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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10793
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Wondering if you can help?The house we purchased was

Customer Question

Hi, wondering if you can help?
The house we purchased was built in 1953 as part of a group of houses known as "The Close". The houses are set around a lay-by (The Close) which would have provided the off street parking for the houses. There are two sets of semi detached houses at either end of the lay-by and a group of 4 central terraced houses set back from the semis. We purchased No.1 The Close from the council a few years back. Since we have owned the house there has always been a gate by the front door which leads through our neighbours front garden to the lay-by. You can clearly see that this path ran the full width of the houses, giving all the houses access to the lay-by. However over time the two end semi detached houses (including ours) have had driveways put in. Since living at the property the vast majority of people coming to the house have parked in the lay-by and used the path which runs through our neighbours garden, this includes the postman and almost all deliveries. Our adjoining neighbour told us when we first moved in that the old lady who used to own our house gave up this right of way but I'm not convinced this is true, as they also told us they own the property they live in but we have since found out that it is in fact owned by the council. I'm assuming they just want to put us off from using it as why would they have not removed the gate? I have checked our deeds and although it speaks of an easement there is no mention of the words "private right way". If we do have this right of way then we would like to keep it but I'm not sure how we check. Please can you advise? Many thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just to add to this. We are currently doing building works to our property and our driveway at the moment is inaccessible, so I have been parking in the lay-by and using the path. Although the neighbours have not complained I just want to know for my own peace of mind that I am within my rights in case they do end up saying something to me.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
1. The first thing I would suggest you do is to get a solicitor to look at your deeds and the adjoining deeds of your neighbouring properties. This will determine whether there is any right of way or what is the status of the Close. In point of fact, this is the only way in which the issue can be determined. However, to deal with some of the issues you have raised. Firstly, a right of way cannot simply be lost by a previous owner not using the right of way of by "giving up" the righto f way. In order for a right of way to be abandoned, which is the legal term, some positive action must be manifest to illustrate the right of way has been abandoned. In your situation, the right of way would have had to be bricked up for up to 20 years before the right of way could be abandoned. so like the ownership of your neighbour's house, this is another issue in which their statements cannot be relied upon. So your right to use the right of way through your neighbour's or Council's land has not been lost by anything your previous lady owner did.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
2. Secondly, there is no need for a right of way to have the words "private right of way" in them in order to constitute a right of way. So long as the title deeds speaks of a right to pass and repass, or a right to cross over certain land, then it is a private right of way. So, for this reason, I would suggest you get a solicitor to help you with this issue as the solicitor will have much more experience in these matters and will be able to tell you immediately what the words used actually mean.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is all that is in my title deeds....
""The land has the benefit of the rights reserved by but is subject to the rights granted by Conveyances and Transfers of adjoining and neighbouring land. Any which were made pursuant to Part V of the Housing Act (or any other Housing Act) took effect with the benefit of and subject to the easements and other rights prescribed by paragraph 2 of schedule 6 of the Act (or the relevant provisions of any other Housing Act to which they were pursuant."
It speaks of an easement which I'm assuming is the right to pass through?
Thanks
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.
4. The use of "rights granted by Conveyances and Transfers of adjoining and neighbouring land" will include the easements to pass and repass over neighbouring land. However, I would still suggest you get a solicitor to look at your conveyance and the neighbouring conveyances if you want to be sure of your ground here.