How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Type Your Law Question Here...
James Mather is online now

Hi,We live on the first floor of a 1930s maisonette with

This answer was rated:

We live on the first floor of a 1930s maisonette with the ownership of the garden area at the front split 50/50 with the lower flat across the land and the garden area to the rear also split 50/50 between the first floor and lower floor. The title deeds have these areas marked but the front pathway to the properties and the rear pathway to the gardens are not marked. Even though the front pathway goes across both our halves of land, commonsense and logic means that the lower flat owners and ourselves obviously use this path to access our fronts doors, so you never regard it as owning half the path. To access our garden area to the rear we go through a gate at the side, and walk down a pathway going past our downstairs neighbours garden on the left, with our garden at the bottom half of the garden area.

The issue we have is that the lower flat says the rear pathway and gate is owned by them and they give us access to our garden through this pathway and his land. We say the pathway to the rear has been there for years and as with the commonsense and logic with the pathway at the front, it is actually shared and not owned by them.

The half to the front and rear of the lower flat adjoins their property and they insist the pathway to rear is therefore owned by them as it is on their land.

Part of the pathway to the rear is also used for storing the bins.

We would like to know where we stand on this matter as the lower flat wants us to remove the bins as he plans to build a fence along the side of his property (a couple of feet from the side of building) on part of the pathway area. This would also mean we could not access our drains or piping which goes down the wall, as it would be within his newly fenced off area.

We would like know if our lower neighbour owns this rear pathway and gate and does he have the right to make changes (i.e. additional fence, reducing the size of the pathway and restricting access to our drains) regardless of our feelings?

By the way, we actually paved the whole pathway area (at our expense) in 2006 leading straight through to our garden area.

Hope the above makes sense and we would appreciate your help.


Can you attach sketch detailing the area and what is proposed?

What do deedss say about access to the front doors?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thanks for getting back to me.


It appears I cannot attach a document via this JustAnswer screen.


I have scanned print of the property land registry and title deeds plan layout.


I also have 3 pages written in legal jargon regarding access to the pathways front and rear for the first floor and lower floor.


The neighbour downstairs always talks to people as if from a position of authority and knowledge, when if fact often the case he is wrong, and I feel he maybe wrong in this instance but I do not for sure, hence enquiry for some help.


Is there a way, which I a missing, to attach the docs which will help you more easily understand the background and query.



There is a way to attcah but I dont know how to do it becuase my pages are different than yours. Send to me at UK law via [email protected] and it will be fwd to me.

It can take up to 24hrs


Customer: replied 5 years ago.





I have emailed documents to [email protected] asking for email and documents to be forwarded to Law Denning.


These documents should make the query much easier to understand and appreciate.


Please let me know when received and we can communicate again.




Thank you. I will get back to you as soon as I have them
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Have you received my attached documents yet?


I did email them to [email protected] saysing to forward to Law Denning - no other reference.



Sorry no. Can you please resend and put also UK law on. There are 1,000s of experts in all sorts of cats. It makes it easier to find me. Thanks

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



I have sent again this morning with UK LAW on subject and in text.




The documents have
just arrived. Thank you

You have given me
the freehold title plan rather than the leasehold title plan and it is
difficult for me to see any pathways or fences on such a small scale. I do
however have, I think, the layout. The rights of access of him over your land,
and you over his land are at the end of the first page of the lease and halfway
down the second page. I must confess that they are very wishy-washy.

Before he is
deemed to have interfered with your right of access, his interference must be "substantial".
It depends whether reducing the width of your access or putting a gate in would
affect your enjoyment/use.

He has the right
to walk over your land, as indeed you have the right to walk over his land, and
there would be nothing stopping him (if the situation was reversed) putting his
bin onto your part of the path.

The fact that you
have the right to walk over his land I'm sorry to have to tell you does not
give you the right to put anything (bin) on his part of the path.

The fact that he
may put a fence up might be an obstacle in the way of accessing drains and
piping would he cannot prevent you accessing them even if you have to go onto
his land because you have that right under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act.

Can I help

Please bear with me today because I will be online and off-line with clients
and other users and travelling.

