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  • FIRST POST
    • Skutter47
    • By Skutter47 2nd Oct 17, 11:45 AM
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    Skutter47
    Neighbour constantly trespassing in yard, claims right of way.
    • #1
    • 2nd Oct 17, 11:45 AM
    Neighbour constantly trespassing in yard, claims right of way. 2nd Oct 17 at 11:45 AM
    Hi All,

    My neighbours have a back door that opens into my privately owned yard, one member of the household constantly ignores our polite requests (both verbal and written) to respect our privacy and not use our back yard for access to their house, further they deliberately leave the back gate to our yard open, simply to annoy us. They have a front door, and thus no easement of neccessity to use the yard as access. It is only one visitor to the household, all the others are happy to respect our rights, but their mother refuses and wanders through our yard whenever she visits them, which is often. The arrogance of it is upsetting, as we have asked for no more than our private property to be respected, which is perfectly reasonable.

    I have inspected both the title register and plan to their property, it makes no mention at all of any right of way over any neighbouring property, and no specific mention of the back yard at all. Their title plan shows a red outline of their property, and no other markings at all.

    Our title register and title plan also make no mention of any right of way and show no other markings other than the property boundaries.

    There are two flats in my building, we share the freehold, and the lease states that neither of us may allow anybody to establish a right of way over the property. Neither of us wish them to use the yard.

    I am confident that neither the owners nor the tenants have a right of way over the property.

    I wish to make certain that no easement by prescription be established over time, and to simply lock the back gate with a padlock and put up a sign stating it is private. My thinking is that this would mean they would have to use legal "force" to enter the back garden, by breaking the lock or scaling the wall and ignoring the sign.

    Do you concur? Any other advice? Any pitfalls to this approach?
Page 2
    • Mossfarr
    • By Mossfarr 2nd Oct 17, 1:52 PM
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    Mossfarr
    If they actually own the gate then you may not have the right to padlock it. I would buy a sturdy piece of trellis and fix it across the gateway on your side. A couple of heavy planters in front of that too.
    They can still open 'their' gate but can no longer go through it (unless it opens outwards into your yard that is, in which case they won't be able to open it)!
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 2nd Oct 17, 1:54 PM
    • 1,343 Posts
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    I'd be tempted to ask anyone you know who has got a German Shepherd or Rottweiller (any large dog really) if they can come and stay with you for a while (I mean the dog not the relative/friend)
    Last edited by Cheeky_Monkey; 02-10-2017 at 3:20 PM.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • G_M
    • By G_M 2nd Oct 17, 1:55 PM
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    G_M
    If they actually own the gate then you may not have the right to padlock it. I would buy a sturdy piece of trellis and fix it across the gateway on your side. A couple of heavy planters in front of that too.
    They can still open 'their' gate but can no longer go through it (unless it opens outwards into your yard that is, in which case they won't be able to open it)!
    Originally posted by Mossfarr
    My understanding is the neighbour's property ends a few steps from their back door. Then there is a yard (owned by OP). Then a fence with the gate. Seems unlikely the neighbours would own the gate.....
    Last edited by G_M; 02-10-2017 at 2:05 PM.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 2nd Oct 17, 1:57 PM
    • 41,478 Posts
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    G_M
    I'd be tempted to ask anyone you know who has got a German Shepherd or Rottweiller (any large dog really) if they can come and stay with you for a while
    Originally posted by Cheeky_Monkey
    Nuhhh! No point really.

    Better to have the German Sheperd to stay than the owner.
    • Skutter47
    • By Skutter47 2nd Oct 17, 2:03 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Skutter47
    Yes, that's correct, the gate is ours, it is the way out of our yard to the road, they have to cross the whole of our yard to get to it, it's definitely ours.

    We will padlock it, and write them another letter, and i'll pop back and let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the advice.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 2nd Oct 17, 2:11 PM
    • 1,789 Posts
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    steampowered
    Personally, I think I would try to just live with this. If the garden/yard isn't being damaged whats the harm.

    Life is too short to get upset about things like this. If their house was built with a back door, the builders must have envisaged that they would use it.

