Neighbour Claiming I am blocking access

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    Neighbour Claiming I am blocking access

    Good afternoon

    There is some unadopted land behind my house, in which most of my neighbours have extended their garden into by 6 or 7 foot.

    There is however, one neighbour that is not happy about it, as 'he has enjoyed access with vehicles through this land for over 40 years'. He is trying to take people to court etc but we both know that he has no leg to stand one, as he does not own the land and only the land owner can dispute this.

    So I have put a new fence up and claimed adverse possession of around 6 foot of it. I have since received a letter from his solicitor claiming I have blocked his access and he is objecting it.

    If you can see my attached photos you will see that it is nonsense and he has plenty of room to fit vehicles past. (my fence is the tan coloured one).
    IMG_0800.jpg
    IMG_0801.jpg

    My question is, can he do anything about this if he claims I am blocking his access? Take me to court etc? I am not happy that his solicitor has contacted me.

    On another note, the woman I bought the house from had passed away, and I bought the house from the son, who inherited it. Could the son sign a statement of truth saying his mother looked after the land for well over 12 years so I can get the land registered? Or do I have to start the clock again?

    Thank you

    #2
    To be clear, Am I right in saying there is no way he can claim interference with his easement over the land? As you can see in the image, the fence has not affected the width of the entrance.

    Comment


      #3
      I do not think it is the case that the neighbour has no leg to stand on, though he may have only one rather than two. A few questions:

      Do you or any of your neighbours who have extended their gardens have a right of way over the land in question?

      Is the neighbour claiming a right of way by long user or express grant?

      Was the land encroached upon ever actually used as an access by anyone?

      Have any of the neighbours successfully persuaded the Land Registry to register the land they have incorporated into their gardens?

      Comment


        #4
        I am not sure about the other neighbours, however I have Implied, which I asked for when I moved in, so they might have too.

        Im pretty sure he's claiming by long user, as his solicitor said 'he has enjoyed access with vehicles and trailers for over 40 years'. As you can see in the images though, his access is not any more narrower/ restricted than before.

        The land has never been used an access by anyone except him.

        I have checked the land registry area plan of our houses and theirs is marked on there, so I would guess they have been successful yes.

        Comment


          #5
          Bit of a tricky one all round.

          If you have a right of way over land you can never be in adverse possession of it because your presence on the land is explained and not adverse to the owner. If you have no title to land you have no right to exclude others from it. You cannot object to the removal of any obstruction on the land as you have no right to keep things on it. If the thing is not fixed it can be moved. If it is fixed it ceases to belong to you and belongs to the "true" owner, so once again you cannot object to its being moved, only the true owner can.

          It can also be difficult to be in adverse possession of land if a right of way is enjoyed over it as doubt is raised as to whether the possession can be exclusive.

          On the whole, the Land Registry is reluctant to grant possessory title to land which once formed part of an access even if no rights over it have been granted or claimed.

          If you do not have a right of way over the land in dispute and are in adverse possession, that does not extinguish any right your neighbour has, whether acquired by long user or otherwise.

          Assuming the neighbour establishes he has a right of way over the access the first question is what is the extent in width over which the right is exercisable. If the right was not expressly granted there is obviously no description in a deed or plan to refer to which may help. The maximum possible width is going to be the line of fences when the neighbour completed 20 years of use. Against that there may be an argument that it is restricted to the width necessary to allow passage in vehicles of the type the neighbour has customarily driven over the access. The photos seem to show that, at least recently, vehicles have kept to the middle of the access.

          If it is concluded that the neighbour's right extends to the land you have enclosed, we an ask the question you have posed: Is the neighbour entitled to the full width if he can pass over the access as freely as he always done? The authorities on reducing the width of land over which rights of way are exercisable are not entirely consistent. Some take a "it's no skin off your nose" attitude. Others take the view that, slight encroachments ignored, the width should be respected. What amounts to a slight encroachment has to depend on the circumstances. If the full width is critical and full use has been made of it, any encroachment is too much.

          As you can see there are a number of variables here and only someone with the full facts, sight of the parties' respective titles and a site visit can begin to express an informed opinion, and even then I doubt any firm conclusion can be reached.

          Comment

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