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To think the law is mad

(11 Posts)
Mitmoo Mon 01-Aug-11 11:18:21

Reading a lot of posts here many of us are having problems with our neighbours. I just wanted to let people know that if you let your neighbours cross your property in their cars to get access to anything for 20 years, they can then have rights to use your land forever and to sell on the rights to use of your land to the next owners and the next.

I nearly got caught out on this one until I could prove my lying neighbours wrong.

Just a heads up.

spiderpig8 Mon 01-Aug-11 13:28:44

Yes i know about this.In fact we now have a right of way to shortcut across the field at the back because of this :-)

TheFlyingOnion Mon 01-Aug-11 13:30:49

oh calm down OP, and read a basic legal textbook.....

CustardCake Mon 01-Aug-11 13:36:36

You can take land away in the same way as well if you wish (by openly laying claim to it and using it / living on it continuously)
If you claim a piece of land (normally a strip at the side of your house) and nobody objects for a certain length of time (12 years I seem to remember) then it becomes legally yours. That's why, when you buy a house, you have to be careful that the boundries on the deeds match the boundries of the gardens - if not it could be that a neighbour "claimed" a portion of it years ago and you might not get it back. Its called adverse possession I think. Its used for garden stealing / widening and for squatters too.

Catslikehats Mon 01-Aug-11 13:36:56

If you have happily let someone do something for twenty years it's probably fair to say it's not something that troubles you too much no?

TandB Mon 01-Aug-11 13:41:57

It's called prescription and it is relevant for right of access. As far as I know, it doesn't allow someone to just drive across your property because it is easier than going in their own drive.

spiderpig8 Mon 01-Aug-11 13:45:39

Custrd It's only 10 yrs dor land that's already regidstered to someone

mrslevy Mon 01-Aug-11 14:41:06

Right of way and squatters' rights stories are the homeowners' equivalent of the escaped lunatic with a hook for a hand. Consequently the Mail and the Express love them.

Someone doesn't gain rights over your land just by setting foot on it. If they did there'd be a lot of rich postmen out there.

With adverse possession (squatters' rights), you can get it after 12 years but only if you knew the land did not belong to you and physically barred the legal owner and anyone else from it.

So you could put up a fence and if the legal owner didn't notice or do anything about it, like write you a letter asking what the hell you were doing, you could claim it. But you wouldn't get full title for some more years and would have to declare that to any prospective buyer in the meantime.

In that case I guess a solicitor or lender might advise the buyer to pull out of a sale or demand a large discount.

Not legally qualified but had a boundary dispute with a deluded neighbour who presumably had a well-thumbed copy of The Perry Mason Book For Boys.

Mitmoo Mon 01-Aug-11 14:48:14

queen when it happened to me it was after I had moved in and I had neighbours who wanted to tell me how I could use my garden even that I would need their permisson to put up a gate!! In the end I had to put the fences up to keep them out, then they claimed prescriptive rights would mean I'd have to let them carry on using it.

They couldn't prove the 20 years though and I could disprove it.

mrslevy Mon 01-Aug-11 14:54:22

So your neighbours didn't get their own way, mitmoo?

People do make things up as they go along about property - established use, rights of way, fairies at the bottom of the garden etc. They do have to actually prove it though.

Mitmoo Mon 01-Aug-11 15:02:07

It was a good few years ago now but no they were lying through their teeth, I just thought it was worth flagging as there are many neighbour disputes thread and this could prevent another one.

They had made two previous claims to my land. On the Prescriptive Rights one they had a solicitor and I had to defend myself but it never went to court.

I prepared my own report and gave it to their solicitor, it was conclusive so they dropped it.

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