    That said, if this is causing you stress or difficulty, you have every right to put up a padlock. You are perfectly entitled to stop people entering your property.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 2nd Oct 17, 2:12 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Indeed, this is what I can't understand either - assuming the door isn't a recent addition then surely the neighbours will have acquired some sort of right to use the yard.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Even if they have - they'd have to prove it.

    Though, I gather, it's a low level of "proof" required - just a letter giving their word for it that they have basically.

    But - for the sake of £20 - OP might as well put that padlock on and that should be that. I believe that padlock will have to stay put for 1 year 1 day and then that's that and any "time put in" by them towards trying to get prescriptive rights will have been "broken" and they'd have to "start again" piling up time towards it.??? Pretty sure that's how the law works....
    #MeToo
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 2nd Oct 17, 2:18 PM
    • 13,667 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Personally, I think I would try to just live with this. If the garden/yard isn't being damaged whats the harm.

    Life is too short to get upset about things like this. If their house was built with a back door, the builders must have envisaged that they would use it.

    That said, if this is causing you stress or difficulty, you have every right to put up a padlock. You are perfectly entitled to stop people entering your property.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    The thing is though that isnt just literally a case of whether one is or isnt allowing a neighbour to get away with trespassing on your property.

    The ramifications are wider than that - they affect house value as I understand it.

    So - if a neighbour has legal rights to use some of your garden, then the value of your house decreases (ie because all your property isnt totally 100% for the use of yourself only). In reverse - I believe the value of their property increases (ie because they have the use of some property not belonging to them).

    This may be the truth of why this woman is playing silly b*ggers - she may be trying to increase the value/saleability of their house (and not caring that, in the process, she'd be decreasing the value/saleability of OP's property).

    There is also a possible question, I imagine, of what happens if this woman were to injure herself (eg by tripping on a loose flagstone or something) whilst crossing OP's yard. Would she be able to sue OP for an accident - even though the accident wouldnt have happened if she hadnt been trespassing on OP's property?
    #MeToo
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 2nd Oct 17, 2:29 PM
    • 1,076 Posts
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    m0bov
    What if the neighbour were to claim they have maintained the yard and claim it as part of their own? Or things start going missing, or even worse, you come home to a shed or outbuilding on it!

    Def padlock, then 101 it if they break in. Can you rig up some CCTV? Or dummy cameras and stickers? solar powered security light?
    • Tammykitty
    • By Tammykitty 2nd Oct 17, 2:47 PM
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    Tammykitty
    How long has the neighbor (or previous residents) been accessing their back door through your yard - as if its been over 20 years, there could potentially be a right of way now.
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    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 2nd Oct 17, 2:53 PM
    • 324 Posts
    • 391 Thanks
    ProDave
    Since the Title Plans of the the two properties clearly (apparantly) show the boundary being 'a few steps' into the yard, and the rest of the yard falling within the OP's property, it is for the neighbour to prove a ROW exists across the land belonging to the OP.
    Originally posted by G_M
    Is there a FENCE along the boundary (i.e. a few from their back door)?

    If not, it could also be conter argued that the OP is "enjoying" part of his neighbours yard as if it was his own?

    A sketch or satellite image would help.
    • bris
    • By bris 2nd Oct 17, 3:11 PM
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    bris
    It works two ways, the OP also has to prove there is no ROW. A back door leading to a yard would suggest a ROW but it could get very expensive proving otherwise.


    A passage of time also creates a ROW, this would also need looking into.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 2nd Oct 17, 3:17 PM
    • 1,343 Posts
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    Nuhhh! No point really.

    Better to have the German Sheperd to stay than the owner.
    Originally posted by G_M
    That's what I meant
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 2nd Oct 17, 4:35 PM
    • 13,667 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    It works two ways, the OP also has to prove there is no ROW. A back door leading to a yard would suggest a ROW but it could get very expensive proving otherwise.


