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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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I built a fire exit without consent from fellow freeholders

Resolved Question:

I built a fire exit without consent from fellow freeholders as I am the only one at risk since I live on the top floor.
It has a railing going around the roof of the floor below so I dont fall off the roof in a emergency panic, the ladder etc is a roll down so remains on the roof and doesnt encroach on walls or surface etc of any other property, hopefully it never required again
Whats the statute of limitation before I can claim established usage and the other freeholders loose the right to ask me to take it down and put my life at risk.
We had a fire not so long ago and I would never have got out if it wasnt for the fire escape.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 2 years ago.
tdlawyer :

Hi thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I can answer this for you.

tdlawyer :

Normally, actions to recover land or prevent trespass (which is what installation of things that shoulnd't be there on others property is) is normally 12 years.

Customer: Even if it is a fire escape.
Customer: Thanks for replying.
Customer: Thanks for replying Tony.
Customer: Thanks for replying.
Customer:

Sorry was typing on a phone so it was a mess

Customer:

What I meant to say even if it is a fire exit ? doesnt a landloed have the responsibility to provide a fire escape if possible.

Customer:

Also I believe its possible that one of the other freeholders built a fire escape/roof terrace without authorization from other freeholders.How can I check if he had a right to do this.There are four flats and he owns ground floor float and built terrace above basement flat.Years later he purchased basement flat so now own ground and basement but at time of building he hadnt purchased it.How can I check he had a right to build in first place.We maybe in similar position ?

tdlawyer :

The only real way to check whether he had the right to build vis-a-vis the other freeholders is by asking them whether they consented to the works.

Customer:

I know consent wasnt giving but he "claims" it wasn't required.How could I check if it was required.Also still unsure about obligation to provide fire exit.I thought it was a landlords responsibility to do so.As a landlord I have done that even through I didnt require consent from the other landlords did they have a legal obligation to provide and can they request the removal of fire exit

tdlawyer :

The only way to find out if consent was required is to look at the terms of his lease with the freeholder. Or, ask the freeholder directly. Whether a fire escape needs to be provided depends on many factors, there is no general rule that one must be provided in all cases of lettings.

Customer:

Are you sure its not 6 years ? Does 12 years relate to property possession ??

tdlawyer :

You're right, but it does depend on how the claim is subsequently pleaded. If you were seeking, for example, to recover possession of land which somebody had sought to possess by treating as his own, on which a fire escape had been built, then it is arguably 12 years. However, you are rght that a simple action ofof trespass without seeking recovery of possession would be six years.

Customer:

So just confirm, could they ask me to remove the fire escape or have the missed the opportunity as well over 6 years has paased,

Customer:

Will the fire escape now remain there even through I dont own or care to own the land ?

tdlawyer :

I think you would have a strong argument to say that it had been there 6 years and as they'd known about it for that time, they are now statute barred and cannot enforce its removal.

Customer:

Thanks, ***** ***** im almost done on this.Just trying to cover every base.So the window of opportunity to enforce its removal is now closed ?. Im guessing even if one member of the board had asked me to make an offer to purchase it recently.The conversation was not a directive of the board, so officially the board did nothing to ask for removal despite all its members being aware of its existence.

Customer:

If you were me, would you feel comfortable with the statute of limitation offering protection to deny request of the removal.

tdlawyer :

I would never feel "comfortable" because litigation always throws up things you never expected - it's part of the course - but I would feel that I had a decent argument to prevent them from seeking to remove it, and I would take some comfort from knowing that they would appreciate that they too had some difficulties and that the outcome was likely to be unclear.

Customer:

I guess the outcome is never guaranteed, so you just have to decide how credible is your argument and whether the law would recognizes this instance as valid argument.Would I be right in assuming if my argument is they have waived their rights under the statue of limitation the onus is on them to provide evidence why the statute is not applicable in this case.As the law stands you have 6 years to make a claim so they would need a pretty good argument why under these circumstances the statute is not applicable.

Customer:

Is there any obvious ones they could try ??

tdlawyer :

The only thing I can think of is an admission perhaps, they might say exists, that the escape trespassed on their land and as such, time starts to run again from the date of the admission.

tdlawyer :

Does this answer your question please or do you want me to answer anything more about it?

tdlawyer :

Would you mind rating the answer please so the chat can end ? Thank you.

tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience: 11 years experience of general practice.
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