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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 803
Experience:  Experienced solicitor
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I live in a barn conversion that has a driveway access from

Resolved Question:

I live in a barn conversion that has a driveway access from the main road over a neighbouring property. I am of the understanding this comes under easement laws - where we have a servient tenement - house and land owner over which the driveway runs and dominent tenements.
In the case of the dominent tenements there are 3 of use who access the main road via the driveway and the easement states we all have a shared responsibility to maintenance and up keep.
The drive is in need of repair - drive consists of 'gravel' and has a considerable number of pot holes. The servient tenement are dragging there feet over repairs and I have offered to purchase gravel and make the repairs - the servient tenement has told me that they have a prerogative on repairs and have instructed me not to carry out any maintenance myself.
I understand that I am well within my rights under an easement that I am able to make such repairs as long as I do not change the driveway surface - that is replace like for like?
Please could you advice as I would like to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand.
Regards.
Peter
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
LondonlawyerJ :

Hello. I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

LondonlawyerJ :

There are 3 properties that benefit from the same easement? The other 2 who use the right of way are unwilling to pay? Have you asked them to help in writng or verbally and have you obtained quotes yet? What does your lease say about responsibities for maintaining the right of way.

LondonlawyerJ :

I will be off line for a few hours now but will look in again later.

Customer:

In total 4 properties. Responsibilities for maintenance of the driveway are shared. I have written to them. In terms of costs - we are looking at a circa £200 for gravel to repair the potholes - I have asked them a number of times over the past 3 months.

Customer:

The replies I have received - verbally and written have indicated they will order up the gravel and take from the 'funds' each of the properties has contributed too - in this case £200 each.

Customer:

However, they continue to drag there feet over this and have proceeded to get quotes to completely resurface the drive - they have verbally quoted costs in excess of £100K. The properties are within an area of out standing natural beauty and are all grade II listed. Personally I have no intention of spending this amount of money - even if I was the quotes will need agreement from all 4 properties and will need to go through planning etc so we are many months away from reaching this point. In the interim - basic repairs are required.

Customer:

Reference the funds - we have no 'Management Group' the fund was set up between the 4 properties prior to us moving in. A proportion of the funds (funds are managed by the servient tenement) have been spent on a road sign to identify the entrance to the Barn development - I have pointed out to them that none of us (3 dominent) were consulted over this - as to looks and costs. I have also requested to know if planning permission was granted to erect the sign - I understand the sign will be installed this week.

LondonlawyerJ :

Who are "they"?

Customer: Owners of the barn whose land the driveway passes over
LondonlawyerJ :

I think if you go ahead and fix the road you are unlikely to be able to get the funds back from the other people meant to contribute unless they do it voluntarily. In some express easements there are rules set out in the deeds regarding maintennance etc. is this the case here? I apologise fro the gap in replies bu tlike moist lawyers in this site I am a lawyer in private practice and fit this in around my other commitments.

Customer:

no worries re the gap in replies - we are all busy and I travel overseas frequently and appreciate its not always possible to keep up wit emails etc.

Customer:

I have no problem with not getting the funds back - the drive is full of potholes and requires repairs now. What I am concerned about is the owners of the barn the drive passes over have told me I have no right to make the repairs and its there prerogative as to when repairs are made.I do not know the exact wording of the easement - what I have is very vague - just stating 'a shared responsibility to keep it in good order for the enjoyment and use of the four properties'

LondonlawyerJ :

OK, in the absence if the owners of the servient tenement( ie: those who own the land the right of way passes over) have not repaired the drive and are letting it deteriorate and there seems no prosect of ti beign reportied by the other

LondonlawyerJ :

Sorry bit of a mstype there . Yes you are right you can repair the drive as long as you do not change the nature of the drive. You can regravel it in whole or in part to ensure that the easement functions. There would be no action anyone could=take against you if you do that.

LondonlawyerJ :

You must be careful not to damage anything while this work is carried out.

Customer: Many thanks - this morning I have initiated contact with a local solicitor to pull together all the paperwork surrounding the easement. We will then organise a meeting with the four properties to review. In my opinion its all been handled very badly in the past and no records have been kept as to when and how much has been spent on up keep - probably very little and has been allowed to deteriorate.
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