    .
    Originally posted by bris
    I would say the OP has already proved there is no ROW - ie there is no mention whatsoever of a ROW anywhere on the paperwork. Therefore the burden of proof lies with the trespasser to prove that there is a ROW.
    #MeToo
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 2nd Oct 17, 5:44 PM
    • 9,756 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    I always thought than over a period of time, if there has been unhindered and continuous access, then a right of way has been established.
    • chappers
    • By chappers 2nd Oct 17, 6:06 PM
    • 2,735 Posts
    • 1,547 Thanks
    chappers
    You say you have the title and the title plan, are you sure that you have the full title as registered and not just an extract that you have downloaded from the land registry website.
    Covenants and easements are usually written into the TR1 document at first transfer this document would be part of the full title but all covenants and easements don't always make their way into the extract.

    It doesn't seem very likely that someone would split a house into flats sell one with a backdoor opening to a yard and not grant access to that door. The red line surrounding the freehold has nothing to do with any easements that might be granted over land you own.

    I would check you have sight of the full title and original TR1 before you go in all guns blazing. Your solicitor should have seen this when you purchased the property and made you aware if he did his/her job properly.

    How long has the property been split into flats
    Last edited by chappers; 02-10-2017 at 6:09 PM.
    • chappers
    • By chappers 2nd Oct 17, 6:07 PM
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    chappers
    I always thought than over a period of time, if there has been unhindered and continuous access, then a right of way has been established.
    Originally posted by lincroft1710
    This is true but would need to be evidenced in some sort of way, but a statement of declaration might be enough for example if the neighbour had been living there for a large number of years and stated for example that they had used that yard for x years unhindered
    Last edited by chappers; 02-10-2017 at 6:11 PM.
    • Fiesto88
    • By Fiesto88 2nd Oct 17, 6:43 PM
    • 106 Posts
    • 70 Thanks
    Fiesto88
    You say you have the title and the title plan, are you sure that you have the full title as registered and not just an extract that you have downloaded from the land registry website.
    Covenants and easements are usually written into the TR1 document at first transfer this document would be part of the full title but all covenants and easements don't always make their way into the extract.

    It doesn't seem very likely that someone would split a house into flats sell one with a backdoor opening to a yard and not grant access to that door. The red line surrounding the freehold has nothing to do with any easements that might be granted over land you own.

    I would check you have sight of the full title and original TR1 before you go in all guns blazing. Your solicitor should have seen this when you purchased the property and made you aware if he did his/her job properly.

    How long has the property been split into flats
    Originally posted by chappers
    ^^ this.

    We have a right of way over a neighbours yard to our back door and it doesn’t show on the title extracts that can be downloaded from the Land Registry but was stated in the more detailed forms that were provided by our solicitor.

    Out of interest, how long have both parties owned the respective properties? When you bought the house, did you get the solicitor to investigate this issue? We saw when we first viewed that the back door has an unusual exit arrangement and wanted to know as a priority what the score was with it - everybody uses their back door into the kitchen as the main entrance round here.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 2nd Oct 17, 7:08 PM
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    • 220 Thanks
    sevenhills
    Even if they have - they'd have to prove it.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Having a door would imply that the house holder was able to use it, that is common sense.
    The OP seems rather slow in giving us any detail. Is it a terrace, have the doors been there since they were built?
    The OP seems rather strongly that its his land, so if a new door was installed, he would have objected.
    Perhaps this door can be accessed from another direction?

    • Skutter47
    • By Skutter47 2nd Oct 17, 7:24 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    Skutter47
    The house is a terrace, their house has never been part of ours, they just have a back door into our yard, it isn't clear why. We have the full title to our property, it makes no mention of any rights of way. We only have the main extracts for their register But we have asked that if they wish to continue using it, they prove that they have a right of way, they have so far not been able to do so. If they have an easement, they have not produced it, but simply continue to trespass.

    If they can prove it, we will of course comply with the law.

    As far as the 20 years issue goes, the house was rented to multiple occupants. far too many to track down, over many years. None of whom used the back yard without permission in any regular or continuous fashion. This is why we want to act now, as the new owners have suddenly decided to help themselves to our yard, and we want to make sure no right of way is established.
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