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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I own freehold the land on which my house is built and an outside

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I own freehold the land on which my house is built and an outside area outside area shown on the plans. I have lived here 14.5 years In addition I and my three adjoining neighbours " to use the common ashplace shown on the said plan............"and also to use (in common as aforesaid) the common yard and common passage for the purpose of gaining access to the said ashplace and for the purpose of passing and repassing to and from Dixon Fold either on foot or " also goes on the describe vehicular access. "the purchaser contributing a fair proportion according to his user of the expense of keeping the said Ashplace yard and passage respectively in a reasonable state of repair and condition"
My neighbour of 18 Dixon fold has no back garden and the boundary of his freehold is the back and side wall of his house directly on the edge of the common yard and passage. He has lived in the property since 1961 I believe. Since living in my property his wife has undertaken quite a bit of gardening in the common yard, I have looked after the common passage, keeping the cobbles weed free, cutting back plants, keeping shrubs etc. tidy and repairing and making good areas of the paving that in the past had been asphalted over. As my neighbours wife's health deteriorated the common yard became very untidy and overgrown, Mr. K did very little . I also undertook to mow the lawn on occasions, clear weed and cut back overgrown plants etc. I was very careful not to do too much as they were an elderly couple and did not want to interfere or show disrespect.
The neighbour at No 18 has had no access to the common yard or common passage as the gate between 17 & 18 has been bricked up by Mr K sometime before I came.
Mrs. K has since died and Mr K has moved out and his family are doing the house up to sell.
I have had a letter from Mr K's Solicitor in which he states that the common yard has for many years been cultivated as a garden. That the ash place is no longer in existence. His client is anxious to formalise the position by establishing title to it, having regard to his use of the property as a garden over a lengthy period of time.
During the renovation of the house they have completely decimated the garden and outbuildings without consultation and refused to stop when I asked them not to pull down two lovely old outbuildings. The common yard is now an untidy building site.
They want a formal release of the land (the common yard) and he is prepared to maintain it at his own expense.
Can he do this? And also can he charge me a portion of all the work they are/will undertake in the common yard?
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. I am grateful for the information you have kindly provided above. From what you say I believe I am very safe in my assumption that you would strongly oppose any claim to title by Mr K's family to the yard?Finally from what I understand as part of their proposal they are keen to improve the yard. Have they advised they intend to seek to charge you a contribution towards this or is this just a concern you have at this stage?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes I do object, Mr K has at no point discussed with me any of the plans for the common yard.

In the yard were two buildings Victorian I think as they match one I have. They are brick built and had beautiful stone slates as do mine. According to my deeds one was designated as WC for No.17 and the other included in my deeds as part of the common yard.

Soon after the building work started I noticed that they had started to remove the stone slates. I asked them to stop as no one had discussed this with me and I objected to their demolition. Mr P. K (son of owner) told me it was coming down all the wood was rotten and it was dangerous. I asked him to stop as I did not agree. The doors were in a bad state of repair I was already aware of that and had it in mind already to replace them. I told him once again that he must stop and asked him to ask his father to come and see me to discuss.

Later he started pulling it down, I asked him to stop and he just turned up the radio and ignored me. At this stage the buildings were beyond rescue. The wooden beams over 100 years old were in remarkable condition

Mr K did not come to see me and I did not have his address. From then on the builder and Mr P K just ignored me.

They have completely decimated the garden that was the common yard and removed nearly every feature that was there.

I object because this is included in my deeds and is part of the history of the plot and my building. I have enjoyed the common yard and passage and making it look better and when Mr K moved out was going to do far more and had plans for the spring.

The other more sentimental reason is that this is the only time I have ever owned a property and the land that it is on and it feels very precious to me and as stated previously this common yard, and passage along with the cobbles and Yorkshire stone slabs are quirky and beautiful. The steps leading into the common yard and other paving are also historical.

Mr K wants this land because his house has no garden other than a small area at the front and therefore it is not such an attractive property for a potential buyer.

I do not want to be deprived of the use of this common property along with my neighbours (who incidentally are absent landlords). I also think that it adds some value to my property.

Hope this helps.

thank you. It appears relatively clear from what you say that there is an attempt to "land grab" the land in question. however, from the extract of your title deeds you kindly reproduce above, you have rights over the passageway and the yard and thererfore they cannot seek to claim this land as their garden lawfully without your consent. In order that they were able to claim the land as their own absolutely, they would need to obtain from you a formal deed of release of your rights over the yard. this can only be done by either formal deed of release which you must sign or by an over action on your part showing clearly that you intended to give up those rights - for example, your erecting a boundary between your property and the yard preventing you accessing the same. It is not enough that you may merely not use the yard very much. They must have clear evidence either by deed or action on your part that you had intended to give up your rights. Without this, you have a continued right to use the yard. if they have modified the answer is to reduce your rights to use the same promise original design purpose, this would amount to a derogation of your rights over the yard and you could secret court order requiring restoration of the yard to such a state so as to restore your original use and purpose of the same. If necessary you could do so using the following If they are continuing to carry out actions to the yard which derrogate from your rights to use the same you can seek an injunction preventing their continued actions by using the following form: in terms of your way forward, you may consider reverting to the solicitor has contacted you setting out your objections to the actions his clients have taken and to advise that you will not allow an application to go forward to claim the land as they have not maintained it as their own nor have the enclosed the land and you have rights over the land in question. In addition, if they have carried actions which have reduced your right to use the land according to its original purpose, you can demand that they restore such features failing which you will consider applying for an injunction and court order in this respect. on a practical note, although there is no requirement to exercise your right of use in order to maintain a legal right to do so, it is worthwhile you are exercising your writing practice in order that the neighbours do not treat the land as their own in practice albeit without a legal right to do so. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your help I was getting quite stressed as Mr P K has such a bullying attitude. This has reassured me. Thank you so much.

A pleasure. Based on the above you would appear to have a strong position however in practice you may need to ensure he does not practically take over the land or practically treat it as his own by regularly exercising your rights over it, or you may find yourself forced to go to court in order to defend your position; by taking a clear and strong position early on you may be able to resolve the matter without going to court. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to meWith best wishes
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