claim it's all one land- my terrace friend neighbour says the row wrote it's own history, and engraved the row in concrete or stone permanently .

Here is the terrace neighbour deeds with our row marked in brown
https://www.imageshack.us/i/plIYWBU6p

As far as we the terrace are concerned, the neighbour who is harassing me has no ROW over this land and are just a couple of chance takers.

Btw, who actually enforces that RoW law, as the police here do not want to hear if it's not a proper criminal offense.

Thanks

Amanzi
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Amanzi » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:03 pm

Sorry, that should read, the agency thought they were preventing me from parking.

Hugh Jaleak
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Hugh Jaleak » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:54 pm

Whilst you can park your car entirely on the ROW, you cannot open the door or get out without trespassing on the block paved area. Should there be a fence along the boundary at that point it wonder render the area unusable for parking a car. I'd be careful, stir things up and the owner or tenants of the flats may well put something on the block paved area to dictate the boundary and prevent any trespass over it.

This is a Civil matter, the Police will not be interested. Matter would have to be pursued using Solicitors and the Courts if required, Police will only become involved if there is a breach or the peace resulting from one party trying to take or undo the actions of the other, be it agreed by the Court or not.

Amanzi
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Re: Is a row just open to anyone to use?

Post by Amanzi » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:50 pm

Thanks for the answer Hugh, but that was another thought of mine. In fact what the estate agent pointed out as well. My friend terrace neighbour then pointed out that who will put the fence up as it's not registered land. Therefore the flat neighbours do not have a right to put up any walls - they probably tried too. The block paving leads to parking for flat 1 and back of flats on Rosemary road, so I have seen about 6 cars parked there at one given time. Meaning the aggressive neighbour at flat 2 cannot park there and block me in without blocking all those cars. He can however, block me with his car if I move in further towards my row gate at the end as I would be next to him right at the front of his house(but his own freeholder says he is not supposed to park there). As you can see from the previous pictures, this tenant can easily park their car in front of their house, they are just angry and putting tow bins where they clearly only have space for one in front of their house.
Yes, I do step over the paved area when I get out of my car, but I never block it for others to pass and enjoy their row. On that same vain, the people from that row, pass over my row all the time as they won't bother with doing a right angle turn to go to the sidewalk. This is not even an issue for me.

Hugh, you have to understand though that I am not the one who started the issue here, the tenants started it when they harassed me to move out of my own row or they will get me towed. This was when I realised that the old English saying of good fences make good neighbours is the best, so I have to make the the rules quite clear and specific. So, the rubbish started as one bag in the row, I did not mind or care as I could still pass. Then two were placed. Then a bin came along. Two bins. Furniture, chest of drawers, sofa, fridge etc. all were moved after a few months. As I did not need the row at that moment, I let it all pass. Later, they designated the space as parking for visiting parents. Still I said nothing as I thought I would just knock on their door if I needed the row. Well, the rubbish became unbearable as you see in the picture that I could not move over it. I use the row regularly in summer for watering my front garden, and weekly for taking out garbage, so I had to say something at that point. When they were told to move the garbage, they went mental. I parked further down the row to allow a delivery to get through, and they put this note on my car that I would get towed, they wedged cones behind my car and came out to give me and my young children a diatribe of abuse about how I wanted the space clear and now I am parking there - again none of their business as I am not blocking them.

I keep mentioning my friend terrace neighbour. Well, on her side on the other end, she and her neighbour did not extend to their garden. So 46 and 48 still access the alleyway behind the terrace. Someone from the High Street, started putting road cones on the row, they removed them everytime, except it escalated to that person then putting a bollard on the row. People kept removing the bollard,and this person kept putting it back. Eventually, the friend got lawyers to write a letter to the person and told them to remove the bollard as it's the row for the terrace too and they would win the case if it went to court. Those people from the high street removed their bollard immediately.

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