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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23784
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My neighbour has cut off the corner of my property to make a

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My neighbour has cut off the corner of my property to make a accessible driveway to his property. Can I just move the fence line back?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: No
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: on the outskirts of Pencarreg Carmathenshire
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: The neighbour took the piece of land before I bought the property, However the correct boundary is marked on the survey plan and in fact in an earlier discussion with the neighbour he asked me if I thought I owned more land than is physically shown, which tells me he has a guilty conscience. An elderly retired barrister suggested I should have a letter of declaration. Is he right?

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

How long ago did you move in and this neighbour?

and what would you like to do about this?

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I am an aged pensioner (71 years old) but physically active, so all I wanted to do was put the fence back into the correct position. There are steel survey posts on my property and his, so a line drawn between them marks the correct boundary. ( Ho2w do I contact you once I hang up from this site?)
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Sorry I meant to mention that I bought and moved into the property in Dec 2019. The previous owner also had a property dispute with him and was advised to move the fence into the correct location and throw his (the offender's) fence back onto his property. I assumed I could do the same.

This is potentially about adverse possession or a prescriptive easement.

If someone has used a piece of land without consent and without objection and not in secret for more than 10 years if the land is registered at the Land Registry (12 years if unregistered) they are entitled to have the land registered as their own under the doctrine of Adverse Possession.

Any known owner would be contacted by the Land Registry and an application is made by the possessor and they would be allowed to dispute the application.

Any disputed application is passed onto the Land Tribunal who will decide the issue based upon the evidence.

The has to be an intention to possess the land and it has to be occupied to the exclusion of others which means that fencing is off or possessing it and excluding others in some way is almost essential.

Whilst someone claiming adverse possession will very often have occupied the land for far in excess of the requisite period, it’s very often the case that they have no proof of when they first started to occupy and use the land.

If it was not occupied to the exclusion of others but merely used for a period, then the person using it cannot claim adverse possession but may be able to claim an easement if they can prove 20 years use without consent or objection is not in secret.  That application for an easement (such as a right-of-way) would be made under the Prescription Act.

It’s also worth noting that if someone has an easement already over a piece of land, and they fence it off and exclude others, and do so in excess of the requisite period, they cannot claim adverse possession because their possession cannot be adverse if the access was originally by consent as a result of an existing easement.

The time periods are not just in respect of the current owner but the periods of the current owner and all the previous owners are added together.

So it depends how long the next door neighbour has used this piece of land and whether he has just used it or used it exclusively.  If it’s more than 10 years exclusively, then he can claim the land as his own or if it’s more than 20 years that he has used it when he can claim an easement by prescription.

All of that is on the strict understanding that he was never given consent to do this in the first place and he just did it.

It is often the case  that a robustly worded letter from a/your solicitor threatening a court application and an application for costs, may resolve the issue without the need to go as far as court.

On your house insurance you may have legal expenses cover that would pay for the legal cost so it’s worthwhile checking.  Some do and some don't.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
The previous owner had a dispute from when they bought the property and that was in 2001, but the correct plan is displayed on the survey plan.
Customer: replied 14 days ago.

I would like to cancel my subscription to "justanswer". I have decided to utilise a local solicitor. Please cancel the subscription forthwith. Thank you, John ********

I will refer that to customer services for you.

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