UK Property Law
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I have looked at some old documents relating to past transfers of our property but none seem to carry any reference to easements, rights of way or access. I imagine full details would be available from Land Registry but I am at a loss to know which documents to apply for.
I can give yousome general guidance. If you have enjoyed unhindered access WITHOUT CONSENT orobjection and not in secret for 20 years and can prove that, then regardlesswhat the deeds say, you have acquired in all probability a PrescriptiveEasement which enables you to carry on using the access.
The same thingapplies to the overhanging roof.
If you haveindeed acquired the right of access then any interference with that must besubstantial and I think it be very difficult for anyone to argue that a lockedgate was not a substantial interference. It is a pedestrian access, would besufficient for them to let you have a key.
You would havehad to use the access on a regular and frequent basis and not simply for theodd bit of maintenance now and again.
Whether you haveacquired a prescriptive easement therefore comes down to how much use youpreviously enjoyed and under what circumstances.
With regard toaccess for maintenance which appears to be your main priority, the neighboursare unable to refuse this and if they do, you are entitled to seek aninjunction under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act and ask the court to awardcosts against the neighbour. You can do that for any access you require inorder to "preserve" your property.
The property ispresumably registered at the land registry and there may be references torights of way or easements or conveyances and without seeing the land registrydeeds, it is very difficult to know which documents you would need.
It would also beworthwhile getting the neighbour's land registry title deeds which you can getfor 3 pounds here https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/
as a general ruleyou will need any transfers or conveyances referred to.
Once you have allthose, would probably be quicker to sit down with a solicitor who can, ifappropriate, write a strongly worded letter to the neighbour.
Does that answerthe question. Can I assist any further?
I am happy tofollow up any individual point you make
I am off-lineshortly until tomorrow but am generally online and off-line each day and mostweekends.
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