Title plan showing more land than though but neighbours have sole access.

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    Title plan showing more land than though but neighbours have sole access.

    I'm in the process of buying another house but a problem has popped up. I noticed on the title plan that there appears to be land at the rear of the property but when I went to view the house, the only accessible land was out through the kitchen door and it lead to a small "L" shaped area on the concrete hard stand consisting of about 4 to 5 meters square that was all fenced off. Access further beyond this area was not possible via a gate, door or any other means of access/exit. The fence appears to have stood for some time and the borders of the land outlined in red beyond this fenced off hard stand appears to be accessible by the people occupying the house next door. They appear to have had access to this land for longer than 12 years however the title plan showed there was a clear boundary fence between my potential new house and next doors when the plan was made which appears to have since been removed. The land they have had access to is almost the entire garden of the house I'm buying other than the small few square meters I stated.


    The garden is unimportant to me personally as it's very small anyway and the house will be let but it does raise concerns of a possible challenge from a tenant wanting to gain access to the land should they become aware of the title plan. The fenced off area in the hard stand is very small and looks like it is not the "actual" boundary to someone savvy enough to notice that all houses on the street have a garden and the unusual position of the house I want to buy being the sole house not having any substantial outside area.

    Would I be entitled to put a fence up bordering the red outline? Is it best to just ignore it? Might it be a good idea to try and discuss the possibility of just giving them the land?

    I don;t really know If I'm seeing to much into this personally.

    Thanks.

    #2
    perhaps the seller agreed to sell off the land but the transfer was never registered against the transferors title.

    Comment


      #3
      It would be worth spending £3 to buy a copy of the next door property's title plan to see whether this area of land is excluded on that plan. The Land Registry web-site allows that to happen as long as payment is made using a credit or debit card.

      Once it is confirmed that this area of land was not included in the other property's title then you can make a decision as to how to deal with that land when you become owner of the property that included that land in its title plan.

      Comment


        #4
        I think the fact the boundary fence between the two houses was removed at some point about 2 decades ago suggest that the original owner of the house I want to buy voluntarily gave them use of the land. To just take the entire garden out the blue one day requires balls of wrought iron so large they'll need their own blacksmiths and I can't envision it was genuine "adverse" possession. Personally it seems very voluntary.

        I was actually thinking about buying the title plan and the info on the legal owners. Another option I have been thinking about is a ruthless one and involves funding out who the legal owners are (they appear to be very old now) and just waiting for them die and popping up a fence afterwards.

        The title deeds are however very clear that almost the entire garden has been taken by them and I'll be buying the area they think is theirs fair and square. I will have to bring this up with them sooner or later assuming I don;t opt for the plan above because the problems it will cause when they want to sell their house is obvious.

        Edit: Just downloaded their title plan and nothing is overlapping so my title plan is correct.

        Comment


          #5
          The first thing is to check that you have correctly interpreted the plan. If you are not used to plans it is quite easy to misinterpret them. A possible explanation here is that the house has been extended into the back garden and that the extension is not shown on the Land Registry plan.

          If you are satisfied that the red edging includes land beyond the existing fence then you should ask the seller for an explanation.

          Assuming it is established that the red edging includes land beyond the existing fence and that the area involved is not insignificant, then there is not really anything for you to worry about if you do not want the land. If the neighbour claims it by making an application to the Land Registry to be registered as owner by adverse possession you can simply say you do not object and it will not cost you anything.

          You can rule out any tenant problem by attaching a plan to the tenancy agreement which shows only the land currently accessible.

          There are two rules of thumb I like to quote in boundary dispute cases which more or less say the same thing:

          When you buy land what you see is what you get.

          Established residential boundary features are almost always in the right place.

          Bearing those two rules in mind it is unwise to move an established boundary feature without the neighbour's agreement.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
            The first thing is to check that you have correctly interpreted the plan. If you are not used to plans it is quite easy to misinterpret them. A possible explanation here is that the house has been extended into the back garden and that the extension is not shown on the Land Registry plan.

            If you are satisfied that the red edging includes land beyond the existing fence then you should ask the seller for an explanation.

            Assuming it is established that the red edging includes land beyond the existing fence and that the area involved is not insignificant, then there is not really anything for you to worry about if you do not want the land. If the neighbour claims it by making an application to the Land Registry to be registered as owner by adverse possession you can simply say you do not object and it will not cost you anything.

            You can rule out any tenant problem by attaching a plan to the tenancy agreement which shows only the land currently accessible.

            There are two rules of thumb I like to quote in boundary dispute cases which more or less say the same thing:

            When you buy land what you see is what you get.

            Established residential boundary features are almost always in the right place.

            Bearing those two rules in mind it is unwise to move an established boundary feature without the neighbour's agreement.
            I actually had a scare with another house by not reading the plans properly (my post is still up) so I paid particular attention to this plan. Luckily because it's a terrace row the plans are not that difficult to read and the plans are crisp and easy to see and with a distinctive building next to the house in question, it leaves little room for error.

