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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7072
Experience:  BA honours degree in law, over 20 years experience in litigation, contract and property matters
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I live in a terraced house with a pasageway to the side. The

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I live in a terraced house with a pasageway to the side. The property has a covenant to allow use of the passageway by 3 neighbours for access to the rear of their properties with a handcart (two properties via the rear of my property by crossing my garden, the third has direct access to their garden from the right hand side of the passage). The access width is defined as 3 feet. Modernisation at some time in the past, resulted in a sewer down-pipe reducing the access width to 30 inches. The 1st neighbour to the left has their own fence across their access route on the boundary of our properties at the rear, effectively preventing any access. The neighbour to the right is new and has recently started using the passageway for general access - the previous owner never used the access. Since the covenant is specific regarding the access (unrestricted access for a handcart), do I have honour the covenant, or can I legally prevent access or remove the covenant?
The purpose of these covenants was generally to allow access for the delivery of coal in the days when most houses had coal sheds in the rear garden and access to dustbins etc.
The restriction to using a handcart is designed to make it clear that it is not for vehicular access , assuming that was possible anyway!
It is difficult to remove such a covenant the main argument used to do so is that it is no longer relevant as times have moved on and the land changed. However, if the access way still serves some purpose this will not succeed and applying to remove a covenant is an expensive business. It will be taken into account that you bought the property knowing it existed and should take the property subject to any such rights of access Whilst this is not the legal route you could try blocking it in a way that is not permanent, such as a gate you can open, and see whether anyone objects. If so then you simply open the gate.
I hope this helps. If there are any further points please reply.
Best wishes
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