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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10944
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I have recently inherited a property from my mother which has

Customer Question

I have recently inherited a property from my mother which has on the deeds marked alongside the property, right of way. This land however is at the rear of what was originally a block of retail properties, some of which have now been converted to flats. However, the owner of this property has stated that the land belongs to him and has put locked gates on each end, which obviously prevents anyone from walking through. How do I find out what status this 'right of way' has in law and what my rights are as I cannot now access the outside of my perimeter fence.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
1. Can you tell me whether the either or both pieces of land - the land on which the right of way runs and your property - are registered land or unregistered land? Is the right of way marked as a burden on the Folio of the land on which it runs? Is the right of way mentioned on your land Folio? Is there a key available to the locked gates on the land on which the right of way runs? How did you first find out about the right of way?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have received the deeds to my mothers freehold property which shows the boundaries of her garden. On the deeds the right of way is shown as running alongside the right hand boundary of the garden. To access the outside of this boundary i.e. the fence and hedge in the garden, access is required to what is stated on the deeds as a right of way. I believe although I have no written proof, that my mother was approached to see if she objected to having gates on either end of this right of way, which she agreed to and at that time was given a key. However, my mother is now deceased and the gates now have a digital lock. I believe the properties next to the house and the land around has since been sold to another person. He maintains that this is his land.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
2. The first thing I would advise you to do is to get the title deeds and land Folio to the piece of land over which the right of way runs. This will firstly tell you who now owns that land today. This will solve the issue as to in whose ownership they are. Additionally, the right of way will be marked as a burden on these title deeds and the terms of the right of way will be set out there as well. So you should examine these and satisfy yourself as to both these things. If necessary, ask a solicitor to get these title deeds for you. It will not cost very much.
3. The second point is that it is unlawful for anyone to prevent you using this right of way. It does not mean that they cannot fence off the land at either end. However, it does mean that if there is a digital lock on the gates at either end, that you should have this combination so that you can use the right of way. Accordingly, if you are speaking to this person who claims ownership, make clear you have the benefit of the right of way at the rear of what was originally the retail units. Ask for the combination to the digital lock as you are entitled to it, in law.
4. ULtimately, if access to this right of way is denied to you, you are entitled to break the lock so as to gain access, when you need access. However, before you take this step, I would advise you to get the title deeds to this piece of land, so that you know who is the correct person to deal with. Ultimately, if they seek to prevent your access, a solicitor's letter will be called for to ensure access.
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