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wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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There is a ditch / rille outside my property boundary that

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There is a ditch / rille outside my property boundary that my rainwater from my roof has piped into since the house was built in 1966. There is a field boundary at the oposite side of the feature, however the farmer claims that the feature is on his land according to his deeds & that he wants to fill it in. This was in place with drainage from my property before he owned the field. I have read somewhere that i have a right to drainage whoever owns the land. Is this correct? Also I have been told by the previous owner who was also the builder of my property that the ditch was originally connected to a water course and that the farmer had filled this in and that there was a dispute at the time that never got resolved. I have owned the property for 8 years and 3 months now and the farmer has owned the field for around 12 years. Was the farmer acting unlawfully if he filled in the ditch & would he be doing so by filling in the remaining parts of it & blocking my rainwater drains by doing so.
Regards ***** *****
Hello. Properties can acquire rights / easements for drainage etc over third party land if they have openly exercised the subject of the claimed right for in excess of a 20 year period, without force and without permission. If you don't own the land onto which the water drains, but it has done this since 1966 openly and without any permission from the landowner, then it is likely you / your property has acquired the legal right to continue this drainage in the same way you always have. This is a right arising by prescription (ie long use). If this has arisen, the landowner cannot do anything to materially interfere with the right. So, if he filled in the ditch, and this prevented the drainage your house had always had, he'd be unlawfully interfering with your rights. I suggest you see a solicitor and ask them to check the title to the land in question and to apply to Land Registry to register the claimed right to drain onto the land. You may need to get statutory declarations (ie sworn statements) from the previous owner and anyone else who can confirm your claim. The landowner will be notified of the application and can dispute it, but he'd have to show that the drainage has not been exercised for the relevant period or that it has, but with permission - difficult for him to do, by the sound of it. Hope this helps? WB
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