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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10776
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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I live in a detached property with a lane dividing the

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Hello, I live in a detached property with a lane dividing the row of properties adjacent to mine. The lane was originally intended as access for bin men etc but has not been used for any purpose for a number of years. The lane runs the entire length of my property and I have had access to the lane for the 15 years I have lived in the property. The lane has always been accessible to everyone living in the street that backs on to the lane. Now, however, the first house in the row has decided, unilaterally, that they own the lane and have blocked access to everyone by erecting a gate at the entrance. I now have no access for maintenance to my perimiter wall which requires attention. What can I do to resolve this matter, please?

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Do your Deeds give you a right of way over the Lane or a right of access for wheelie bin

purposes or for maintaining your property?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards


Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My deeds do not give a right of way over the lane or a right of access most likely because it's land that no-one actually owns. It's one of those lanes that were common when houses were built in the early 1900's to allow rear access on terrace streets. My property runs adjacent to the entire length of the lane but there are 20 or so houses on the other side of the lane most of whom probably no longer use the lane. However, my boundary wall runs the entire length and I need access for maintenance. How do I prevent this neighbour from erecting a locked gate, claiming the lane as his ownership and preventing access for maintenance. Can I take him to court?

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your reply.

As you do not have a right of access or right of way, your hands are very much tied, I'm afraid.

Even though you have been using the access for 15 years, this does not give you any legal rights over the lane (to gain such a right, you have to show that you have had unrestricted use of the lane for 20 years or more).

Although this third party may indeed not own the lane (you would need to instruct a local Solicitor to check this, via the Land Registry), sadly you have no legal standing to take any action against him, on the basis that you, yourself do not have any legal rights over the lane. (If you had a right of way/access, you could indeed take him to Court with a view to obtaining an Injunction to stop him preventing access).

I appreciate you are not going to be happy with my answer, but the best you can do is to rely on the Council and hope they do take enforcement action against him for breach of planning legislation.

I am sorry this is not th eanswer you were looking for, but it set sout the legal position.

Kind Regards


Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Al, thanks for your response. I moved into the property in 2003 but my wife lived here since 1987 with continued access to the lane (The lane has never been restricted in any way for at least 100 plus years). Indeed her father routinely maintained the boundary wall via the lane. Therefore, the 20 year rule is easily proven. Also, I have checked with the land registry. The deeds for all properties impacted clearly show the boundary to be meeting the lane and not including the lane which strongly suggests no-one owns the land which begs the question: Why can he claim ownership and erect a gate while we all suffer as a result. There must be some legal recourse open to me?

Hi Michael,

Thanks fo ryour reply.

Sorry- I did not appreciate your property has had the benefit of the right of access for so long. I can, therefore confirm that you have gained a "right by prescription", meaning that you have an established right to continue the rights you have been exercising over the lane.

As such, this third party is obstructing your right and you do have the right to take him to Court with a view to obtaining an Injunction to have the gate removed. Court action is very expensive (may cost at least £10-20,000), so you ar ebest to avoid this.

You should (or get a local Solicitor) to write to the third party something like what follows:

1 you have a prescriptive right,

2 describe the nature of your right of way/acces

3 that he is interfering with your use of your right of way. Describe how.

4 that this is causing incovenience distress etc.

5 Requiring him to remove the gate within a set period of time (say 2 weeks)

6 Saying you will take legal action if he doesn't, seeking compensation and for him to pay your costs.

Hopefully, the mere threat of legal action will make him see sense.

I hope this clarifies the legal position.

Kind Regards


Customer: replied 2 years ago.

OK, Thanks, ***** ***** engage a local solicitor to send a letter.

Good luck Michael.

If i have helped, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Kind Regards


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