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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 9142
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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We have recently had an offer accepted on a house. The house

Customer Question

Good morning. We have recently had an offer accepted on a house. The house has been owned by the same family since it was built in 1870. The neighbour's house is also owned by a family member. Although we understand no mention is made in either set of deeds at some point a door was put into the side wall of the neighbour's property providing access onto the drive way of the house we intend to buy. This driveway has a gate at the end of it providing access to the road. We have been told by the owners of the house we wish to buy that the neighbour only uses the side door to 'put her bins out' and never uses it to access the road as she uses her front door. We want to understand if the neighbour has a right of way/access onto what will be 'our land' even if there is nothing in either house deeds. We are concerned about security in the event that the neighbour's house is sold and in addition we wish to create a parking area on the driveway (it currently has an extension on it meaning no cars can be parked) if we were to turn it into a parking area would it be illegal to restrict access to her door? If so could you she block the planning the parking area? What options do we have?
JA: What state is this in? And how old is the car?
Customer: This is not related to a car?!? Is your question directed at me?
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet? I hope not.
Customer: No we havent
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: No key points are: Will this be a UK lawyer as this will require expertise in UK property law
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Key points relating to question:1. There is no mention of the right of access/right of way in either set of house deeds
2. We do not know when the door was put in/right of access was granted at this point
3. The land currently has an extension on it which we would like to demolish in order to create a parking area. We believe this would still allow room for the neighbour to use the door but are concerned about security and the fact that she or a future owner could stop us from using the land for parking
4. The current owner has led us to believe that the owner of the neighbouring property would be willing to accept that they can nolonger access the land but our understanding is that even in this scenario a future owner could claim rights of access due to the length of time the door has existed.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Is the existence of the door a dealbreaker? Do the family members speak to each other?

Will the one who uses the door be willing to relinquish?

The legal situation is that if this door has been in place for 1 more than 20 years without consent or objection or 2 it has simply been in place for more years than anyone can remember, then the property owner with the benefit of the door can claim an easement for the door to remain in place 1 under the Prescription Act or 2 under the doctrine of Lost Modern Grant which is a legal doctrine basically, if it’s happened for so long that no one can remember it is assumed that there was a deed but the deed has been lost.

I’m sorry to have to say therefore that unless the person whoever has the benefit of the door is willing to relinquish it you are stuck with it. Incidentally, it doesn’t matter if they no longer need it or no longer use it, you are still stuck with it. At least you know.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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Best wishes.