Complex issue. I own part of my neighbour's lounge. The boundary was properly drawn when he bought his property from the developer but the developer thought it was wrong. A year later I agreed to purchase which adjoined his. The builder asked my neighbour to sign a deed of rectification altering the boundary which he did - but only after leaning on the developer to sell him a field at 25% of the asking price and demanding a right of way through my property as conditions for his signature.The developer, in desperation to complete our purchase agreed, only to find a month later that my neighbour wanted the rectification reversed - as he had "discovered" that it was unnecessary. I declined to co-operate saying that the neighbour can have his lounge back when he agreed to remove the right of way through my property. In passing, I do not believe that he was misled by the developer into signing away his lounge. He had lived in the property for a year, he is employed in estates management for the Health Service and everytime he leaves his house or arrives back he can clearly see that his property includes the part of the lounge he sold. It is my view that he simply decided to take advantage of the builder's stress to obtain the field behind his property at a much reduced price. My neighbour then went to the Land Registry to obtain a rectification under Schedule 4 (whatever that is) but was refused. He then threatened litigation against me over a year ago to obtain his property back. I asked for an explanation of the legal basis of his claim but heard nothing. He has now parted from the solicitor who was then advising him.I have said that there are three options open to him: vacate the property which was conveyed to us three years ago; enter into a tenancy agreement to continue to use that part of his lounge; or, agree to a contract whereby I return the lounge to him (and he returns the right of way to us).He has not replied to any letters and his behaviour towards my wife and I continues to go from bad to worse. Should I seek vacant possession through the courts? The property was registered to me and remains so. I have allowed three years for him to take me to court or whatever he intends. The trouble is, I don't really want his lounge - I just want him out of my face - and that includes removal of a right of way that is of no use to him and is a significant intrusion to me.
Province/Country relating to question : England
Every conversation I have attempted has been rebuffed with rudeness. Every letter I have written has been ignored. I have offered to go to mediation either formally or through the appointed of an agreed person acceptable to us both.
My impression is that he is inclined to wait until I want to sell (and I am considerably older than he) and then he will expect me to settle on his terms in order to ease the sale.
What an unusual situation, can you clarify a few points
Presumably the lounge is actually inside his property with a wall between you?
How much of the lounge do you actually own , all, a few inches?
Does he use the right of way over your land and ,if so , what for?
Actually two walls between us. There is a passageway about 12 feet wide between the two properties with, above it, part of the first floor of my property. On his side there is a thick stone wall and then beyond that wall is his lounge, which is vaulted to the ceiling. The boundary is about 8 feet beyond that (inside the lounge) and the lounge continues for about another 12 feet. So, the part I own is eight feet deep into his lounge and approx 18 feet wide. There is a side window within the lounge, on my side of the boundary. Altogether, if I put a door in the passage (and erected a wall on the boundary) it would make a good tool store!
This is actually his problem rather than yours. Since you own part of his lounge he would be the one that has difficulty selling so if he is waiting for you to want to sell then he will be disappointed. Obviously a purchaser of your house will simply live in the house as you do.The right of way is more problematic but many properties are subject to such rights without it affecting the value and the fact that he does not exercise the right would be apparent to any prospective purchaser .Personally I would live there happily in the knowledge that if he ever wishes to sell then at that point you will have the leverage to get rid of the right of way.
I hope this helps If I have missed anything please reply
I guess I could have been more explicit. My question was really about how to force the pace - how to expedite a solution. Clearly I cannot demand that my neighbour enter into a contract with me but can I create the circs where he approaches me to resolve the issue. For example, if I were to seek vacant possession he might then see the sense of settling? Would that be a sensible course of action and what are the risks? Would the court be likely to examine ownership of the lounge or would they accept the Land Registry record and act on that? What would I be getting myself into?
The problem that you have is that the issue which is really annoying you which is the Right of way is not actually connected to the issue of the lounge . As such if say you were to apply for possession of the lounge he would simply ask the court for a declaration that the deeds are in error and it was clearly intended that the lounge form part of his property. Doing so would not necessarily lead to the right of way being considered or over turned since on the face of it they are not necessarily connected.
It would only be if the right of way can clearly be shown to be a mistake or pointless that the court may regard the whole of the title as a mess and rectify that as well
We come to the heart of the issue I think. There is no doubt that the intention was that the lounge forms part of his property. Indeed that was the original position. However, a year later, he sold part of the lounge (to the developer) in return for the field behind his property at a reduced price - and for a right of way to that field through my property. In my view he did so knowing what he was doing. Surely this severely undermines any request for a declaration that the deeds were in error? If he had sold me the engine out of his new car it would be foolish but surely the court would take the view that he no longer owned it?
You have closed this exchange without replying to my last question. The question was intended to elicit a complete answer to my original question. Without your response I am will remain unclear as to the answer of my original question. Please respond before I rate the service.
Very disappointed - I gave full information in the initial question but got simplistic answers. My final (3rd) question, intended to get clarity over the issue that prompted my first question has been ignored and , twice, my question has been marked as finished. I gained nothing from my engagement with JustAnswer on this occasion.
I must apologise for the service that you have received from me. I have not been on the system due to an unexpected death in the family and had to travel abroad to pay my respects.If you have any further questions I will be happy to assist if you still wish me to
Thank you for your understanding at a difficult time for me. If you give more positive feedback to any future answer I give on this then that will that replace any earlier negative feedback
For now ,however ,an Info request. One area we should consider is attacking the basis for the right of way.The reason for my previous view was that it was granted by the developer but what possible benefit does he get from it ?
Where does it go ?
My neighbour bought land to the west and north of his garden effectively increasing his garden. However, he left the original fence in place putting a garden gate between them. This new extended garden is next to my field on its northern boundary. The right of way runs through my field to the land he purchased and was granted by the builder as part of the deal mentioned above (in exchange for my neighbour's signature on the rectification).
I do not think that you are looking at it too simplistically, for me it is the obvious deal. As I said he will have trouble selling and there must be a nagging doubt in his mind about how the defect will affect the value of the property.He cannot apply for possessary title because he knows who the owner is and you have made it clear that you have no intention of simply ceding it to him..
The right of way could be attacked on the basis that it serves no real function since he has other routes that he can use and you can use the lounge situation to try to show that the overall disposition of the land was flawed.
Forcing the issue would be by making an application for the right of way to be removed from your deeds at the Land Tribunal using the lounge as evidence that the whole transaction and hence right of way was flawed and citing that the person who has benefit has 2 other possible routes to the same destination as the right of way.The risks are that the tribunal takes the view that you bought the property subject to the right of way and hence could have chosen not to. Other than that I cannot think of another way of forcing the pace.
However I have in the past made similar applications for clients knowing that the chances of achieving the stated aim may be slim if the matter actually goes to court but done so simply to get a resolution.Nothing focuses the mind quite so well as having to spend money and give evidence and invariably a resolution is negotiated
I hope this helps and if there is anything I have missed please reply and I will be happy to assist
BA honours degree in law, over 20 years experience in litigation, contract and property matters
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