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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7610
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi. My family own a shop with two flats above. The property

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Hi. My family own a shop with two flats above. The property is nextdoor to a large superstore (used to be a Carpet shop). Dividing the shop and the superstore is an access way that leads to a car park (owned by the superstore). Our shop (and flats above) have a yard at the back where our bins are kept. To get to the bins we have to use the access way. The council has been collecting rubbish via this access for over 20 years. My family has used this access way for over 20 years and have used the car park too. The new owners of the superstore have put a gate in front of the access way and have said we cannot now use it to get to our bins. He has ordered us to seal the gate on the side fencing that leads to the bins. This gate opens up into their car park and is marked in the land registry drawings. What is our legal position as we need our rubbish collected? Thank you.

Thanks for your reply.

If you have not already done so you need to download the Land Registry register for your property’s registered title. You will have to check the Charges Register to see if the right of way is formally registered against the title. It should be fairly easy to see as it will say something akin to “A right of way on foot/with vehicular access over the land adjoining the north west boundary (for example)”.

If the right is listed in this way then you can simply refer the owners to this and ask that access is reinstated.

If the right is not listed in this way then you will have to see if you can claim a right by prescription. You can acquire a right of access (easement over the land by long use) if you have been using the access for a continuous period of 20 years.

If you have been using the land for 20 years or more then you will be able to enforce this against the owner. You should attempt again to outline this to the owner. If the owner does not comply then you should see a solicitor about writing a letter before action to the owner requiring that access is reinstate and then making an application to have the right registered against the registered title of the land so that if the property were to be sold then the new buyer would have notice that the right is exercisable over the land and therefore avoid future disputes.

You will have to gather statements from persons using the access or other third parties who are aware of the access being used for a length of time.
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Kind regards,

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