Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Cupofteaaa!
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Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

Hello all, I have just joined the forum as I needed some advice about a situation.

I live in a terraced house, and the house next door is a semi detached. There is an alleyway (secured by a gate and lock) which goes round the side of the neighbour's house, and then connects to the back of the gardens (which is pretty common I believe). Sometimes we need access to the back of the garden if we are having work done and don't want to go through the house, but we have to ask the neighbour if we can borrow his key and if we can use the path. He seems to be quite put out by this and is very keen to assert his authority with regard to this path as he says he owns it and no one can go there without his permission.

I was slightly confused by this, as surely if we have a path at the back of the house, we should be able to use it when we need to? So I went online and paid for the title plans for both our houses, which unsurprisingly are full of old fashioned legal terminology!! :mrgreen:

The relevant section in my title plan says the following:

"The land has the benefit of the following rights granted by but is subject to the following rights reserved by a Transfer of the land in this title and other land dated 11 November 1927 made between (1) Wates Limited (Transferor) and (2) Edward Wates (Transferee):-

Together with a right of way on foot only in common with others having the like right over and along the passage leading from the back of the above properties into [Road name] except reserved unto the Transferor its successors in title and assigns the free passage of water and spil through the sewers and drains under the land in this title from the adjoining and adjacent land."

Whereas for his title plan it simply says:

"The land has the benefit of a right of way over the passageway at the back leading into [Road name]."

Can anyone help with this please? Does this mean we need his permission to use the passageway? Can I get my own key or not? Many thanks!
MacadamB53
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by MacadamB53 »

hi Cupofteaaa!

it would be helpful to see a plan/sketch of the layout.

doing this the “traditional” way - uploading an image direct on here - isn’t really viable as 1. new users need to make multiple posts before this function is enabled and 2. the forum’s servwr is near capacity as far as image storing is concerned (meaning the file size of an image shared directly needs to be tiny).

a good workaround solution is to upload the image to an image-sharing website (e.g. imbgg.com) and then share a link to it on here.

kind regards, Mac
Collaborate
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Collaborate »

It sounds extremely likely that you have a right to use the path, and he should either give you a key or keep the gate unlocked.

In fact it sounds like they don't own the passage at the side of their property, as they have a right of way over it. It is quite likely that the builder retained the alleyway when the properties were sold.

Their blocking of the passage cannot remove your rights over it.

I presume this is the only way to the street from the back of your property. Is that right?
arborlad
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by arborlad »

How old are the properties?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
pilman
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by pilman »

Your title has an identified benefit
over and along the passage leading from the back of the above properties into [Road name]
The neighbour's title also has an identified benefit.
The land has the benefit of a right of way over the passageway at the back leading into [Road name].
If you buy a copy of next door's title plan at a cost of £3 using the Land Registry web-site you will be able to see whether the side parcel of land is in the neighbour's title, because no one needs a right of way over their own property.

That is what the comment made by Collaborate is suggesting that this land is owned by someone else who granted a right of way over it for a number of adjacent properties. Possibly it would be the original developer of the houses who were provided with back access to their respective plots on which individual houses were erected.

The only other point that could be made is that the back access leads directly to the named public highway, which would require a path behind all of the houses leading horizontally to the road rather than turning vertically alongside this neighbouring house.

Both types of back alleys are in existence so looking at a map of the district may be another thing to do.

See the examples shown below of different types of access routes.
One long terrace of houses gain back access from the side street to the back alley that extends behind all the houses.
The original terrace of 4 houses had a side alley alongside each end terrace house that then turned at right angles across the end terrace house as a pedestrian right of way for the adjacent inner terrace house.
When a new house was added to the terrace this required a narrow side alleyway to be retained for use as a right of way for both of the adjacent houses, because the new house plot had to include the original side path as a right of way, even after the new house had been erected with a bathroom built over the right of way.
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Cupofteaaa!
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

MacadamB53 wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 2:29 pm hi Cupofteaaa!

it would be helpful to see a plan/sketch of the layout.

doing this the “traditional” way - uploading an image direct on here - isn’t really viable as 1. new users need to make multiple posts before this function is enabled and 2. the forum’s servwr is near capacity as far as image storing is concerned (meaning the file size of an image shared directly needs to be tiny).

a good workaround solution is to upload the image to an image-sharing website (e.g. imbgg.com) and then share a link to it on here.

kind regards, Mac
Hi Mac, thanks for the advice. I've done a sketch, hope this link works?

https://imgur.com/a/Hckysf2
Cupofteaaa!
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

Collaborate wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 3:26 pm It sounds extremely likely that you have a right to use the path, and he should either give you a key or keep the gate unlocked.

In fact it sounds like they don't own the passage at the side of their property, as they have a right of way over it. It is quite likely that the builder retained the alleyway when the properties were sold.

Their blocking of the passage cannot remove your rights over it.

