Land query rights

by Readers Question

10:22 AM, 14th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Land query rights

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Land query rights

I own an end terrace in a row of 5. My terrace has a triangular piece of land at the side which has been used as my garden for the last 13 1/2 years. Prior to this it was still part of my house from 1983. No fence around it and just over grown grass. Or it was when I bought it in early 2000’s.query

On this land was a toilet block which was knocked down in 1983 with the signed consent of all the houses in the block. Everyone signed a piece of paper to say they wanted the block taking down, but no mention of signing away the rights to the land.

This land is subject in my title deeds to user rights and access rights for the other houses in the block. It doesn’t mention any thing else about these rights.

There has never been any issue from the neighbours about this land, but I would like to know could I get their rights removed from the deeds ? I think they would like to keep their rights of access round the back in case they wanted to move something large to the rear of their houses, but that has never arisen as well.

So really I am just concerned about the overall rights to the use of the land. I think it was just to do with the toilets, but now they are gone no one has ever seen the need to use this land for anything else.

The land is not that large, but I suppose you could build a small house on it, but then I would loose the garden and just have a front concrete yard. A better use for the land would be a garage or shed and off street parking. This is really why I am asking the question. I would like to build a garage for myself and provide a drive.

So does anyone know what may happen here ?

Can I claim the land for myself somehow due to time issues ?

Would I need to pay the other 4 houses a sum to loose their rights over the land ? Seems complicated and open to abuse by a potential neighbour.

Someone mentioned you can take out indemnity insurance to insure yourself against a potential claim.

I know I need to get legal advise, so please do not mention this in any reply. I am posting this question on the forum to get a better idea of what I need to do before I decide to go the legal route.

The value of my small terrace is £55k. The land value for the garden maybe £5-10k. I am not sure. With planning it maybe worth £50. Still not sure on that one.

Thanks

John



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:24 AM, 14th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi John,

You mention the obvious, but have you spoken to the Council yet?

Stephen Smith

13:29 PM, 14th December 2015
About 3 years ago

I assume the property is not registered? It might be worthwhile considering a voluntary registration. Always good when selling the property anyway.

It might be worth checking with the LR.

If it is on your deeds then it is yours. If not then there may be prescriptive rights on the basis you have used it as your own for 12 years at least. The easements mentioned were presumably there so the neighbours may use the toilet? Or cross over to get access to the rear of their properties. It is unlikely that you would be able to extinguish these rights. But they may be willing to do so for a small amount, but is it worth it since they have effectively lapsed?

If it is your land I do not see any reason why the council would not approve development, although I would stress that the issue of planning consent does not depend on ownership since you can apply for PC on property you do not own (common with developers)

Ask the neighbours for their views? If they do not use the land where is the problem?

John Pettman

14:07 PM, 14th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Firstly have you carried out what is known as an index map search of the area of land concerned to see if it is registered and if it is who owns it.Secondly without seeing your title and those of your neighbours we are now guessing, something one should NOT do.You appear to have used the land by way of PERMISSIVE USE if your deeds grant you the right in them and NOT as of right so any claim for adverse possession is likely to be defeated along with other reasons.Thirdly If your neighbours have rights over the area which it appears that they do You cannot automatically extinguish them, and even if they have not exercised those rights that does not automatically extinguish them. Bear in mind that any variation or extinguishment of, rights would also need the consent of any mortgagee involved who will charge. What you can do is approach the owner of the land( Assuming the land is registered or the current owner is known) and offer to buy SUBJECT TO THE RIGHTS OF ALL OTHERS
You cannot make a voluntary registration of land you do not own as you will not be able to show title. If the land is unregistered and you buy it you will be making a compulsory first registration

john henderson

19:08 PM, 14th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Sorry i was not clear. I own the land. I have a separate deed for it from the house.

It is affected by the rights of the other 4 houses to use the toilet block and gain access round the back and through the garden to the road.

The access rights are not a problem, but the use rights are.

I have now been advised that because the toilet block was knocked down in 1983 (i have a signed paper document by all the 4 houses to say they are happy to knock it down), this meant they lost the right to use the land for the purpose of going to the loo. So they have no rights over the land.

They still have access right round the back though.

I may just need to get an indemnity policy. I will be seeing a solicitor about this later this week.


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