Consent order anomaly

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Climberman
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Re: Consent order anomaly

Post by Climberman »

The door opening (door has long gone) is on one of the 3 walls on our side of the boundary line. The boundary wall constitutes the fourth wall, but at some point a hole was knocked through next to the shed. Now that the vegetation has been cleared it is therefore accessible from the cottage side. A very makeshift wall blocking access to the door from our side has clearly been added at some point in the distant past. If it wasn't for the fact that the shed has been registered for nearly 20 years as our land I would say that neither side really had access because it was completely buried in ivy. We fenced the whole thing off to keep the horses out, which has no doubt added to our neighbour's assumption that they can just lay claim to the shed.
Climberman
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Re: Consent order anomaly

Post by Climberman »

The door opening (door has long gone) is on one of the 3 walls on our side of the boundary line. The boundary wall constitutes the fourth wall, but at some point a hole was knocked through next to the shed. Now that the vegetation has been cleared it is therefore accessible from the cottage side. A very makeshift wall blocking access to the door from our side has clearly been added at some point in the distant past. If it wasn't for the fact that the shed has been registered for nearly 20 years as our land I would say that neither side really had access because it was completely buried in ivy. We fenced the whole thing off to keep the horses out, which has no doubt added to our neighbour's assumption that they can just lay claim to the shed.
Climberman
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Re: Consent order anomaly

Post by Climberman »

Moreover, supposing we turn a blind eye to this new land grab, who is liable if they get injured if the shed collapses? Yesterday they were standing on the roof to clear our branches. At the very least, should we erect a sign warning of the danger?
arborlad
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Re: Consent order anomaly

Post by arborlad »

Climberman wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:15 am Moreover, supposing we turn a blind eye to this new land grab, who is liable if they get injured if the shed collapses? Yesterday they were standing on the roof to clear our branches. At the very least, should we erect a sign warning of the danger?



Get a fencer in - stop faffing about.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
mr sheen
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Re: Consent order anomaly

Post by mr sheen »

From what you say you seem to accept that their cottage had access to the outside toilet in the past. This would have developed into a right to use the outside toilet over many years between the 1907 and 1960s that you mention and which would still exist since the shed is still there, and hence they may believe they have an easement and right to use the shed/outside toilet. They are probably right even from your info since you accept their cottage probably used it more than yours, so you would have difficulty proving the right to use the outside toilet by the neighbouring cottage does not exist…the balance of probability is likely to be on their side.

Of course, you can always take a punt and see if they are willing to take this further….but may be costly.

If you take the advice the previous poster offers and fence off the outside toilet to prevent access, they may well remove the fence since it impedes their right to use the outside toilet/shed in line the right gained and associated with their cottage and which previous owners of the cottage benefited from without impediment of a fence.

Depends upon your assessment of risk and how much hassle you want.
Climberman
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Re: Consent order anomaly

Post by Climberman »

Thanks, Mr. Sheen,

That's a very interesting slant on the situation. I think the balance of probability may be somewhat further on our side though, for the following reasons:
    1. A replacement toilet was built at some time in the long distant past, and was the one that was being used by the 1960's.
    2. Any rights to any easements either existing or maybe existing, other than the front entrance approach were specifically signed away within the consent order
    3. For at least 20 years any approach to the shed from their side was blocked by their own greenhouse (which the new neighbours demolished last year).
    4.Even now is not exactly true that access from their side is unimpeded - there is a chickenwire fence in front of the narrow gap in the stone wall - a fence which was erected by themselves along their side of the entire boundary wall soon after taking ownership.
    5. We don't want hassle, we don't really care about the shed in itself, otherwise we would have started using it instead of leaving it to rot. But these people have shown a habit of regarding every incremental gain as a foothold on the way to further encroachments.
    6. More importantly, 3 sides of the shed are currently within land that is registered to us and has been for nearly 20 years. The shed is large enough to show up on the OS map, and the boundary line is clearly through the one wall. Therefore at the very least shouldn't they be required to apply to the Land Registry to change the LR boundary map to include the shed on their land? Otherwise, what is the point of a Land Registry map?
    7. The shed is currently in a dangerous state of collapse. Who is liable if it injures somebody? The easiest action for us would be to knock it down.
    MacadamB53
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by MacadamB53 »

    hi mr sheen,

    you would have difficulty proving the right to use the outside toilet by the neighbouring cottage does not exist