I presume this is the only way to the street from the back of your property. Is that right?
The thing that confused me is when I compared the documents for both properties and his one was very clear cut but mine was a lot more complicated which made me think that he seems to have more rights?

Yes, it's the only way to get out from the back of the property, round the side and onto the road.
Cupofteaaa!
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

arborlad wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 4:51 pm How old are the properties?
1920s I believe, not sure of the exact year unfortunately.
Cupofteaaa!
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

pilman wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 5:08 pm Your title has an identified benefit
over and along the passage leading from the back of the above properties into [Road name]
The neighbour's title also has an identified benefit.
The land has the benefit of a right of way over the passageway at the back leading into [Road name].
If you buy a copy of next door's title plan at a cost of £3 using the Land Registry web-site you will be able to see whether the side parcel of land is in the neighbour's title, because no one needs a right of way over their own property.

That is what the comment made by Collaborate is suggesting that this land is owned by someone else who granted a right of way over it for a number of adjacent properties. Possibly it would be the original developer of the houses who were provided with back access to their respective plots on which individual houses were erected.

The only other point that could be made is that the back access leads directly to the named public highway, which would require a path behind all of the houses leading horizontally to the road rather than turning vertically alongside this neighbouring house.

Both types of back alleys are in existence so looking at a map of the district may be another thing to do.

See the examples shown below of different types of access routes.
One long terrace of houses gain back access from the side street to the back alley that extends behind all the houses.
The original terrace of 4 houses had a side alley alongside each end terrace house that then turned at right angles across the end terrace house as a pedestrian right of way for the adjacent inner terrace house.
When a new house was added to the terrace this required a narrow side alleyway to be retained for use as a right of way for both of the adjacent houses, because the new house plot had to include the original side path as a right of way, even after the new house had been erected with a bathroom built over the right of way.
Thank you, that's interesting. Sorry if this is a silly question, but when you say that both me and the neighbour have an identified benefit, does that imply we are equal so to speak?

I did buy both properties' title plan and the side alleyway was not included in the diagram of his house which implies that he doesn't "own" it?
Collaborate
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Collaborate »

Your neighbour has been very cheeky. they have no more rights over the path at the side of their house than you have. they cannot obstruct it. If they do so, you may remove the obstruction.
pilman
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by pilman »

There is an alleyway (secured by a gate and lock) which goes round the side of the neighbour's house
After looking at the sketch you have now posted; then reading your comment about the red line on the neighbour's title plan as not including the alleyway, as well as noting that the "person" granting the right of way in 1927 was "Wates Limited", whose current web-site makes this claim.
The Wates Group is one of the largest family-owned construction, development and property services companies in the UK.
There seems to be no doubt whatsoever that your neighbour is substantially obstructing the right of way granted to your property in 1927.

The Law of Property Act 1925 identifies that the land on which your house was built is known as a Legal Estate in Land, while the easement of a right of way in favour of your Legal Estate is defined as a Legal Interest over Land, which is the only other legal property right that can exist in England and Wales.

The locked gate is a trespass against your Legal Interest over the land identified as the alleyway adjacent to the neighbour's plot, which will also have a Legal Interest over the alleyway, which would be the second property right together with the Legal Estate for the plot of land the neighbour's house was erected on.

On the sketch it appears that you have a gate from your rear garden that provides access to the horizontal section of the right of way, while the neighbour has a side gate in his garden, that provides his access to the vertical strip of land designated as a right of way.

Neither of you have any other right than to pass and repass on foot over the whole area designated as a right of way by the developer who erected all the houses in 1927 and who is probably still the owner of that land in 2024.

The locked gate is a trespass over the Legal Interest over land, which is the second legal property right that you own.

If you feel that having a gate next to the road is a sensible idea for security reasons you will need to ensure that the neighbour is made aware of your legal rights by providing you with a key for the gate if you want it to remain lockable. How many keys are then created for other people to use the right of way would be entirely up to you.

Another idea would be to retain the gate but only have a latch that can be used to open the gate from both sides to allow free use whenever you want to use the right of way to and from the road.

The alternative is to remove the gate

The right of way is for the benefit of your property meaning that everyone wanting to access the back garden with your permission should be able to use the alleyway. That would definitely include any friends, or relatives, or a window cleaner, or a gardener if that was what you wanted to happen.

That is why a locked gate may not be in your best interest.

What should not be allowed to continue is the neighbour taking control of something he has no legal right over, other than to pass and repass over in order to use the gate that provides access to his back garden.

That is the only gate that can be locked if he wants to secure his own property, because he has no right to secure exclusive use of the right of way that is for the benefit of your own property and probably others as well if the right of way extends to the back gardens of other houses in the street.

