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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9210
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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On a shared laneway there is subsidence on one side ...who

Customer Question

on a shared laneway there is subsidence on one side ...who is responsible for repairs
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

Is it shared ownership or is it shared usage or is it both?

Who actually owns it and who actually uses it?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
both shared ownership and shared usage on daily basis by all residents
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
land on both sides of laneway is owned by four of the residents one of the residents owns the field on the left where subsidence is imminent while another resident owns the property on the right hand side which is perfectly safe.....there is a sheer drop from the laneway down into the field below the lane on the left hand side
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

It would be unusual for each of the owners to own their house but then for the lane to be owned by 4 residents. It might be worthwhile checking the title deeds to see actually is registered as the owner of the lane if it’s registered at the land Registry NI.

There is a legal doctrine of mutual benefit and burden. If someone has the benefit of using something, they have the burden of repairing it in proportion to the use. There may be another provision in the deeds for repair but in the absence of another provision, that is the situation.

If an adjoining landowner has land which has subsided and that subsidence is something that could have been avoided by maintenance or proper drainage or suchlike and that subsidence then affects adjoining property (the lane) then the owner of the lane has a claim in negligence against the owner of the subsiding land.

You mentioned the fear drop from the lane into the field and it may not be as straightforward as in the previous paragraph if there is some kind of banking which supports the lane in which case, it could be the lane owners who are responsible for this.

Whether blame could be laid at the feet of the adjoining landowner would depend on the reason for the subsidence.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


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