            The land that has been taken is a very significant chunk. It's still a small garden but it's the equivalent of roughly 80%+ of the garden being used by next door over a very long period of time. It's certainly extremely easy to make out roughly where the boundaries are and about 14 meters of length with 3 meters of width is being used by next door (this is compared to the 5 meters square area that is fenced on the hard stand) so a very big difference from the assumed boundary and the actual one on the plan.

            I have read the paperwork the seller completed and he said there was no known boundary movements or disputes but from the age of the railing on the hard stand it appears that the land was used even before he owned the house back in 2006.

            I would have thought though that everything in the red lines is mine, no exceptions, upon completion of the sale?. I can understand the problems over the exact locations of any fences but only if they might be straying over boundaries by a foot. I would have thought that fencing off an area of the magnitude stated would not really be up for much dispute as the plan appears to be obvious.

            Comment


              #7
              I think you need to see next door's plans, they might have bought it. I bought part of a field with my house, the seller retained the rest of the field and put the fence up. My deeds show it correctly. His show the fence well inside his boundary. Fortunately the acreages (2&12 respectively) are correct. I think cases like this are why LR don't want to get involved so generally take the existing fence to be correct, it's easy to draw a line in the wrong place. But if the extra area isn't important to you you have nothing to lose.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by royw View Post
                I think you need to see next door's plans, they might have bought it. I bought part of a field with my house, the seller retained the rest of the field and put the fence up. My deeds show it correctly. His show the fence well inside his boundary. Fortunately the acreages (2&12 respectively) are correct. I think cases like this are why LR don't want to get involved so generally take the existing fence to be correct, it's easy to draw a line in the wrong place. But if the extra area isn't important to you you have nothing to lose.
                Iv'e checked next doors plan and there is no overlap of boundaries. Virtually the entire garden on my plan has been "annexed" by their garden. Like I said as a landlord I don't really care to much for gardens anyway as tenants never seem to look after them but what worries me is the lack of legal clarification on the boundaries should I or next door decide to sell. Perhaps it would be perfectly reasonable to allow next door to carry on using the land as they are but come up with a contract that the boundaries which appear to have become muddied over the years are put in their correct positions upon their house going on the market or alternatively just ask them to make a claim for adverse position so long as they leave enough room for a rotary washing line on my land (I seriously can't fit one one the space I have).

                Either way I'm more interested in the boundaries on the LR being correct one way or another rather than the land itself.

                It might make an interesting few months.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Nines View Post
                  Iv'e checked next doors plan and there is no overlap of boundaries. Virtually the entire garden on my plan has been "annexed" by their garden.
                  And what do the next door neighbours say about it?

                  Have you talked to them yet?
                  Their response may determine your next moves.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by nukecad View Post
                    And what do the next door neighbours say about it?

                    Have you talked to them yet?
                    Their response may determine your next moves.
                    At the moment I haven't spoken to them yet but might see what my solicitor says tomorrow. As the stereotype goes, old people have a fixation on gardens so the topic could well be a very touchy one with them. I think is very reasonable though to allow them to carry on using it until they sell the house (or die). What I can't allow is any second guessing over where the boundaries are when it comes to selling their house as trying to sell land that belongs to someone else could obviously throw a huge spanner in the works on their end should a buyer find out.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The basic starting advice in a situation like this is: Do not buy into a problem. However, in a sense, whether there is a problem depends on you. If you are clear that you do not mind that a significant piece of land included in the title is occupied by the neighbour and are not concerned if the neighbour acquires title to it, then you have no problem. Presumably you would only pay a price which you consider reflects what you are getting - a house with a reduced garden. You would consider it a bonus if the neighbour gives up the land. However, you are not quite coming across that that is what you would be happy with.

                      Considering the question before knowing the full history is rather putting the cart before the horse. Your solicitor needs to establish the position and then you will have a basis on which to make a decision.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                        The basic starting advice in a situation like this is: Do not buy into a problem. However, in a sense, whether there is a problem depends on you. If you are clear that you do not mind that a significant piece of land included in the title is occupied by the neighbour and are not concerned if the neighbour acquires title to it, then you have no problem. Presumably you would only pay a price which you consider reflects what you are getting - a house with a reduced garden. You would consider it a bonus if the neighbour gives up the land. However, you are not quite coming across that that is what you would be happy with.

                        Considering the question before knowing the full history is rather putting the cart before the horse. Your solicitor needs to establish the position and then you will have a basis on which to make a decision.
                        Iv'e already assumed the land wasn't included before I made the offer so I priced accordingly. Tenants never seem to look after the garden anyway so the lack of one just means less hassle overall but what I currently have on that hardstand is just a little TOO small to hang a washing line on. I'm sort of undecided on giving them all of what they currently "have" but I wouldn't think twice about giving them the garden so long as they leave enough space to put said washing line. I think that would be a perfectly reasonable ask but any drawn out legal battle, regardless of how small a leg they have to stand on, is one I would rather do without.

                        That being said I need to figure out what type of people they are first. If they're territorial in any way shape of form I'll just have to ignore them until they pop their clogs.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You really need to clarify this before purchase as when you need to sell it will be very difficult as a mortgage company will be unlikely to grant a mortgage with an outstanding boundary issue.

                          Comment

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