Please don't forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not
what you wanted to hear) and I will follow up any further points you raise for

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating. It
doesn't give me "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is my

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask me for further info before rating me negatively otherwise I don't
get paid at all for my time and answer.

The thread remains open.

James Mather and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Thanks for getting back to me.

I will need your help further as sending the documents was only to allow us to engage a little better and understand the issue eg, the fact the pathways are not shown on the Title Register or the Lease Layout Plan.

I will reply positively now and will engage with you hopefully this evening.

FYI the following is a letter which I have sent to our freeholder today, also trying to help clarify matter. The following maybe useful for yourself to understand also:-



I refer to our above property and am writing in order to clarify the status (ownership, rights, etc) of the pathways at the front and rear of the property, and which are unfortunately not marked on the Title Deeds and Leasehold plans.

We need clarity from you, the freeholder, as we have understandably always believed, and commonsense and logic would tell you, that the pathway areas and gates, which have been in place for years, would be shared between the lower and first floor flats. This however is not the view point of our downstairs neighbour Mr Thomas (182).

Mr Thomas says the pathways are not shared and the land on the rear pathway is owned by him. He has then proceeded on this basis, to remove the boundary fencing on the rear pathway, which opens up his back garden and means we now walk through the path in his open garden, with our loss of privacy, in order to reach our rear garden. He has also requested us to remove our bins which are stored behind the rear gate (gate which he also says he owns), as he says this is his land which he wants to cordon off and use for his purposes.

We have spoken to Mr Thomas on the matter and it would appear his behaviour and actions are a result of being denied planning permission for an extension to his property. He wants to increase his so called amenity space and says he has the right to do so.

By the way, we paid for the whole pathway to be re-paved in 2006.

What has occurred does not seem right and you can understand why we need clarity on our leasehold agreement and for Mr Thomas to also be clear as to the true position regarding the lease.

I am more than happy to be available should you wish to visit the property.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Please send me a message on Justanswer so we can continue.


Thank you.

Is it possible for you to knock up a sketch of the exact layout so that I can see exactly where the fence and path is and gate? Thanks

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I have sent email for your attention to [email protected] with attachment of sketch showing the pathways. This should help get understanding of how it all looks.

Look forward to hearing from you.




Thanks for excellent sketch.

I can see exactly now what you own and what he he is doing.

I dont actually know what he owns.

Is the path down the side of the house in his title along with his garden areas?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


This is the problem, the title deeds plan layout does not show the pathways but as I said they have always been regarded by us as shared. There are about 30 maisonettes of the same type and none of their plans show pathways.

Our neighbour submitted a planning application for an extension to their ground floor flat and it has been rejected twice by planning. His actions and behavious are a reaction to these refusals. He believe removing the fencing and then erecting another fence to claim the area at the bins will incease his 'amenity space' and help his next application for extension. He is not the most popular or neighbourly of people and this is not have main residence (lives in Spain).

The plans I sent you has the 182 and 182A gardens marked at the back and the plans actually have the fornt split into 2 halves but in reality just one garden. He says the land is his with pathway at back and he is just giving us right of access to our garden. When you look on plans you can see the marking for his land does go right round the property but we still believe he does not have the right to do as he does - it cannot be right. Unfortunately the pathways not shown on plans otherwise would be easier to resolve.

Hope bit clearer in order to help us identify our rights as neighbour is talking solely as if he owns the area and can do as he pleases so long as he gives us some access.

Thanks. Ignore planning and ignore paths for now. Who owns the land at the side of the house where your bins are?

Is it on his deeds edged in any colour?

You sent me your deeds and plan but not his.

It isnt in your deeds, so is it in the neighbour's?

You can get neighbours deeds and plan from HMLR online for £6!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I sent you a copy of our deeds with our area edge in colour, the remaining will be neighbours. I do actually have a copy of their title deeds as requested then previously on internet.

I have sent email to [email protected] again to forward their title deeds to you.

Appreciate your help.


Thank you.

