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Neighbour dispute - laws governing prescriptive easements

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somerford | 17:24 Wed 24th Aug 2011 | Civil
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My next door neighbour (semi detached house) recently sold his house and in his "sellers questionaire" disclosed a dispute with me regarding some services (grey water pipes) from my house which run across his land. In my opinion there has never been a dispute. in the 5 years that I have owned my house we have never spoken about it and we have had a good relationship. He believes the dispute arose with the previous owner of my house, although she did not disclose any dispute when selling to me. I have spoken to the builder who carried out the word in question and he has categorically confirmed that when the work was carried out 7 years ago, there was no issue with the neighbour.

Question 1 - Does a dispute have to be recognised by two opposing parties to be a dispute?
Question 2 - Does a disagreement have to reach a certain point before it is deemed to be a "dispute".


The new neighbour is insisting that I need to move the grey water pipes which run from my downstairs toilet as the previous owner of my house did not have consent to place them there. The toilet was installed over 40 years ago (I have copies of the planning application plans) and therefore I beleive that there are prescriptive rights in my favour to keep the pipes where thay are. There is an anomaly however. The work that was carried out 7 years ago as mentioned above moved the pipes by about 4 feet along the boundry wall.

My opinion that the work carried out 7 years ago should be deemed as an agreed variation to the prescriptive right as there is no proof of any dispute.

I can get a statutory declaration to prove that the toilet has been there for over 40 years.

Question 3 - I think I am in the right with my arguement re prescriptive rights but would appreciate any other view to corroborate or otherwise.

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Goodness me - this site now only gets a decent legal question like this around once a fortnight.
I'm going to pass on your first 2 questions, but mainly because I don't see how whether it is a 'dispute' or not changes anything. Your neighbour is making a claim against you and you are working out how to respond.
I think you have a realistic claim to a prescriptive easement but I am a layman with some previous experience of these things, not a lawyer. You clearly know the basics of these matters because of the terminology you are using, and since the pipe has been there over 20 years, the situation satisfies the minimum period of time.
The best advice I can offer you is to register with this website
http://swarb.co.uk/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=19
and post your question there. This site is far more professional on legal matters and is answered by real lawyers with real question. They will point you in the right direction and help clarify the facgtors - not give you a free legal opinion.
Regards, BM
Certainly, do what bm suggests.

I assume that when the pipes were moved 7 years ago they were moved further into the land (or on the wall) of the neighbouring property. It seems to me this could be considered to be something not covered by the prescriptive right as that would relate to the original placement of the pipes 20+ years ago.

Was your neighbour who has just sold the one who was there 7 years ago? If so, he presumably thought there was a dispute but it appears he ended up doing nothing about insisting on the pipes being moved. If he is willing to co-operate you might be able to get some more detailed info. from him. In particular, why did he never mention this to you in the 5 years you have been there?

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