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Twittlebee woodland saga continued

(137 Posts)
TwittleBee Fri 12-Apr-19 11:51:26

Here is a new thread as requested!
(link to old thread here)

To answer a few questions from last thread...

We haven't any photos, that I am aware, of the woodland over past 10 years. If we do they will most likely be unidentifiable as our woodland anyway. But Google Maps/Earth has been something we have already looked at and it is pretty clear I think that there hasnt been any clearing since recently, especially from the road side view.

We havent been confrontational and havent ripped down the fences because we really didnt want to get prosecuted and as stated previously, this man is pretty intimidating. I wouldnt be surprised if he had a few mates that could back him up; I think that is why our other neighbours arent wanting to get involved now (or perhaps they really are just happy with the money offered and cant be bothered to be involved?).

There is no planning permission for the woodland - but if there was wouldnt the CF need to present us with a Notice and complete a certificate anyway?

Title information is all updated and correct but hadnt thought about contacting Land Reg ourselves direct about this. Tbh we have been rather reliant on Dad's our solicitor.

We have instructed our solicitor to respond accordingly to the letter stating that this is our land still and contest their claim etc.

Really appreciating the support btw!

Ciasteczka Fri 12-Apr-19 11:53:46

I'm sure I don't need to say this but make sure you get plenty of screenshots of the Google maps with date stamping. They're updated more often than you'd think.

ATowelAndAPotato Fri 12-Apr-19 11:54:59

If you sign up for an account with the land registry, they email you if anyone tries to make any changes to your title - might be useful!

PCohle Fri 12-Apr-19 11:56:00

Thanks for the new thread OP!

I think leaving it to your lawyer rather than trying to draft a response yourself or running around tearing down fences is very sensible, for what it's worth.

RemodellingMyHouse Fri 12-Apr-19 12:01:12

Unfortunately I think you are going to need to get confrontational. People like this aren't going to go away nicely.

What exactly will they prosecute you with if you take the fences down? Provided you don't damage the fence material, and deposit it on their land, what offence will you have committed exactly?

JohnRokesmith Fri 12-Apr-19 12:08:39

You need to talk to the Land Registry, then. Broadly speaking, no changes can be made to the title without their authorisation, and they are not likely to allow an adverse possession which is fraudulent in nature. It may even be worth arranging a face-to-face meeting at your nearest office. Once you have correspondence on file against the title, it will be pretty impossible to assert adverse possession. (Also, dealing directly with the Land Registry will be considerably cheaper than doing everything through lawyers).

I would also remove some of the fencing, to allow easy access. It just makes life (and dubious legal claims) more difficult for the claimants.

PCohle Fri 12-Apr-19 12:08:51

Criminal damage. It can be criminal damage to paint a fence, let alone take one down.

I definitely think it's sensible to be aware of the risks of pursing that course of action.

JohnRokesmith Fri 12-Apr-19 12:13:43

If you sign up for an account with the land registry, they email you if anyone tries to make any changes to your title - might be useful!

Not quite. There is a free service called property alert, which you can use in relation to given titles. You can also register an email address as an additional address for service. I would recommend both.

JohnRokesmith Fri 12-Apr-19 12:22:45

Criminal damage. It can be criminal damage to paint a fence, let alone take one down.

There is sufficient basis to claim Lawful Excuse in this instance that, providing any removal is proportionate, there’s no real danger. The police would probably just laugh.

RemodellingMyHouse Fri 12-Apr-19 12:25:06

If your neighbours tree overhangs your land you are entitled to cut those branches that are over your land. Anything over the boundary is fair game, and does not constitute criminal damage. How is this different?

The neighbour has a right to their fence. But they do not have a right to deposit their fence on the OP's land. Taking down a fence doesn't have to damage it, and I don't see how it's different to a tree branch in this context.

Disfordarkchocolate Fri 12-Apr-19 12:27:35

Even if you don't have any pictures lots of phones track your location, someone in your family who has visited is bound to have turned on. Good luck.

DobbyTheHouseElk Fri 12-Apr-19 12:47:42

Checking in, I don’t want to lose this thread again.

