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Rights Of Access Over Private Brick Weave Drive

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Minnotheminx | 21:45 Wed 01st May 2013 | Property
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Hi

We bought our house 3 years ago which is situated in a brick weave cul-de-sac of 5 properties. We own the brickweave drive and it appears on our title but all 5 properties have rights of access over it. One of the neighbours backing onto the driveway has had a gate put into his back fence and claims he has access rights dating back 38 years. We have requested that he shows us the paperwork which proves this as he is adamant he will not pay into the maintenance fund for the drive that all 5 properties in the cul de sac do. He has had readimix lorries, delivery lorries, diggers, everything down the driveway.

Does anyone know if I can find out any other way as to whether he really does have rights or whether he gave the builders a back hander to put the gate in which is what we suspect?

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Could you do a drawing?
He can't now create a right which hasn't existed,obviously. I'd tell him that he has no right, and certainly would not invite him to contribute because that suggests that you are acknowledging that he has a right and you are merely asking him for his share, due in consequence of his exercising it..Even if there was once such a right, not dependent on his ownership of the land on which the path is; which that is clearly not a claim he can now make, you being shown as the owner; he would need to show some legal deed, some right granted in the conveyance to him, and/ or that it is a right which he has exercised continuously, more or less, and its not some theoretical, fanciful right. The technical term for such a right is an easement. He would, in any case, have to show that he has an easement established which allows the passage of, and use by, readimix lorries and the like; an easement might only be for passage on foot for example

A solicitor's letter, telling him that he has no such right, he is trespassing on your land, and if he continues to do so, you will feel the need for to apply an injunction in court to stop him, and additionally and in the meantime , you will hold him liable and claim damages for all such harm to the drive which his misuse has occasioned, should produce satisfaction. Take a solicitor's advice; I suspect you will find that that is a course which is professionally advised
Incidentally, were your 5 houses built after his? Your house, bought three years ago should be on the Land Registry; the other four may well be, too. What does that record show? If there was such an easement to your neighbour's benefit, that will be shown on the record. If it isn't, then your neighbour will have difficulty getting any such claim recognised, since rights of this nature , if existing should be shown
Agree with Fred. Get onto the Land Registry website (the proper one - not the mickey-mouse ones that purport to be a Government site) and download both your LR land title and also that of your neighbour claiming this right. It would be in the wording. Armed with that you can challenge him.

If it isn't there, you could advise him that you will be erecting a fence adjacent to his gate but on your land boundary. This obviously would block him accessing from his land onto your brick weave.
As others have said. Land registry here: http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/online-services
If you click on (view example) it will give you an idea of the info you will receive.
Yes, as Bmate says, if his land is registered and no such easement or right appears on his LR entry, that's an end to it, in reality. It might not be registered; if he's owned it for many years it might well not be. However, if such a right ever existed AND it is still valid, not having been extinguished in some way, it would appear when your property was first registered. That's because general searches are done, looking for such things, when your land was bought by you and registered. It would turn up somewhere in the legal documents relating to your land, for a start, that is the conveyancing and related documents which existed before your land was registered.

Good luck ! I suspect you'll still need a solicitor to help you, if only to write a letter. Your neighbour may happily ignore you, but he won't be so casual after that arrives
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Thank you for your responses. I assumed this would be the case. One neighbour has already had a quote from a solicitor which was £300 for 30 minute consultation and draft letter plus £700 to actually send said letter! I'm thinking may be the 5 properties need to form some kind of management committee and split any legal costs as all 5 properties will benefit from this being brought to a conclusion. One neighbour has already lost a house sale through a cautious purchaser on a second viewing.
Blimey, Minno, my solicitors only charge £300 an hour for a full partner's time, and that's one of the biggest firms in East Anglia (Norwich, Cambridge offices, about twenty departments etc). The big London City firms don't charge £600 an hour often. You'd better discover how he or she is costing this.. If they're costing in time in researching a difficult title, then £1,000 could be justified. All solicitors are required, under professional rules, to give clients their rates per hour etc before the solicitor is finally instructed.

You need a litigator with grounding in land law and conveyancing. Big firms like mine even have a specialist agricultural land department, with a litigator, but any very experienced land law solicitor will do for this.
Question Author
I'm based in Cambridgeshire Fred. Am I allowed to ask the name if this firm? :o)

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