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Access Way Indemnity Policy - anyone?!

(7 Posts)
Barkyboots Fri 03-Jul-15 07:33:20

We've had an offer accepted on a great house,,, but now the problems seem to be emerging. Our solicitor has identified a problem regarding access to the property which he says is 'somewhat concerning'. He says as a 'last resort' if access can't be verified, we could take out 'an Access Way Indemnity Policy, at the Seller's cost, which will cover you, and any subsequent Buyer, for any loss of market value should this access ever become blocked up or unusable. This is really a last resort and would be taken out if there is no way to prove a legal right of way but you still wish to proceed with the purchase.' Does anyone have any experience of this please? Is it something that any potential buyer from us in the future is likely to run a mile from? Should we be reducing our offer in the light if this and if so by what sort of percentage? It's a great house but I don't want to walk into a load of problems and worry so we will pull out if we have to. Thanks for any help or advice

etoiledemer Fri 03-Jul-15 07:45:30

Is it the main access or a secondary (e.g. rear) access? I'd be worried if it was the main access. It's easy to inadvertently void invalidate an indemnity policy.

What exactly is the situation? Is this a rural property? How long has the house been there? If it's over 20 years old and the accessway has clearly been used for over 20 years, I'd be reasonably relaxed.

Barkyboots Fri 03-Jul-15 08:26:52

Thank you. It's the main access. It has been used by current owners for the last 14 years that they've lived there, but currently there is a planning application in to build a house on a bit of waste land that would also require use of the lane to the house we're buying. As a result of this we've become aware of local neighbour disgruntlement to our vendors use of this lane - even though it leads to the stone pillars and driveway, and from old maps it looks as though it has been used since at least 1884... But vendors can't provide proof of right of access. House is semi rural, built on church land. There's a chancel repair liability on it as well - should I be worried about that too?! Thanks

FishWithABicycle Fri 03-Jul-15 08:52:17

Are the people who actually own the land over which access is required the same people who are disgruntled? In which case yes I would be worried.

An indemnity policy is generally the quick dirty cheap option when problems are discovered during property purchases. It sounds quite possible that something may happen in future to restrict access to this house. So what solution will the indemnity policy provide? If there's a brick wall between all your worldly goods and the outside world, and the house has become worthless because it's uninhabitable except if you own a helicopter?

Rather than seeking an indemnity policy I would be looking to purchase an easement on the land between this house and the outside world from whoever owns the intervening land. That will be a lot more expensive than an indemnity policy but it would grant you and subsequent owners of the house a right of access. If such an easement can't be negotiated I would buy somewhere else.

etoiledemer Fri 03-Jul-15 08:55:38

Are you planning to build the second house / sell that second plot? If so, there's a major problem as there's no existing rights of long user for the wsteland. Is the house you're buying an old house i.e. since 1884 approx? If so, that would be reassuring for the house you're buying but still unsatisfactory for the second house. Just because the second house got planning doesn't mean it has rights of access.

Is the chancel repair actually on the title or just showing up as a possible liability?

FishWithABicycle Fri 03-Jul-15 08:58:53

Chancel repair liability is something it's sensible to buy an indemnity policy for. It's almost certain never to be invoked but it is possible and could involve a bill for £100k+ - an insurance policy is the sensible thing to do in that case.

Barkyboots Fri 03-Jul-15 10:35:39

Hi again, thank you so much for your responses. I'll try to answer your points. The planning application/second house is nothing to do with us, I think it's just coincidence that a planning application has been put in, to build a house now, on a field/wasteland that adjoins this lane. The people putting in that application own the lane and the wasteland. It's other neighbours who have objected to this planning application, who are also indicating disgruntlement about use of lane by vendors and commenting that another property will mean more traffic.. I guess as long as we have our right to use the lane clarified then that's not really an issue. Thing is - we are buying this place to have our first ever detached house and peace and privacy is key to our decision. Yes FWAB the house is originally 1800s with a newer extension. Etoile I was worried that if the wasteland was sold with planning that the buyers of that would then own the lane and could stop us using it? I don't know anything about easements but that does sound like the thing we need to investigate. Why hasn't our solicitor mentioned that? Do you think it would be worth trying to get the cost of getting the easement knocked off the price we've offered? I think in different circumstances we might walk away but as other threads say, there is so little on the market so if we walk away from this place we have very few other options right now. Thanks again

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