I don’t like bullies, and I don’t like bullies who think they can win.

How far do you live from said woodland? Is it possible to get mates to visit more frequently or family members to show a presence.

RandomMess Fri 12-Apr-19 12:51:05

I hope your solicitor shuts theirs down ASAP thanks

GPatz Fri 12-Apr-19 13:00:00

Yes, if pursuing planning permission, the neighbor would have to serve notice on the landowner. If they are currently using the land as garden land, without the necessary planning permission or certificate of lawfulness, then you might want to refer to the Council's Enforcement Department.

PCohle Fri 12-Apr-19 13:02:25

There is sufficient basis to claim Lawful Excuse in this instance

The requirements to make out Lawful Excuse are considerable though - OP would need to demonstrate that her property was in immediate need of protection and that the means of protection was reasonable in all the circumstances.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/criminal-damage

It's certainly not clear cut and given how bullish the neighbours have been, it's a course of action I'd be very wary of. I don't imagine the OP wants to find herself having to pay to defend an criminal damage case unnecessarily.

If your neighbours tree overhangs your land you are entitled to cut those branches that are over your land. Anything over the boundary is fair game, and does not constitute criminal damage. How is this different?

You are allowed to trim overhanging tree branches because of a 1894 case called Lemon v Webb relating to the abetment of nuisance. It isn't of wider application to situations such as fencing, walls etc.

AskMeHow Fri 12-Apr-19 13:09:56

Even if you don't have any pictures lots of phones track your location, someone in your family who has visited is bound to have turned on. Good luck.

This is exactly what I was going to say. I bet you can prove that you've visited it.

MoaningMinniee Fri 12-Apr-19 13:10:09

So sorry to hear they're dragging this out - and the poor other neighbours - intimidated into backing away from this thief!

insecure123 Fri 12-Apr-19 13:19:27

I was just thinking baout you the other day! For some reason your previous thread fell off my "threads I'm on" list so hadn't realised you had been back!

CleopatrasMum Fri 12-Apr-19 13:59:13

Are you able to access your land with the fence still up though? If not, surely removing one fence panel would be justifiable in order for the OP to access and use HER land? The neighbours haven't got adverse possession yet so it is still the OP's land until then surely?

Hutchismo Fri 12-Apr-19 14:35:35

The fences are simply there to support and enhance the pending claim of adverse possession.

I would have thought the death of the previous registered owner during the claimed period would disqualify the claim anyhow.

(disqualifying factors from gov.uk)

"If the estate in land was held on trust at any time during the period of 10 years ending on the date of the application, unless the interest of each of the beneficiaries in the estate was an interest in possession (Schedule 6, paragraph 12 of the Land Registration Act 2002)
arguably this means that an application cannot be made where, at any point during this period, the registered proprietor at the time (i) was dead and their estate was being administered, (ii) was bankrupt and their property was being administered by the trustee in bankruptcy or (iii) (being a company) was being wound up. In each of these cases the registered estate is subject to a form of trust (Ayerst v C & K (Construction) Ltd [1976] A.C. 167)"

Either way, I see the purchase offer as a clear sign that they know the weakness of their AP case. They are just hoping you'll back down as it's 'only a bit of woodland'.

Hutchismo Fri 12-Apr-19 14:40:43

As an aside, I wouldn't physically remove the fence, but you need to have written to the CF formally telling him to remove his property from your land immediately.

That way it avoids any possibility of a civil matter being turned into a potentially criminal one by what is clearly an unscrupulous, scheming scumbag.

StoneofDestiny Fri 12-Apr-19 14:42:39

Either way, I see the purchase offer as a clear sign that they know the weakness of their AP case.

I agree

notapizzaeater Fri 12-Apr-19 14:43:40

They are being absolute CFs

Bringbackthestripes Fri 12-Apr-19 14:47:24

Awful that they have intimidated the other neighbours into handing over their land and not acting as a witness for you! I don’t know how they can let them get away with it but it must be awful having to live next to someone who terrifies you.

FellaGoneRogue Fri 12-Apr-19 15:19:20

This is the most disgusting behaviour 😡 good luck reclaiming Twittlebeewood

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