If road access is removed, does Tenancy end at once?

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    If road access is removed, does Tenancy end at once?

    Bit of a long story here. We own a house (currently rented to tenants) on a one-way street near the edge of a quarry. The road has six houses on it and there is only one access point, down a lane than follows the quarry edge for about 250m. The houses are about 20m from the edge of the quarry.

    Last winter there was a small land slip at the start of the lane - the first in years. The council have now deemed this part of the road unsafe and intend to close the road to all traffic from 22nd November, effectively making the houses landlocked.

    Here it is on google maps

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=tank...e=UTF-8&tab=nl
    - if you go into steet view, the quarry, with a 80m drop, is behind the fence on the left. if you follow the lane up, you will come to the junction where the road is intended to be blocked off.

    There is wasteland to the rear of the properties that a new access road could be built - but the council have turned their backs on this suggestion, basically telling us all to park our cars on 'safer' ground - before the start of the lane on a virtually desolate street and out of sight. Not ideal at all. I'm not sure at this point if the closure will be a permanent fixture, ie not even gated for emergency vehicles.

    Our tenants, understandably, have expressed concern about this any may decide to move out, which will leave us in limbo. God knows how they would actually move anyway if the road is closed.

    Naturally, we are going to challenge the council ruling, and speak to the other homeowners. We will need to see the report on the safety of the quarry and go from there. We don't know yet if it is just a knee-jerk reaction by the council or if there is genuine concern about the stability of the quarry.

    Worst case scenario, our house may become worthless if indeed there is a major problem with the quarry edge.

    My main question at this point is, are the council allowed to close a road without providing alternative access elsewhere first? And if the closure is not even 'gated', what happens in case of an emergency?

    I have read that the courts determine a house to be 'unlivable' if permananetly landlocked. Any advice here greatly appreciated, thanks.

    #2
    Ignore the tenancy issue. As the problem would exist even for owner-occupation, this is really more of a conveyancing or planning issue.
    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
      I do not know the answer to your question about the council, but I should think the parking issue is not the critical one for your tenants at this stage. Living in a house 20m from a quarry edge with lumps shearing off it in an unpredictable fashion would appeal to very few people and I would not be surprised if your Ts decide to move out.

      Are you insured in case the whole property falls over the edge?
      '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


        #4
        was a "stopping up" notice served on you by the Local Authority; or are they proceeding under some other mechanism? The Highways Department of Local Authorities are normally more approachable than other depts, although in the present climate all expenditure has to be massively trimmed. I suggest you ring up and get yourself an appointment to go in and see Highways. I would be surprised if the Local Authority will leave you entirely in the lurch. I would also go to surgery and see the local MP. Perhaps there is a legal remedy that could be enforced or cajoled upon the quarrying company. There's a lot of money in aggregates. With a suitable approach carefully worded the miners might decide that they would rather buy out the six house owners than face adverse publicity, especially as planning consents for mineral extraction are jolly difficult to obtain nowadays and most quarrying companies are mining away on very old consents granted literally decades ago that would probably not be granted today. Incidentally, quarries are the ideal place to infill with waste, and eventually "remediate" ie grass over. The quarry would need all sort of licences to fill up the hole with rubbish (and earn a fortune in so doing) which is one reason why I suspect, ultimately, they might be your best port of call. Is the quarry owned by a solvent company, if so, hopefully a big one with reasonably deep pockets!

        Comment


          #5
          Just to reply to the two points above

          - The houses are not in danger, never have been

          - the quarry, which used to be empty, is now a housing estate - no chance of permission to excavate further!

          Comment


            #6
            My first though was, who owns the lane?
            Do the houses have a private right of way over the lane or is it an adopted public highway.
            If adopted the legal procedure to close the highway ought to allow the residents to object if the houses will be land-locked. That phrase assumes that pedestrian access will be stopped as well as vehicular access, so the potential route to the back of the houses will need to be considered.
            Who owns that land and whether there is a right of way granted over it will be relevant.

            If the lane is private land and the houses have a right of way over that land, then the council may not be able to close the road, even on safety grounds, if this stops a legally granted right of way.

            Knowing that the lane is a public highway or a private right of way will be essential before deciding on a strategy for the future.

            Comment


              #7
              The lane is owned by the council. The cliff edge and quarry below is leased by Bellway Homes. We have been told today that Bellway homes are responsible for the safety of the cliff face and will be closed until they make it safe or propose other action. Bellway comissioned a report on the safety of the cliff face last year and found it to be fine. Then the landslip happened after the cold winter. If the road is closed, will Bellway be liable to compensate us? They have had all year to make the cliff safe. How is another problem.

