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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11447
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My family have lived at the same address for the last 24 years

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My family have lived at the same address for the last 24 years at least. Before we moved in the house was changed to flats years before and the garden was nothing but a jungle. There has always been a communal driveway and communal drying green etc and when the original owner who changed the building lived here he stated that if the residents wished to develop further into the garden to have a bigger drying green etc he had no issues with that. So over the years the garden has gotten bigger and several people have come and gone at the address the original owner kept to himself.

Throughout all this time people have lived here with equal rights to the garden and drive etc and me and my father gradually pushed the jungle further back and planted grass seed etc. When any new owners moved in we had no issues with the communal areas etc so for the last 30 years roughly this has not been an issue.

My father recently passed away and I have been left with the house etc and decided to build a steel shed to house my motorbike so that I was not keeping it in the way of access to the houses etc. Again over the years we each house has built huts or sheds without any issues. The garage is going on top of where my dad recently took his old, rotting hut down so that there would be no change as to the parking etc in the drive.

The builders arrived to lay the base for the new shed and I had a knock at the door from lady who lives in one of the flats asking what I was doing. I told her I was having a base built as I was replacing my dads old shed with one for my bike etc and she came out with, "well I'm not sure if you know this but I own all of the land. According to my deeds, I even own the garden at the front, so you will need to ask me if you want to do anything like this."

The lady only moved into the flat in the last few years and I have no idea if she is telling the truth but surely if her deeds state this then they are out of date and would have to be adjusted as the property has been used as communal for at least 30 years and her deeds clearly do not reflect this. and up until now no other owner of the property has mentioned or contested the communal use of the property. I also doubt my parents would have purchased or moved into a house where they have go no rights with regards XXXXX XXXXX to the land etc.

I have discussed this with the majority of the other neighbours and they are as stunned as me. I have not yet received the deeds to my fathers house so I cant yet check my own deeds to see what they say but is there anyway that scottish law would allow for the deeds to be clarified or updated. Surely if its ok to class a couple as married under common law for living together for a certain length of time, it is reasonable to assume that communal property should be classed as such if it has been treated this way for the better part of half a century?
Thank you for your question.

Your analogy to common law marriage is no longer relevant as common law marriage was abolished seven years ago.

As far as the title to the land is concerned you would be better to get a solicitor to examine the title deeds for your property and that of the woman neighbour. The CAB will be of no help to you at all as they have no qualification or experience is examining titles.

What what you do have to be aware of is that possession of land without a valid title does not constitute ownership so the fact that an original owner wasn't bothered about the neighbours taking more land into communal possession does not mean that the land is necessarily communally owned. If the original owner sold to this lady then she would own what he owned.

I am happy to help in any way I can but this can only be answered fully by way of a title examination.

If you can email the titles to your property and the other persons house [email protected] and ask them to forward to JGM I am happy enough to look at these.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

my local cab normally brings in specific legal people at certain times and thats why I was thinking of going to see them.


The current owner has not purchased from the original owner of the house. It has been owned by at least 5 other people in the time from which I have lived here alone, including a bank as the house was at one point repossessed. Currently I have put a request in for the title deeds so I am unsure as to how long before I have received them. After speaking to a neighbour, it has actually been 42 years that all owners of the flats have had communal access but I shall take the deeds to a solicitor once I have received them.

No problem. Let me know if I can assist you further.
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