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Advice needed on blocked right of way
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# 1
KS1977
Old 12-06-2010, 2:32 PM
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Default Advice needed on blocked right of way

Hi all,

I was wanting a little advice on something please. We live in the middle house on a row of terraced houses and technically should have access round the back gardens by passing the path which runs through the properties. However, both sides are blocked, with one gate having a padlock on.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not illegal?

I was wondering how I could get this sorted properly as we are thinking of moving and this would surely put prospective buyers off.

Thanks.
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# 2
Wee Willy Harris
Old 12-06-2010, 2:49 PM
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So, the other gate doesn't have a lock? In which case, surely you have access?
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# 3
Fire Fox
Old 12-06-2010, 3:00 PM
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Go back and see your conveyancing solicitor, get them to write a letter to your neighbours reminding them of your right of way across your neighbours property. This might be as simple as your neighbours giving you a key to the gate, so it is still secure from intruders.
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# 4
lincroft1710
Old 12-06-2010, 3:10 PM
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Over 50 yrs ago my parents bought an end terrace house in block of 4 which had footpath going up side of ours and other ET house and along the back of all 4 houses between the backyard and garden. However the other ET house had put fence panel across the path where it passed their property at rear and a gate at front. As the owners of other 3 houses did not complain or make representations, that that part of footpath became incorporated into their garden and remains so to this day.

BTW "technically" is not a legal term, you can have a right of access which is recorded in the deeds of the house, a written or verbal agreement with next door or no right of access

Last edited by lincroft1710; 12-06-2010 at 3:17 PM.
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# 5
Wee Willy Harris
Old 12-06-2010, 3:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Fox View Post
Go back and see your conveyancing solicitor, get them to write a letter to your neighbours reminding them of your right of way across your neighbours property. This might be as simple as your neighbours giving you a key to the gate, so it is still secure from intruders.
Or, maybe, just speaking direct to your neighbour may be less confrontational, and quicker, and cheaper, and easier, and just more sensible.
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# 6
KS1977
Old 12-06-2010, 5:20 PM
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Thank you folks.

The word technically - just a figure of speech. At the end of the day, if we have a fire (god forbid) in the front of the house, the only option is to go to the back. To flee the garden would be very difficult as the gates are closed. (The other one ,sorry, is blocked). Father-in-law mentioned it a couple of months ago and the neighbours basically became very shirty about it. So talking to them is a no-no! Well, methinks I will try a different approach. Thanks again for your time :@)
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# 7
PasturesNew
Old 12-06-2010, 5:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KS1977 View Post
Thank you folks.

The word technically - just a figure of speech. At the end of the day, if we have a fire (god forbid) in the front of the house, the only option is to go to the back. To flee the garden would be very difficult as the gates are closed. (The other one ,sorry, is blocked). Father-in-law mentioned it a couple of months ago and the neighbours basically became very shirty about it. So talking to them is a no-no! Well, methinks I will try a different approach. Thanks again for your time :@)
Whilst this is one viewpoint, you need to separate fact from fiction.

Many many houses are terraced with no right of way, they don't lie awake at night worrying in case there's a fire. Fiction.

You have a right of way, which will show in the deeds. Fact

Do you have a copy of the deeds, can you show them to the neighbours and explain your problem?
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# 8
Wig
Old 12-06-2010, 7:01 PM
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If talking to them does not make them remove the blockage or give you a key to the padlock then you will have to get a solicitor to send them a letter saying that you have a right of access and this would include the bolt cutting of the padlock/ insistance on removal of blocking materials.

P.S. You don't have to agree to a key, if you don't want it locked it shouldn't be locked.
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# 9
tux900
Old 12-06-2010, 7:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wig View Post
this would include the bolt cutting of the padlock
Doing so would likely be criminal damage.

