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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Experienced solicitor
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There is a septic tank in my garden which is used by 4 separate

Customer Question

There is a septic tank in my garden which is used by 4 separate neighbouring properties.
The title deeds of my house contain a provision for a right of drainage for the owners and occupiers of these properties into the septic tank 'and the right to enter on my land for the purpose of maintaining repairing and cleansing the same.
There is a gate in the fence adjacent to this tank which has been left unlocked for several years and has presumably been used by these neighbours if they wished to inspect the tank or arrange emptying.
The tank has received little regular attention over many years and any access is infrequent.
I have historically not required notice to be given when access was required.
Recently some items from around the gate area have been stolen and there is evidence that there has been access to the garden through this gate.
We live in a quiet rural area but the adjoining lane is used by many people accessing the river bank and I am very concerned about security as this gate allows access to all of my extensive garden and the rear of the house.
Consequently I have decided to padlock the gate and have advised the neighbours that they can arrange access to the tank at any reasonable time if they contact me. They have each requested a key to the lock to allow unrestricted access but I am reluctant to give out 4 keys especially as each family contains several members and I will not know when they are in the garden.
They have my telephone number and E mail address and if I am away I can arrange with my family locally at short notice to open the gate,
Legally do I have to provide a key to the gate?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 10 months ago.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you.
I think that strictly speaking you probably should give them each keys as there appears to be no restriction on when they can enter your property to inspect etc. However, I think that in practical terms there is no legal remedy they can pursue if y do not give them a key. If you are willing to let them access at any reasonable time then it certainly is not worth them going to court to try to enforce their strict legal rights and their would be a real risk that they would not win in any event.
So the short answer is yes you can do what you propose.

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