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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10387
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Dispute with new neighbour (property developer) who has just

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Dispute with new neighbour (property developer) who has just purchased communal access road to my property (among others x 7). He has just built 10 bedroom mansion nearby. In restrictive covenants (signed 1988) it states that persons exercising right of passage......contributing upon demand a fair & reasonable proportion (according to user) of the costs.........from time to time in maintaining & repairing the roadway. He indicates estimated costs @ £350k - £400k. The road was abandoned/neglected since 1970s & for past*****subject to heavy plant & machinery & virtually destroyed. I believe that this is not maintenance & repair (payable from time to time), for which I am liable, but a massive new development (change of owner, change of use). Please advise.

I agree with you. This is not maintenance, this is improvement and you are not liable for improvements. Any maintenance required is in proportion to the amount of use and as it appears that his machinery has destroyed the road, then he is responsible for the majority of the maintenance costs.

If there are 8 properties altogether, then the legal costs of fighting any claim he brings can be divided by eight if you put in to the common pot. However, anyone who doesn’t contribute towards any fighting fund would still get the benefit of the outcome.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Apologies for the delay,
I have employed a barrister who disagrees. Exact quote '' one answer solicitors know nothing. There is no practical difference between maintenance/repair & road improvement, therefore we are liable to pay. Consider a remortgage''. Consultation with him appears to have been an expensive mistake & his services have been dispensed with. I prefer your answer & trust that you are right. We live in interesting times.