Neighbour fencing off lane

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    Neighbour fencing off lane

    Hi All

    I'm new here, hoping for some advice.

    An "unregistered" laneway runs along the bottom of my property, providing vehicular and/or foot access to about 9 houses. We don't open onto it, but drive into it to turn our car for easier access to our angled driveway. (which we have had for about 16 years). Checking Land Registry, it is not inside the boundary of any users property, but I am aware of one user who says her deeds give her rights of vehicular access but not ownership.

    A neighbour the other side of the laneway from me has recently resurfaced the laneway with tamped-down hardcore. He drives down it to access a garage, and built the garage last year. I suspect he is running an unofficial car tuning business from it. He has now put up a fence-post against our property wall and a hook on his side. When I asked what this was for, he said he is going to put a chain across to stop people using the lane for turning cars, but anyone who lives up the lane can take the chain down to access then put it back up. He said that as he has resurfaced the lane, he is entitled to do this and as I don't have any opening into the lane it's nothing to do with me. He said that if I want to have a say in it, I can pay him for the resurfacing.

    Where he has erected the post is right next to my pier, and by coincidence I had been talking with a builder the previous week about taking the pier down to enlarge the opening - I can't do this now as the post will be an obstruction.

    I suppose what I want to know is
    1. Can he chain off the lane (other lane users are unhappy about it)
    2. Can he just put this post up? (I'm not sure if it is on my property but it is certainly impeding removal of a pier/enlarging the opening)
    3. Have I got the right to take any action?
    4. If I just go out with an angle-grinder and take the post down can he take any action?

    Thanks, all advice welcome!

    Did you made an application to Land Registry for a Search of the Index map to establish that the lane remains unregistered?

    Can you verify from that person's register of title whether there is a right of way granted over the back road for his property?

    Someone who takes possession of land has a better title to everyone other than the legal owner, so can start an action for trespass against anyone else who enters the land.

    A right of way is not a right of ownership of the soil of the road and someone able to pass and re-pass over a road cannot claim to be in adverse possession of that road, so is not able to make a claim of trespass against anyone entering on the road.

    If you were to remove your pier and remove this post the only person who can sue you for trespass is the legal owner of the road and after 4 more years you will be able to claim a prescriptive right to use the land as a turning area, because that would be an easement recognised under English law.

    On the practical side what is likely to happen when this man knows you have removed his post?


      Thanks for that. He moved in about 18 months ago, I’ve been using it as a turning circle since 2006 with no problem. Does that give me any rights? Land registry says that it’s unregistered land.

      On a practical side, he’ll probably whinge and moan if I take it out - he might call police claiming I’ve damaged his property.


        Erecting something on someone else's property when you cannot claim to have a better title than the legal owner, means that only the legal owner of the land can sue for trespass, because what has been placed on the land belongs to the land, not the person who erected it on the land.

        It is not a criminal matter that the police can be called for. It is a civil matter.


          Thank you. I think my next action will be to send a letter saying I’m removing it. Then remove it and put it back on his property.


            Originally posted by Flaming Jo View Post
            Thank you. I think my next action will be to send a letter saying I’m removing it. Then remove it and put it back on his property.
            No, get a solicitor to write to him saying that what he has done is causing an obstruction which his client finds unacceptable and you require its removal immediately. My solicitor years ago wrote to a property owner who was causing an obstruction of my access, saying that if they did not stop doing it an application would be made to the court for a restraining order. Although before he sent that we consulted a Barrister.
            This is serious stuff,


              I have a very similar problem at the bottom of my track. I’ve been here 16 years and a new neighbour at he then bottom of the track who’s boundary runs along the bottom
              right hand side moved in two years ago. He decided to build a boundary wall all around his front garden which is fine. It runs don the left side of the bottom of the track. The bottom chunk of the track Is unregistered but I have a right to use it to get to you my house and I own the rest of the track. That’s all written into my deeds. A farmer has legal access onto my track to get into his field. This neighbour feels he can do what he wants to the bottom of the track because it’s not owned by anyone. He is claiming a bit of a grass verge the other side of his wall which is between his wall and the bottom of the track. He has been putting a large rock there( to protect his his wall) and just recently it’s been making it hard for me and the farmer to turn in. I’ve caught my wheel on the rock a couple of times. Just recently, he put a post about 4 ft away from his wall onto the track which I had to take down because it’s already a dangerous access with poor splays. He thinks because I don’t own it. He can encroach onto it. What do I do? He has notified me he’s going to put something more permanent there and cement a huge bolder the other side of his wall. Help!!!!


                A right of way over unregistered land is an easement known as a Legal Interest over Land, which you own, together with the Legal Estate of the plot of land that is in your registered title.
                Those are the two property rights recognised by Section 1 Law of Property Act 1925.
                1 Legal estates and equitable interests.

                (1)The only estates in land which are capable of subsisting or of being conveyed or created at law are—

                (a)An estate in fee simple absolute in possession;

                (b)A term of years absolute.

                (2)The only interests or charges in or over land which are capable of subsisting or of being conveyed or created at law are—

                (a)An easement, right, or privilege in or over land for an interest equivalent to an estate in fee simple absolute in possession or a term of years absolute;
                Section 19(a) refers to freehold land and section 1(b) refers to leasehold land.
                Section 2(a) identifies an easement, whether it is attached to the legal estate of a freehold title or a leasehold title.

                Now that someone has obstructed your right of way, that is a trespass against your legal interest over the land in question. i.e. The bottom part of the lane.

                As such you have the legal right to remove the obstruction, known as self-help, or you will need to start court proceedings seeking an injunction to prevent this neighbouring land-owner from obstructing your legal interest.

                You will need to have deeds that accurately define the extent of the right of way on a plan, or in the clear wording used in the deed that granted such rights.

                The neighbouring land owner may also be trespassing over the Legal estate vested in the unregistered owner of the freehold or leasehold title to that part of the road.
                That owner could also sue for trespass, but that is most unlikely, since no one seems interested in claiming ownership of this road subject to rights of way.

                The other point of law that the neighbouring land-owner may make is that he owns up to the half way point of the unregistered road under the legal presumption known as Ad Medium Filum.
                The ‘ad medium filum’ rule is a rebuttable boundary presumption that an owner of land which abuts either a public or private highway or a non-tidal river or stream also owns the soil of the highway, or the bed of the river or stream, up to the mid or centre point.
                Even if the owner of the road was known, that owner would still be liable for the obstruction of a granted right of way, so if the neighbour brings that argument forward he is still trespassing over your legal interest.


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