When I get them, I
will get back to you. It would appear, therefore (unless you disagree) that the
neighbour owns the area at the side of the house from what you say . I
will have a better idea when I get the deeds

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



The neighbour would appear to own all the land around the maisonette. With us owning the land on the outer. You will see this on the plans and as i say this is applicable to all maisonettes in Coombe Lane. The reality is this is not how it has been viewed or treated. The pathways at the front and rear have always been regarded as shared and are how you enter your front doors and rear garden. This has been in place for years. We have even been responsible for looking after the garden at front on the right side along path and not for cutting the grass on the main part of garden at front, this being done by downstairs. This activity and responsibility contradicts the plans but it is how it is., and this has not been a problem until now.


The pathways not marked on the plans does created an issue of clarity but you will see from the land registry I have emailed you that there is some markings on the land behind the gate (which is the fenced up area round the path - which he has since removed).



So you own the 1/2 garden at very front and extreme rear and 1st floor of maisonette?

He owns "inner" garden halves and ground floor and land at the side?

How long have bins been in place where they are?

How would he feel if you put fences between each garden section?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



So you own the 1/2 garden at very front and extreme rear and 1st floor of maisonette? YES


He owns "inner" garden halves and ground floor and land at the side? YES


How long have bins been in place where they are? THERE WERE BINS WHEN WE MOVED IN 2005 - SO WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE FOR SOMETIME.




You could gate the front lawn off using his logic!

If the bins have been there for more than 20 years without consent or objection you have acquired a prescriptive easement to keep them there.

Whether he can put fence up and gates would come down to whether it interferes with your right of access.

Check yr house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover to deal with this.

It isnt going to be a cheap or quick argument if he sticks to his guns

Can I help further?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Now given all the facts, can you you reply to our original legal question to confirm how we stand on the matter.



He cannot make a substantial
reduction in the width of the path and providing you can still get up and down
it without hindrance there is nothing you can do.

It would come down to how much
he is reducing the width.

I think that on these facts,
you are entitled to keep the bins there

Under the Access to
Neighbouring Land Act he has to give you access to drains.

Can I answer any other
specific questions?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I would like to be able to go to our neighbour and say we have seeked legal advice and we have been told the position regarding the pathways (are they shared), who owns what (i.e the gates, the pathways, the fencing) and what our rights are (can we say you cannot erect a cordonned off fence for bins) and what our neighbour can or cannot do, is as follows............

As I say this is what we need to know, in order to prevent our neighbour taking control and ownership of an area which is always been regarded as shared.



He can put a fence up around the bins but must allow you to keep bins there and give you unhindered access.

He can fence the path but must not make any substantial interference with your right of access.

That is the legal wording. Not precise I know but that is the word the courts use. Many court cases over what is substantial interference or not

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thanks very much that now gives us a bit more understanding.


One last wee question - can you say who actually owns the gate and the pathways which accesses the backgarden and can we re-erect the fence along the pathway which he has removed?


Thanks again.

Who put the gates and fences in? How long ago?

He owns the path which goes over his part of the garden and you own the bit which goes over yours

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The gates have been there for years. Neighbour says they erected fence about 1998.

The gates and fence basicaly belong to whover put them ther. After 20 years he acquires the right to leave them (Prescriptive Easement) provided no one objects in that 20 years and he did it with no consent.

If you re-erect the fence, then he is faced with an argument with you. It works both ways for him!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I am sorry this has dragged on a little but if I can go back to basics to know what we can do.

Basically, the neighbour has removed the fence which goes along the pathway to our garden at the back and he plans at a future unknown date to re-erect the fence but continure it thru to block of the bin area which is currently used by us. The removal of this fence means we walk openly through the pathway as if walking through his garden to get to ours, giving us no privacy along that pathway. He has done all of this as he says its is his land and he just has to give us access to garden.

We are not happy and want to know our rights.

Can you possible give us an answer to the above so that we can then go to our neighbour and state our rights.

This will final close our legal query.


You cannot put the fence back up on his garden as you only have access over it.

You can put bins in the bin location if they have been there for 20 years or more.

You can fence the path off on yr front garden area.