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Legalities of accessover private land - help please!

(5 Posts)
YellowDinosaur Sat 13-Aug-11 20:55:21

We live on a new build estate in a town house on the end of a terrace of 7 similar properties. We all back onto a shared back lane that our detached garages also adjoin. We each own the portion of this back lane that is adjacent to our back gardens as well as the strip immediately in front of our garages. But access is guaranteed to the other 6 houses in the terrace to get in and out of this back lane. There is no gate accross this lane though so it might not be immediately obvious to others that this is private land. If it si relevant we are on the end of the terrace where the access point to the back lane is - the other end is blocked off by garages.

With me so far? Good.

Next to the entrance to the back lane is a detached house who has a driveway on the other side of their house. They have a wall to their back garden that adjoins this back lane and our garage / area immediately in front of our garage. They do not own or have right of access onto our shared back lane.

Recently new people bought this house and they are in the process of extending it and landscaping the garden. Today it was pointed out to me that they have put in a gate out of the back of their garden that leads into our back lane and opens onto the area immediately in front of our garage (so land belonging to dh and I). They will also have to cross 2 other neighbours land in order to get out of the back lane as well as ours.

Now dh and I are both reasonable easy going people. In principle we don't mind these people having access over our land in a way that will not impact at all on our quality of life, assuming that they too are reasonable people. And from talking to our other neighbours apparently since it has been pointed out to them that this is private land they have tried to come and speak to us but we have been out.

Our concern however is that if we were to sell in the future that if we have allowed this to go on it may affect the sale firstly because prospective buyers may decide that they don't want to allow this access and secondly because if we allow it I seem to remember there comes a point when because it has been allowed it must be able to continue.

Can anyone put me right on the legalitites of this before we go and talk to them tomorrow? In principle we don't mind but don't want to be setting any precedents that we couldn't over turn if we wished to sell and the future buyers didn't like the set up.

SageMist Sun 14-Aug-11 08:34:55

My parents had a similar issue. They got a solicitor to write to the culprits neighbours to remind them that there was no right of way, and none should be assumed. If they hadn't done this then a right of way could have been reasonably assumed by the neighbours, and if went on for long enough, would actually have gained it. By the way it didn't actually stop the all the neighbours' behaviour, but now my parents can say there is no right of way if they ever decide to sell their property.

Suggest you either do the same as my parents or just leave it completely.

Collaborate Sun 14-Aug-11 09:57:44

Sagemist - that's wrong. If they continue to use the road without challenge they may acquire a ROW.
OP - at their cost go to a solicitor and get something drawn up legally. You each need a solicitor and they should pay for yours. They should be made legally obliged to contribute to the cost of repair, just as the existing owners are.

YellowDinosaur Sun 14-Aug-11 10:28:23

Thanks both.

Collaborate if we got such an agreement drawn up then what would be the crack if we were selling our house and the new owners didn't want it there?

That is my main concern. I don't really mind them using this access as long as they aren't twats about it. But I don't want to be in the position where we decide to sell our house in x number of years time and it either makes it difficult for us or reduces the appeal / price of our property. Because being a new build estate there are lots of similar houses out there but at the moment there are things about ours that make it more appealing than others. Don't really want to change that!

SageMist Sun 14-Aug-11 19:59:43

I'm sure you are right Collaborate. I'm only going on what my parents have told me, it could be that they haven't told me everything or they have decided not to persue matters, possibly in ignorance. I'll have to ask.

The point I was trying to make (and failing, LOL) was that the OP needs some legal advice on how to deal with it.

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