Mathew
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# 10
girleight@
Old 12-06-2010, 7:58 PM
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Wouldn't a neighbourhood dispute put buyers off though?
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# 11
elsien
Old 12-06-2010, 8:06 PM
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I don't know what the legal position is, although I suspect it may be a civil matter and would be quite expensive if you did have to go down that route.
Whether or not it would put off prospective buyers would depend a little on where you live, I think. I live in a similar house to yours. In my street most of the back alley is left open as it is a largely asian population who prefer to have two accessible entrances to the house. In the next street along which is more white owned, people seem to want privacy more and most of the houses have put up fences and gates to block access.
(Massive generalisation I know, just my experience in my area.) You may find that some buyers prefer the security and privacy of the situation as it is now and don't want random people wandering up and down.
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Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.

Last edited by elsien; 12-06-2010 at 8:10 PM.
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# 12
Wig
Old 13-06-2010, 9:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJNewton View Post
Doing so would likely be criminal damage.

Mathew
No it would not be criminal damage, in the same way that landowners cannot block a public right of way, the right to use a right of way, -whether public or private- over rules any damage of property that is necessary in achieving that goal. But you would be wise to make your intentions clear to the landowner (in your solicitors letter) and the likely consequences of any inaction on their part.
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# 13
tux900
Old 13-06-2010, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wig View Post
No it would not be criminal damage, in the same way that landowners cannot block a public right of way, the right to use a right of way, -whether public or private- over rules any damage of property that is necessary in achieving that goal.
That is not my understanding where an alternative route through/around exists. In this case there is a gate at the other end through which access/exit can be sought. Unless the situation can be classed as an emergency, 'self-help' is rarely looked upon favorably where due process through the legal system is available.

Of course, this does not in any way legitimise the padlocking of the gate, and subsequent blocking of access, but I believe it plays a pivotal role in determining the lawfulness of breaking the padlock in this particular situation.

Caveat: I am not a lawyer hence this is just my opinion as a layperson.

Mathew
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# 14
Wee Willy Harris
Old 13-06-2010, 11:43 AM
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This is just crazy. It's just a bloody gate and I'm reading about solicitors, fires and bolt cutters. Sledge hammer to crack a nut? And why aren't you also dealing with the other access point in the same way. Surely THEY have the same responsibility as the locked gate and should be approached in the same way.
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# 15
tux900
Old 13-06-2010, 12:02 PM
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Isn't that what web forums, particularly those with a legal slant, were invented for - inappropriate and disproportionate advice from people who don't know what they're talking about?!

Mathew
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# 16
Wee Willy Harris
Old 13-06-2010, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJNewton View Post
Isn't that what web forums, particularly those with a legal slant, were invented for - inappropriate and disproportionate advice from people who don't know what they're talking about?!

Mathew
I agree. Why would it put buyers off anyway? You point at the gate and tell them "You have rights of access". Simples.
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# 17
emms1981
Old 13-06-2010, 2:26 PM
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depends what you mean by "right of way" my dad has a gap between his garrage and next door that a builder kept calling a "right of way" just because he could get to next doors garden through there. He had a gate put up and put a padlock on it because he was becoming a pain in the @r.e!
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# 18
emms1981
Old 13-06-2010, 2:29 PM
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i live in a rented house with a garden thats in a row of houses, our only way out would be the front door :s i dont really see your point?
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# 19
KS1977
Old 14-06-2010, 9:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emms1981 View Post
i live in a rented house with a garden thats in a row of houses, our only way out would be the front door :s i dont really see your point?
....My point is that it should be a right of way, and right now it isn't. Everyone else in the row of terraced houses has an access point out of the back of the property. We don't! It's awkward for moving things from the front to the back...ie. Lawnmowers and garden equipment. If there wasn't any point, there shouldn't be any passage ways/ alley ways along side the houses to get to the back....but there are
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# 20
KS1977
Old 14-06-2010, 9:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girleight@ View Post
Wouldn't a neighbourhood dispute put buyers off though?
Yes, that's one thing I am thinking of. Maybe it's just worth gritting my teeth and bearing it for now. I don't want to make things awkward for myself really, although really, I should be able to get to the back of my house without having to 'fight' it out with the neighbours.
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