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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10777
Experience:  LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
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I completed the build of my house in 1992 on land which I bought

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I completed the build of my house in 1992 on land which I bought in 1989. Before we get to my drive there was an unregistered lane about 50m long. I had everything passed by a solicitor so I could complete my mortgage which I have remortgaged twice since in 1999 and 2005 each time using a different solicitor. In 2010 someone bought the road without our knowledge and is now threatening to take us to court unless we pay him £30,000 ( he is also a solicitor). we have contacted a solicitor but he as already been sued by my neighbour for missing it on the searches where do we stand with this situation and what do you suggest.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

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

Your Solicitors should have checked that your property had a right of way over the lane, and if no such right of way exists in your Deeds, then they have been negligent.

However, not all is lost- if a party exercises a right for 20 years or more, without dispute or hindrance from the true owner, they automatically acquire a "prescriptive easement". In simple terms, it means you acquire a legal right to carry on using the right that you have been exercising.
As I have said, you automatically acquire the easement, although you can also register the right at the Land Registry, by making a suitable application.

I therefore believe that provided you have been using the lane in excess of 20 years, you have nothing to worry about from yet another Solicitor.

If I were you, I would suggest that you contact a trustworthy Conveyancing Solicitor who no doubt can confirm the above to you and write to the owner of the lane accordingly.

As regards ***** ***** Solicitors, you may have a claim against them, but the 20 year usage of the lane has somewhat saved them from a full claim in that now you do not face incurring any loss.

I hope this helps and answers your question.

Kind Regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your reply Al.


When would the timescale (20 years) start from:

  • Would it be when we bought the land to the present day?

  • When we started or completed the house to the present day/

  • Would it be when we bought the land to the time he bought the lane and sent us a letter?


Can he legally cut off our services (gas, water, etc.) as he has threatened?

Hi Lee,

The 20 year period starts from the first day you used the lane to gain access to your property until the date the owner wrote to you objecting to your use of it.

Hope this clarifies matters.

Kind Regards
Aston Lawyer and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

When I started preparing the land for building to start or officially moved in. There was a garage on the land that we used straight away for parking and storing building materials. I'm only asking because from when we moved in to his first letter it is only 18 years.