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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10978
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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We have some land which is a bit of a grey area with respect

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Hi, we have some land which is a bit of a grey area with respect to rights of access to a neighbouring farmer. His solicitor has now sent us a letter asking us to confirm immediately in writing that we will acknowledge the right of way and will remove any obstacles (we have had a few skips due to renovation work). The section of their deeds quoted on this solicitor’s letter “a right of way at all times for agricultural purposes only” does not appear exactly on our deeds – should it do? How much time do we reasonably have before we reply to their letter as we are doing a lot of expensive renovation work at the moment and have neither the time or the money to see a solicitor. Also, on the plan they have provided, there is a building in the way of access – would this be relevant? Apologies for all the questions! And thanks for any answers! Karen
1. Can you better explain the situation. What entry appears on your own deeds in relation to the right of way? Was there a previous building in the way of the right of way?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi, thanks for replying… the deeds relate to a separate parcel of land away from our house; there is a long track from the road for access to our cottage and those in adjoining cottages (four in total). Our extra parcel of land goes further than the track and our neighbouring farmer has the land at the other side. Our deeds say: “that piece of land (etc etc)” and then “together with (in common with the Company and all others so entitled) the full and free liberty to pass and repass to and from the property at all times and for all purposes in connection with the use and occupation of the property over the roadway coloured yellow on the plan (‘the access road’) except and reserving unto the Company its servants licensees and successors in title and the lessees and occupiers for the time being of any neighbouring land held by the Company or any person deriving title under them …” The yellow line goes from the road to the gateway to the farmer’s field ie over our land to their gate.
Then there’s a First Schedule that says “Full and free liberty to pass and repass to and from the adjoining and neighbouring lands of the Company at all times and for all purposes (and with or without vehicles and animals of any description) over that part of the access road included in the property (‘the said way’)”. Not sure if this latter section applies to the track from the road to the cottages or continuing through our extra parcel of land. There is no building in the way now but there obviously has been at some point in the past as it is on the plan that our neighbours’ solicitor has sent us. Thank you
2. Here, I would advise you to get on the phone to the solicitor and see if the farmer wants to use the right of way immediately. My guess is that the farmer is merely wondering if his right of way will be interfered with by the building works, or else, he wants to put cattle on the land soon. The legal position is that there is a right of way for the farmer here. Not only is it on his deeds but it also exists on your deeds as well. So, there is no point in fighting a battle that you cannot win. However, you can safely wait 21-28 days before you formally reply to the solicitor's letter stating that you wont interfere with this farmer's right of way and that you have no objection to him using his right of way. However, don't formally "acknowledge" his right of way. Just state it is marked on the deeds.
2. Be aware that many rights of way were originally purely for agricultural purposes but usage has enlarged these rights of way to rights of way for all purposes. This is what has happened here.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok thank you
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