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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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We live in a small Close near the centre of Bristol. Our only

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We live in a small Close near the centre of Bristol. Our only means of access to the outside world is through a pair of gates that stand at the entrance to a private car park, which are made of wood and operated by a manual latch. The latch is currently broken and the gates are in need of some repair. Unfortunately the repairs are not being done as a number of the other residents wish them to be replaced by motorised gates, fitted with security keypads, which would cost each of the nine households around £1,000. Discussions have got quite polarised, and there is a distinct possibility that we might be forced to accept them, and attempts made to force us to pay for them.

The background to this is that electric gates were intended to be fitted when the estate was first built, about 10 years ago, however the company running the project ran out of money and fitted wooden gates instead, before the properties were transferred to their current owners. As a result, our deeds contain the following under 'Rights Granted':

"Full right and liberty for the Transferee... to go pass and repass with or without vehicles... through the gateway the Transferee bearing paying and contributing one twelfth of the cost of repairing and maintaining the same including the cost of maintaining and repairing and replacing the gate and any voice entry system and the cost of electricity used for opening and shutting the gate and for any voice entry system."

My question does not concern our legal position with regards XXXXX XXXXX they have a right to install gates or enforce payment. We would claim that the gates as they stand should be maintained as they stand, and do not require replacement. Instead my question concerns what would happen if they imposed electric gates, and we refused to pay. Would such a clause give them the right to prevent us from using the gates at all, and so effectively imprisoning us within our home, or is there a wider law that gives us the right to access the outside world, regardless of what it says in our deeds?

The wording gives you right of way to pass through the gates, so you cannot be stopped from entering or going out through these gates.

However, you are also obliged to pay one twelfth of the cost of repairing or replacing the gates and if the gates are being replaced, then I am afraid you are liable to pay for your share.

The issue here is whether the gates should be repaired or replaced and if the majority of the other residents feel that the gates need replacement, then I am afraid you will be outvoted.

However, if the majority of the residents vote that the gates should be repaired and maintained rather then replaced, then that should be implemented.

Can I help further?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX not really my question. My question is whether our right of way is conditional on us paying one twelfth the cost, and can our right of way be denied if we don't pay. If the way our deeds are written is conditional, then is there a 'higher law' that gives us a legal right to access the outside world, and not be imprisoned, regardless of what our deeds say?

No, your right of say is not conditional on you paying, it is a right of way on its own and you can claim an easement by necessity in law as it is your only access to the outside world.

This is the higher law.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks! Just to check, from the information I have given you, are you absolutely certain of your reply - that we have an unconditional right of way as it is our only access to the outside world - or is there room for debate?

Yes, you can claim an easement of necessity exists as there is no other right to the outside world.

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