Neighbour has blocked rear access path

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  • Neighbour has blocked rear access path

    Hi guys I hope this is the right section for this query.I live in a block of four houses and the neighbour at the end of the block has just put up a gate blocking the rear pathway so nobody else has rear access to their properties any more.I haven't checked the deeds so I don't know if the path is owned communally but I do know it was for communal use and has been used communally for several decades.What are our options?Can we physically dismantle the obstruction or would this be classed as 'criminal damage' and is the only option to take out an injunction restraining my neighbour from doing this?If possible I would like to avoid any expensive legal dispute.Also is this likely to be covered by my household insurance (I have paid the extra for legal cover).Thanks in advance for any replies.

  • #2
    So check the title deeds (and/or your property's registered title). Verify if the pathway is:
    a. part of your property;
    b. (if 'yes' to point a) subject to easements for other property; or
    c. (if 'no' to point a) owned by another property but subject to easements in favour of your property.

    As you very sensibly have Legal Expenses Insurance [other members please note!], simply contact your insurer to sort it out; do nothing else yourself.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks very much for your reply but I am minded to simply take the gate down myself by unscrewing it at the hinges.Is this legal if no damage is done to the gate?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Brandon View Post
        I am minded to simply take the gate down myself by unscrewing it at the hinges.Is this legal if no damage is done to the gate?
        Whatever you do, do not touch the gate. The law takes a dim view of people taking the law into their own hands.
        A gate is an obstruction which has interfered with your legal right of way.
        In my opinion you should find a solicitor who goes to court (some dont) and a letter sent to the owner of the gate advising that unless the gate is removed within a given period you will apply to the court for it to be removed.
        I had a Right of Way problem with a Gate. I bought a book from a Legal Bookshop "Gales" Rights of Way" which confirmed I was in the right.
        Unfortunately this is going to cost you money. I would like to think that this would be covered by your legal insurance and what I would do when you approach them is have the terminology correct for the initial telephone conversation by stating the breach of common law where you are suffering the injustice.
        I also seem to remember that if you have a right of way obstructed for perhaps 12 months, and you do nothing, after the 12 months you have accepted it and you lose the right to object.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks very much for your advice but I can see a potential problem with this.Firstly the neighbours will open the gate when it suits them and insist it's not obstructing access (they have aready done this when the police were called).In addition to the gate they have placed ladders,bins and rubbish on what they have 'claimed' as 'their' side of the path.Can I get them to remove these items by law as well?The rubbish is a health risk as it will encourage rats and I don't like the idea of the neighbours providing ladders for potential burglars.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Brandon View Post
            Thanks very much for your advice but I can see a potential problem with this.Firstly the neighbours will open the gate when it suits them and insist it's not obstructing access (they have aready done this when the police were called).In addition to the gate they have placed ladders,bins and rubbish on what they have 'claimed' as 'their' side of the path.Can I get them to remove these items by law as well?The rubbish is a health risk as it will encourage rats and I don't like the idea of the neighbours providing ladders for potential burglars.
            Whatever action you take without legal 'approval' as it were, is probably going to exacerbate the dispute and achieve nothing positive.

            Just do as advised and keep it all polite, legal and above board. Your legal expenses insurance should cover it.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


            • #7
              I also seem to remember that if you have a right of way obstructed for perhaps 12 months, and you do nothing, after the 12 months you have accepted it and you lose the right to object.
              No ,the right of way will still remain.

              You are also allowed to do the minimum required to remove the obstruction but should not do so if it is likely to cause a breech of the peace and should only take such direct action if you can prove you have a right of way through the gate.

              If you remove the gate you also risk arrest for criminal damage as the police will not be clued up on your rights in regards to the ROW .

              Therefore the advice not to touch is probably the right way forward

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                Whatever action you take without legal 'approval' as it were, is probably going to exacerbate the dispute and achieve nothing positive.

                Just do as advised and keep it all polite, legal and above board. Your legal expenses insurance should cover it.
                OK I am leaning towards this but how long is this likely to take?


                BTW Thanks everbody for all your helpful responses.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                  Whatever action you take without legal 'approval' as it were, is probably going to exacerbate the dispute and achieve nothing positive.

                  Just do as advised and keep it all polite, legal and above board. Your legal expenses insurance should cover it.

                  Thanks for those wise words.Just some feedback.The neighbours have removed the bolt from the gate and it looks like it is not going to be worth pursuing them to get the gate removed completely.I have been told they are not obstructing the ROW so they are probably entitled to leave it up and that if I instigate a dispute by sending them a solicitor's letter I will probably not get my costs back.I expect my insurers will not want to start such an action anyway.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Never 'expect' an insurer. Ask and find out.
                    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                    Comment

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