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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10772
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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I live in a maisonette with a long back garden. A lane runs

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I live in a maisonette with a long back garden. A lane runs along the back of all the gardens in my road. On a map in the archives of the local council it is marked accommodation road. People have used this amicably for over 50 years and some people have built garages. Most access their back gardens to park their cars. I am about to build a garage at the end of my garden. One of two people have a right of way on their deeds. What is my legal position? Someone told me that the only person who can stop people from using it is the owner; the owner seems to have been long gone. It seems as if an assortment of these roads were left behind when the masonettes were built in the 1940's.A builder built two houses and took out an indemnity policy in case the owner turned up. It is considered to be a 'no man's land' and is not registered with the land registry nor on the definitive map.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

I am Al and am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

So that I can answer you fully, have you been using the access at the rear, and if so, for how long? (I'm not sure, for example, if you have been using it for vehicular access- I doubt it bearing in mind you are now only considering putting up a garage).

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

For Aston Lawyer.

I have been using it on and off for vehicle access for 11 years. I really want to know what an accommodation road is; does it give me any rights. Assuming an owner will not come out of the woodwork can anybody else stop me from using the lane for access.; for example someone who does have a right of way.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have replied

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Firstly, when I tried to put in my email address you said someone else had that address. It was me because I asked a question a couple of years ago. However, there was nowhere for me to say this so I got into quite a muddle with it.I then got an answer to a question I asked 2 years ago. When I finally got an answer to the question I asked today; what is an accommodation Road; does it give me rights of access; can anyone other than the owner of the lane, long since disappeared, stop me from using it. I didn't get an answer to this, but information I hadn't asked for re easements and indemnity policies. Some of this was helpful, I then received a communication from another lawyer and put the question again, but was again blocked by the problem of the email address.
I thought my question quite straightforward and am very disappointed with the service and think I have wasted my money.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

I think your expert is probably offline. In fairness, your response to him was several hours after his information request so he probably went offline.

I will send him a reminder for you and I'm sure he will pick this up although it might be the morning now.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK Thank you

Hi again,

Sorry for the delay in replying to you.

If you are still happy to proceed, I am happy to now answer you.

Legally, only the owner of the rear access can stop you from using it. A third party who may have a right of way over the access can not prevent you from using it, as the access does not belong to them and hence they have no power to say who can and can not use it.

I note you have been using the access road for 11 years on and off.
Under law, where a party uses a right of way (ROW) for 20 years, without the consent of the legal owner, that party acquires a legal right to continue to use the ROW. (called a "right by prescription") The use does not have to be exercised every day for 20 years, but by the same time it has to be frequent over a 20 year period. Therefore, if you give it another 9 years, you will have acquired a legal right, provided you continue to use the ROW on a regular basis.

In the meantime, from what you have told me, it is very unlikely that you will be prevented from carrying on using the ROW- unless the Council block up the road permanently which is unlikely to happen unless the road becomes a hazard.
You do of course run the risk of spending money on a garage if this ever were to happen, but it is probably a risk you are happy to take.

If you were ever to sell the property in the next years, your Estate Agent would not be able to advertise your property as having "a rear access" but it would be normal for you at such time, to sign a Statutory declaration, prepared by your Solicitor, confirming your usage of the ROW over the years, and this declaration, backed with an indemnity policy, would satisfy your Buyers Solicitor and give him sufficient comfort to advise the Buyer that he could use the ROW.

Such an indemnity policy costs between £100-£250 depending on the value of your property, and basically acts as an Insurance Policy, so that if the true owner of the property ever came along and tries to prevent you/your Buyer from using the ROW, then the Insurers would pay for any legal costs involved in defending such action.

From what you have said, I don't think in my experience that you will ever have a problem with continuing to use the ROW, especially as other neighbours have been doing likewise.

I hope this assists and answers your question.

Kind Regards
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. It goes a long way to confirm what I have been told by neighbours. However, I'm still puzzled by the fact that it is called an accommodation road. This seems to go back to when the flats were built in the 1940's and possibly before. I wondered if that would strengthen my situation. I am seriously thinking of selling the flat in the future, after I have built a garage and would like to know about this. We have a very unpleasant developer in the area who has in the past tried to stop us using it. However, I am satisfied now that he has lost this argument as he has been told by the police that he can't stop others from using it.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Please make my reply, just sent, for Aston Lawyer

Hi again,

The fact it may be called an "accomodation road" doesn't strengthen your case, as such. Such a road gets it name if it serves a property/a property requires it, in order to gain access to the property. The law as regards XXXXX XXXXX usage applies whether the right of way is over such a road or a beaten track in the countryside.
The fact it is an accommodation road however, suggest to me that it has been serving the properties for many many years, and there would be somewhat of a backlash if anyone, including a forceful Developer, tried to stop the residents from using the road. As I have said previously, only the true owner can prevent people from using the road, and even he would face a battle, not that he is ever going to turn up.

As regards XXXXX XXXXX please be rest assured that provided you provide a statutory declaration and pay for an indemnity policy, I don't know of any Solicitor who would query the subject further and if your Buyer is local and knows of the history surrounding the road, all the better.

I hope this helps.

Kind Regards
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10772
Experience: LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
Aston Lawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. That is exactly what I wanted to know. I feel happier about going ahead to build the garage.

It's a pleasure.

All the Best