    It’s not for the OP to prove an easement by prescription hasn’t been acquired - it’s for the claimant to prove it has been.

    without statements from their predecessors that’s going to be very difficult.

    further, even were such a claim successful, the neighbours would be limited to no more than what has been acquired - use of a toilet.

    kind regards, Mac
    mr sheen
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by mr sheen »

    Climberman wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:03 am
    However, it is clear that they now intend to stake a claim on it .
    Mac

    OP indicates “it is clear that they now intend to stake a claim on it….
    so I was pointing out the OPs difficulties and chance of an easement being already in existence from the starting point that it is clear to OP that there is an intention to stake a claim.
    I disagree with your assessment of evidence required to prove an easement on balance of probabilities….one gate is sometimes enough to prove a right of way in the very rural parts of the countryside (in case of my neighbour 1 old photo showing an old gatewon case even though gate had been removed in 1950s and fenced across in 1970s)
    Joint outside sheds were the norm in wild very rural areas….its presence in 1907 for simple cottages where tenants would not be wealthy would probably be used by multiple families as a coal/wood store come chicken coop etc etc. IMO Easement may be access to and from shed from cottage and use of shed.
    I absolutely disagree that use of an outside toilet up to the 1960s, of a shed that existed in 1907, would restrict an easement to use of a toilet.
    Obviously it will be up to neighbours to prove but I felt it would be useful for OP to have an objective view of his chances of defeating a claim should one be made…since no on in their right mind would take this to court…so it will be via negotiation and settlement based on understanding of the historical cultures etc in the area and easements that the usage has already created over the decades.

    Of course he could just fence it all off and take his chances or knock it down and take his chances.
    span
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by span »

    just demolish the thing. Raze all three walls on your land to the ground.
    Climberman
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by Climberman »

    However, it is clear that they now intend to stake a claim on it .
    Yes, but only because they were standing on top of the shed shouting that it was on their land!

    Negotiation and reasonable settlement are out of the question in this case. Any attempt on our part to communicate is simply shouted down with "Stop your whingeing, we are sick of you" or more simply "shut up, go away".

    So if we knock the shed down and erect a fence along the wall line, the worst case scenario is that they could be crazy enough to take us to court and in the event of winning the case, based on the possibility that an easement exists into a shed on land registered 20 years ago as belonging to us and recorded by LR for both properties, we could presumably be ordered to pay the costs of rebuilding the dilapidated shed that is not even tall enough to stand in...

    But I still don't understand how an easement could continue to exist into a building that now belongs to the servient party. I know that easements aren't generally extinguished, but what is the point of an easement that only goes into somebody else's building? How can somebody continue to have a right to use of the shed after the previous owner of their property submitted the Land Registry clearly showing a boundary cutting off the shed? And surely a signed consent order relinquishment of any pre-existing ROW easements other than the front entrance (nowhere near this corner) would surely count for something too? I'm just trying to get my head round it because it seems so illogical that it is hard to see how demolishing the shed would do anything other than remove temptation to try it on by just acting like they own it.

    Or could they legitimately lay claim to ownership of the land currently occupied by the shed and the land next to it (i.e. the approach to the door), instead of the ownership as registered?
    mr sheen
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by mr sheen »

    Ownership of land is just a bundle of rights. Often other properties have rights over land as well.
    Just because land lies within your boundary does not mean you are the only property with rights over that land. These rights are usually in the form of easements such as to pass and repass or to use the land owned by another property.
    However, you appear to say they have signed relinquishment of all easements…if so, then you have no worry if they pursue it.
    Climberman
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by Climberman »