              An aerial view is here - http://www.zoopla.co.uk/property/4/q...9-1ta/19934693

              If you scroll up you will see possible new access points. If you scroll left where the next junction is, that's where the council want to close the lane. There is also a school that will be affected.

              More details on landslip here http://www.thurrockgazette.co.uk/new...e_in_Purfleet/

              Comment


                #8
                If road access is removed, does Tenancy end at once?

                Hi
                I'm in a bit of a dilemma at the moment and am looking for some advice as to what the legal rights are regarding my tenancy.

                I live on a single lane above a cliff. The cliff has become unstable and thus the council have given us till the 22nd November to notify us that the road to our property will be closed off. There is no alternative provisions being made for us to be able to access our property by car. Unfortunately this is not an ideal situation and the council have basically said well you have to make alternative arrangments. I have appealed to the council to prolong this to enable us to make alternative arrangements to move. We only have two weeks and are pulling our hair out as to how we will be able to move once this road closure is in place. As we will be unable to move our furniture. What are my legal rights regarding my tenancy ? Can i end this early due to this closure. We don't want to move but have been put in a situation where living above a cliff which is not safe and not being able to access our home has left us no alternative but to find alternative accomodation.

                Our landlord is aware of the situation and is in contact with the council. We have been told it could take 18 months for this road to be closed. Can someone advise what the best route would be ?

                Comment


                  #9
                  If the Council by Order make your property uninhabitable, it sounds like the tenancy will be 'frustrated'- i.e. ended by operation of law.
                  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


                    #10
                    Tenant wants our of contract due to road closure

                    Our tenant, 18 months left to run on the contract, wants out because the council are closing the road to all traffic (it's a long story) from 22nd November. The house is on a one-way street and nearest parking is a 3-minute walk away. T was aware of potential future problems on the road when agreeing to a 2-year contract. They said they have already found another place, need to move before the 22nd, and want their full deposit back.

                    Where do we stand on this?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Your tenant should be invited to come to an arrangement essentially whereby the house is re-marketed with them being responsible for the rent and covenants of the tenancy until such time as new tenants are found whereupon you will accept a surrender. Do not give them their deposit back. They took a term which remains 18 months unexpired and absent any agreement in writing signed by you both they do not have the ability to just Bu@@+r off. Be firm!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by quarterday View Post
                        ...the house is re-marketed with them being responsible for the rent and covenants of the tenancy until such time as new tenants are found whereupon you will accept a surrender. Do not give them their deposit back.
                        If T and LL agree to what you're proposing I don't why T shouldn't get his deposit back...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I would like to clarify this situation. Firstly we had no intention of moving. When we took on the tenancy we were aware of a possible width restriction being put in on the road not of any road closure. Parking is not a three minute walk away.Due to the unsafe cliff face the council are putting in a width restriction at the bottom of the proposed closed road that will deter anyone from parking there. There is no other access to the house. The only alternative is to park on a crime ridden Council Estate whereas our cars are at risk of being vandalised. The road to the house is not adequately lit the road is unsafe on the cliff wall and due to this it will be unsafe to walk on in the winter due to ice etc.As there will be no access to the road the road will not be gritted. We will not even as much as be able to get any sort of deliveries carry shopping etc. I have a young child and this is not ideal. I personally have contacted the newspapers the local councillor and have tried to appeal to the council to prolong this to enable everyone concerned to be able to make alternative arrangements. As we are tenants i have done what i can to try stop this from happening. My sympathies are with the owners of the property on this cliff. We have no intention of "buggering off". What are we supposed to do come the 22nd November we wont even be able to move our stuff off the property. We are not being difficult in the current situation. We have not taken any alternative accommodation but have obviously had to keep our options open and have contacted the landlord at all times off our proposed intentions. We never had any intention of breaking any lease at such short notice. The situation is not ideal but what are we supposed to do ?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Update on this and both myself and tenant are on here - glad it's very amicable! We are working out solutions to this, really at the moment trying to push through some alternative parking arrangements that would help enormously - just don't want it to be 18 months before anything is done for anybody living there. Financial help from those responsible for the cliff will most likely be a necessity, for which I am waiting answers. I would say parking is available 3 minutes away, if not less, though the area in question may also be out of bounds soon. It's the best option of a pitiful few. It's a bit of a mess, hopefully resolved soon.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Three threads on the same topic about the same property (started by the landlord and by the tenant) have been merged here.

                              Comment

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