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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70199
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have recently found out that our road of 40 residences which

Resolved Question:

I have recently found out that our road of 40 residences which was once unadopted (but according to our council - private) is now devoid of an owner since 2009. At this time the crown declared it wanted no interest in it. Can you advise me on what options are available please.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Jo,


What info do you need,


Ken

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I was just wondering what your question was about this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

From my work as a trustee of a church building, we discovered some time ago that the building was not registered with the land registry. This meant that theoretically someone could claim ownership of the premises and land and deny us access unless we registered the premises.


 


It would appear that a similar situation could happen to our road and we could be denied vehicular access.


 


Please could you confirm if this is correct and if the residents can register ownership of the land and if we then have legal responsibilities with regard to upkeep etc


 


Ken

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Someone can only claim ownership firstly if they have the deeds and can prove ownership or secondly by claiming adverse possession if they have use the land exclusively and treated it as their own without consent, without objection and not in secret for over 12 years. That seems highly unlikely that anyone would be able to prove that.
You have enjoyed the access since time immemorial it seems and therefore you can claim an easement by what is known as "lost modern grant".
That is a legal doctrine which says that this has been used for so long it must have been granted at some stage in the past although the paperwork as long since disappeared.
The residents have no right to register the road in their land but they can put at the land registry caution against first registration which would give notice if anyone tries to registry.
You already have responsibility with regard to upkeep under a different legal doctrine which is that of mutual benefit and burden which says that if you have the benefit of using something you also have the burden of maintaining it in proportion to the use.
If ever you come to sell your property you can buy an indemnity insurance (you could actually buy it now from your solicitor) which would pay the legal costs in the event of there being a dispute over access. Such "lack of easement" insurance is not at all expensive and probably costs approximately £100 or so one-off premium.
It transfers from owner to owner so once you have bought the policy, there is no need to renew it annually or on sale and there is no need for your successes to renew it.
Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for that answer Jo.


My follow up question to this is as follows:


 


We are surrounded by council parking schemes which causes unwanted parking in our road. The council won't do anything to help but has said that we can do what we like to control parking.


 


We are currently looking at a warden controlled scheme set up and run by a well known national firm. The cost is reasonable and many of us are minded to go ahead with the scheme.


 


Are there legal aspects to this that residents should know about?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Get it in writing from the local authority. They have no interest in the property and therefore whatever you do they cannot bring any action would just on the off chance that there is something comes out of the woodwork, get it in writing.
The property is now owned by the Crown as Bona Vacantia although they are not interested in doing anything with it so the only people who could bring enforcement proceedings would be the Crown.
There is no reason therefore why you should not take whatever enforcement proceedings to control parking that you wish provided all 40 owners agree.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The Assistant Treasury Solicitor put a disclaimer in the London Gazette in Dec 2009 stating that he 'hereby disclaims the Crown's title (if any) in the property.


 


Am I correct in assuming that legal insurance that I have with my house insurance would give me cover if any one tried to sue if they decided that poor pavements etc caused an accident?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. Your house insurance covers the area that you own. If anyone had an injury on the road they would have to sue all 40 house owners which is not a practical proposition in many cases. It would certainly be worth checking with your insurers that they would indemnify you in respect of any such claim.
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