You need to take positive action to reinstate your legal use of the right of way granted by the original developer in 1927.
MacadamB53
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by MacadamB53 »

Cupofteaaa! wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:08 am
MacadamB53 wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 2:29 pm hi Cupofteaaa!

it would be helpful to see a plan/sketch of the layout.

doing this the “traditional” way - uploading an image direct on here - isn’t really viable as 1. new users need to make multiple posts before this function is enabled and 2. the forum’s servwr is near capacity as far as image storing is concerned (meaning the file size of an image shared directly needs to be tiny).

a good workaround solution is to upload the image to an image-sharing website (e.g. imbgg.com) and then share a link to it on here.

kind regards, Mac
Hi Mac, thanks for the advice. I've done a sketch, hope this link works?

https://imgur.com/a/Hckysf2
which is the semi-detached house with the path?
Cupofteaaa!
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

pilman wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 2:56 pm
There is an alleyway (secured by a gate and lock) which goes round the side of the neighbour's house
After looking at the sketch you have now posted; then reading your comment about the red line on the neighbour's title plan as not including the alleyway, as well as noting that the "person" granting the right of way in 1927 was "Wates Limited", whose current web-site makes this claim.
The Wates Group is one of the largest family-owned construction, development and property services companies in the UK.
There seems to be no doubt whatsoever that your neighbour is substantially obstructing the right of way granted to your property in 1927.

The Law of Property Act 1925 identifies that the land on which your house was built is known as a Legal Estate in Land, while the easement of a right of way in favour of your Legal Estate is defined as a Legal Interest over Land, which is the only other legal property right that can exist in England and Wales.

The locked gate is a trespass against your Legal Interest over the land identified as the alleyway adjacent to the neighbour's plot, which will also have a Legal Interest over the alleyway, which would be the second property right together with the Legal Estate for the plot of land the neighbour's house was erected on.

On the sketch it appears that you have a gate from your rear garden that provides access to the horizontal section of the right of way, while the neighbour has a side gate in his garden, that provides his access to the vertical strip of land designated as a right of way.

Neither of you have any other right than to pass and repass on foot over the whole area designated as a right of way by the developer who erected all the houses in 1927 and who is probably still the owner of that land in 2024.

The locked gate is a trespass over the Legal Interest over land, which is the second legal property right that you own.

If you feel that having a gate next to the road is a sensible idea for security reasons you will need to ensure that the neighbour is made aware of your legal rights by providing you with a key for the gate if you want it to remain lockable. How many keys are then created for other people to use the right of way would be entirely up to you.

Another idea would be to retain the gate but only have a latch that can be used to open the gate from both sides to allow free use whenever you want to use the right of way to and from the road.

The alternative is to remove the gate

The right of way is for the benefit of your property meaning that everyone wanting to access the back garden with your permission should be able to use the alleyway. That would definitely include any friends, or relatives, or a window cleaner, or a gardener if that was what you wanted to happen.

That is why a locked gate may not be in your best interest.

What should not be allowed to continue is the neighbour taking control of something he has no legal right over, other than to pass and repass over in order to use the gate that provides access to his back garden.

That is the only gate that can be locked if he wants to secure his own property, because he has no right to secure exclusive use of the right of way that is for the benefit of your own property and probably others as well if the right of way extends to the back gardens of other houses in the street.

You need to take positive action to reinstate your legal use of the right of way granted by the original developer in 1927.
Thank you so much for all this useful information. One thing I should clarify (although it doesn't actually make any difference) is that the gate was put up before he bought the house, rather than him putting it up to stop us/others using the alleyway. The main problem is his attitude towards us when we need to access it, saying that we can't do so without his permission, which is why I'd like to have my own key so we aren't reliant on him. I don't have any issue with there being a gate, as it makes sense from a security POV.
Cupofteaaa!
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by Cupofteaaa! »

MacadamB53 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:07 pm
Cupofteaaa! wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:08 am
MacadamB53 wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2024 2:29 pm hi Cupofteaaa!

it would be helpful to see a plan/sketch of the layout.

doing this the “traditional” way - uploading an image direct on here - isn’t really viable as 1. new users need to make multiple posts before this function is enabled and 2. the forum’s servwr is near capacity as far as image storing is concerned (meaning the file size of an image shared directly needs to be tiny).

a good workaround solution is to upload the image to an image-sharing website (e.g. imbgg.com) and then share a link to it on here.

kind regards, Mac
Hi Mac, thanks for the advice. I've done a sketch, hope this link works?

https://imgur.com/a/Hckysf2
which is the semi-detached house with the path?
The neighbour's house is the semi detached one, the path is the shaded bit that goes around and to the back.
MacadamB53
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Re: Am I allowed to use the alleyway that goes around my neighbour's house to the back of mine?

Post by MacadamB53 »

Cupofteaaa! wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 4:39 pm
MacadamB53 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:07 pm
Cupofteaaa! wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:08 am

Hi Mac, thanks for the advice. I've done a sketch, hope this link works?

https://imgur.com/a/Hckysf2
which is the semi-detached house with the path?
The neighbour's house is the semi detached one, the path is the shaded bit that goes around and to the back.
but on your sketch the only house labelled “neighbour” is attached to your house - which you described as “terrace”

does the neighbour own the end terrace?
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