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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71129
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have lived in my detached house for 20 years and I need to

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I have lived in my detached house for 20 years and I need to run a drain under ground through a piece of land that nobody owns.The council say they have no objections the forestry commission have given permission for the discharge from my treatment plant to run into a dyke which they own but the neighbour who owns the field that abuts the strip which nobody owns says he will rip them up if I go ahead.Advice would be much appreciated.
Regards ***** *****

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

What attepts have you made to find out who owns it?

Why does the non owning neighbour say he will rip these up?

Will it affect his land at all?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

been to the land registry and they confirm nobody owns it and my solicitor says the same but to register it in my name I would need the adjacent land owners permission which he will not give.I have a long running dispute with the neighbour over a right of way which as got nothing to do with running an outlet for my treatment plant and he is a very arrogant individual

Thank you. Before you can apply to have the neighbouring land registered as yours you need to have occupied it and treated it as your own without consent or objection and not in secret for more than 12 years (it is 10 years if the land is not registered).

Registering with adverse possession would appear not to be an option.

If no one appears who claims to own the land and you have dug it up to put your drain in then provided it stays in situ for more than 20 years you can claim a prescriptive easement to keep it in place.

If you do this and the neighbour digs it up and destroys it, that is criminal damage and you should refer the matter to the police.

A solicitor will not decide whether you can do this or not, that would have to be done by the court.

What a solicitor should do is tell the neighbour exactly what is being proposed and saying that if he does dig this up it will be immediately reported to the police as criminal damage with a view to having him prosecuted and you will also institute a civil claim for the cost of the damage

Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So if I notify the neighbour that I intend to put underground this drain in the land which nobody owns I do not need is permission

You have tried to find out who owns the land to no avail.

Someone must own it you just can't find out who and that is because it is unregistered. They may miss when you start to do the work or not.

You don't have to inform the neighbour and there is no one for you to get consent from.

The only reason I suggested telling the neighbour was because he has already threatened criminal damage. You could have course tell the police that he is threatening criminal damage which is in itself an offence

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The land originally belonged to the National Coal board and was subsequently passed to the forestry commission but they say it is not registered to them and the NCB is no longer in existence.Plus it is no use to any body

Thank you.

Can I clarify anything further?