    Thanks to all contributors. I think that we are within our rights to simply destroy the shed and to properly fence off this previously neglected little corner of our land. However, there is already a lot of bad blood so we will take legal advice from our insurer. We are not looking for renewed battle even though our neighbour clearly wants to rake matters up again.
    Climberman
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by Climberman »

    Well, going down the legal route hasn't helped much so far! The person we sent the claim form to didnt forward it so we had to send it again on Friday, so we will have to wait anything up to 2 weeks before we get any legal advice from our insurer. However, our neighbours seem to have taken the lack of action as a sign to move forwards. Since both deeds show this little corner as being on our land, we stretched a rope along the boundary wall marked on both registry titles and attached a warning sign (danger) with images of the LR maps attached. Today they have replaced our sign with a notice saying "CCTV, keep out" and drilled holes in the bedrock, presumably to fence off the whole area and claim it as their own. When we asked why they were ignoring the legal documents we received nothing other than claims of harassment and a phone camera videoing us. They have given us no explanation as to why they can act as if the land was marked as their own, other than to behave as if it does - which is their modus operandi.

    Am I right in thinking that the burden of proof of ownership should be on them? If they concrete the fence posts into the ground, can they accuse us of criminal damage if we remove the posts (and the shed!?) and they subsequently win ownership of this land in court? We know that this sort of dispute can go either way in court, especially when neither property has been actively using this bit of land for the last 20 years or so.
    MacadamB53
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by MacadamB53 »

    Climberman wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2024 12:28 pm Well, going down the legal route hasn't helped much so far! The person we sent the claim form to didnt forward it so we had to send it again on Friday, so we will have to wait anything up to 2 weeks before we get any legal advice from our insurer. However, our neighbours seem to have taken the lack of action as a sign to move forwards. Since both deeds show this little corner as being on our land, we stretched a rope along the boundary wall marked on both registry titles and attached a warning sign (danger) with images of the LR maps attached. Today they have replaced our sign with a notice saying "CCTV, keep out" and drilled holes in the bedrock, presumably to fence off the whole area and claim it as their own. When we asked why they were ignoring the legal documents we received nothing other than claims of harassment and a phone camera videoing us. They have given us no explanation as to why they can act as if the land was marked as their own, other than to behave as if it does - which is their modus operandi.

    Am I right in thinking that the burden of proof of ownership should be on them? If they concrete the fence posts into the ground, can they accuse us of criminal damage if we remove the posts (and the shed!?) and they subsequently win ownership of this land in court? We know that this sort of dispute can go either way in court, especially when neither property has been actively using this bit of land for the last 20 years or so.
    ownership and possession are two separate things - if you find a purse on a train you are in possession of something owned by someone else.

    you believe, based on evidence you have, that you own the land on which the outbuilding stands.

    from what you’ve described, they either think otherwise - based on what we haven’t been told - or may be in the process of taking possession.

    if they successfully erect a fence on your property just (carefully) remove it - slim chance of criminal proceedings.

    how are they able to access the land - can’t you just fence them out?!?

    kind regards, Mac
    Climberman
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    Re: Consent order anomaly

    Post by Climberman »

    Thanks Mac,

    Its a shame that our solicitor advised against bringing in a Land Surveyor back in the day. He said it would be a waste of money - but our neighbours have systematically destroyed the original walls at every opportunity, so it is getting harder to prove the reality - thankfully every wall is clearly shown by Ordnance Survey. This new fence that they are constructing is carefully concreted into holes drilled into the bedrock so it would be difficult to remove intact.

    Our evidence is pretty good, as the boundary is clearly shown on both sets of title maps, and our side was registered over 25 years ago. Various OS maps show the walls, including the significant dogleg for the shed area, so it cant be claimed to be an omission from the map.

    I guess we could just leave their posts in place and build a new fence along the correct line using our own concreted posts, cutting across their line of fence posts?

    Quite frankly, their bullying is just tiring. We would be willing to just let it slide, it's a grotty little corner anyway, but who knows where they will next turn their attentions to if we just turn the other cheek?
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