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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22620
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I purchased my house from new 20 years ago, the deed stated

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I purchased my house from new 20 years ago, the deed stated that you are not allowed to park a caravan on your own land, but I have been told that if you park your caravan and no one objects over a 7 year period, then you effectively can have "grandfathers rights", is this true? Thankyou
who is told you this because it is actually incorrect?
Can we have the full background please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It was just hear say no legal person told us this. We had a caravan stolen from a secure lock up many years ago, and our neighbours told us that we should park the caravan on our drive (we live is a cul-de-sac, its big enough to hold 3 cars), it dosent cause an obstruction or interfer with any one else. We have now have a slight disagreement with the same neighbour where they keep parking their cars in front of our drive and we cannot get the caravan out. So before have a talk with them, i wanted to know where we legally stood with the caravan in case he then states we are not allowed to keep it there

The two issues of them obstructing the drive and your caravan being on the drive are separate.
Obviously the secure lock-up wasn’t that secure! However don’t bank on it being any safer on the drive because these thieves will come along (I have experience of this) on a foggy night when no one can see them and almost take things with impunity! Fortunately, we don’t have the fog that we used to have but it still happens. They will also come with bolt cutters in the early hours of the morning and simply carry on regardless as though it is their right to take it. It seems to be what the country is coming to. This is that in danger of becoming a political debate so I will go back to the instant question.
If you have a dropped curb and they obstruct that, that is an offence and you can call the police. If you have a dropped curb and they park to the edge of it but don’t obstruct the dropped bit and you can’t get your caravan out because there is not enough room to swing, that is unfortunate and you and you are faced with all sorts of tricky manoeuvres. It is not the neighbour’s fault that you have a huge vehicle which needs a mega swing.
If there is a covenant in the deeds whereby you cannot park caravan on the drive, then provided it has been breached and you have been parking it there (including time that your predecessor park there), for 20 years or more (not seven) then under the rule in Hepworth v Pickles, the covenant is no longer enforceable.
For a neighbour to enforce a covenant they either have to have the benefit of it or it has to be a series estate covenants where each house on the development has the same covenants.
If the covenants on the property relate to just not the caravan but also, for example to things such as you can’t put a hedge up, or offence or keep chickens or suchlike and the neighbour has done anything like that, then the neighbour cannot enforce the covenant against you. The neighbour has to be completely squeaky clean (in law it is called “clean hands”) before they can enforce the covenant against someone else. They cannot breach what covenants they like and then selectively seek to enforce them against someone else or breach what covenants they like but selectively enforce all the covenants against all the neighbours.
However, as I said earlier, even if you were not allowed to keep it there on the deeds it does not mean that he is allowed to obstruct the drive. If he obstructs the drive and you have a dropped curb it is a police matter. If you do not have a dropped curb, there is nothing you can do because it is illegal to drive over the pavement unless the curb is dropped.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX brilliant, i just wanted to be prepared incase he brought it up, unfortunately for him, he is not squeeky clean.

Thank you again

I am glad to help. Just remember that the issue of whether you can have the caravan on the drive or not is completely separate from the obstruction.
Even if he is squeaky clean and you are absolutely not able to have the caravan on the drive, he is still not allowed to obstruct a dropped curb.

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