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Rights Of Access

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
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bluebaronbluebaron Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
Hi All,

I have just purchased a house with a long (300m) driveway. There are 4 other houses on the street that have rights of access to use the road. The deeds state that I pay 1/3 and the other 4 1/6th of the upkeep of the road.

At the moment it was last resurfaced in 1978 and is looking a bit sad. I estimate that it will need resurfacing in 5 years also it requires annual cutting back of trees etc to maintain access.

As far as i know nobody has paid anything since 1978. I am worried that presenting everyone a bill for several thousand pounds will be a bit of a shock and also i believe that everyone should pay when they use it.

Do I have the right to charge everyone an annual fee to build up a reserve fund? That way if anyone moves then they have paid for their access as they use it and the new owner doesn't get lumped with a bill for wear and tear they haven't used.

How do you suggest I approach this without upsetting anyone?

Thanks
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Replies

  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    bluebaron wrote: »
    How do you suggest I approach this without upsetting anyone?

    If it won't need resurfacing for some time yet, I'd spend a year or two getting to know everyone else first. Then you will know who your allies might be and who is trouble personified.

    For all you know, the other owners on the driveway may prefer it to be a little worse for wear, or they may be overjoyed that someone is going to shoulder the responsibility for arranging upkeep. It's simply not possible to know, other than note that no one has done anything in the way of repairs for a very long time.

    If you go there as a newbie and start by asking for money, which you'll keep in a fund, I can guarantee now that you'll not receive a penny!

    Who's been cutting the trees annually?
    NHS and Care Workers deserve better than blackmail.
  • bluebaronbluebaron Forumite
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    Thanks Dave,

    The problem is I own the whole road. They just have a right of access. The old owner paid for the tree and grass cutting and has made the occasion patch repair but never billed anyone. They should of course been building up a repair fund over the years.

    I think you are right that I shouldn't go straight in and start asking for money but I want to ensure that everyone knows that they should be paying for the road upkeep as part of their right of access. I cannot afford to pay for it all myself and would rather not be sending them bills every time I patch the road or get the trees cut back.
  • pinkshoespinkshoes Forumite
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    Why don't you send each house some sort of survey asking what they'd like to do? I.e when do the think it will need repairing, should you build up a fund, how often should the trees be cut back etc... This might get them on side before you approach the actual money bit.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
  • I should say a heck of a lot of sweet-talking would be necessary, as it may be the case that one or more of the other households simply don't have the money to pay their share with the best will in the world and if they cant (ie rather than wont) then they cant.

    If their right of access is specified in law and down in their deeds, then it is and they will retain that right whatever happens (or doesn't happen) to the road.

    Personally, I think you will have to rely on goodwill and goodwill only to have the others pay and then, as stated, it may be that one or more of them simply cant.

    One good way to check out whether they can or cant actually afford to pay their share. If one or more of the houses clearly needs a noticeable amount of money spent on it, then that will be a pretty good indicator that they simply cant afford it and that's that (I know there is a house in my road like this and so very much doubt they can afford it).

    My own position (being in such a road) is that I wont be able to afford it once I've done the work I need to on bringing my own house up to scratch. Hence I'd be willing to, but totally unable to (which boils down to the same thing).
  • ErrataErrata Forumite
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    How do you suggest I approach this without upsetting anyone?
    Take legal advice.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
  • DaftyDuckDaftyDuck Forumite
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    pinkshoes suggestion is excellent, in my opinion. Sound them out, find out what they want, then, feed back to them (more or less) what they say they want, but slightly egging it towards what you yourself want... making it clear it's actually what they asked for!
  • TigsteroonieTigsteroonie Forumite
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    bluebaron wrote: »
    I have just purchased a house with a long (300m) driveway. There are 4 other houses on the street that have rights of access to use the road. The deeds state that I pay 1/3 and the other 4 1/6th of the upkeep of the road.

    I'd be inclined to check the deeds of the other four houses before making any approach (through the land registry) - at least that way you'd be able to say "as per your deeds, you are due to pay 1/6th of the cost blah blah". You could be in an awkward situation if it's not mentioned in their deeds ...
    :heartpuls Mrs Marleyboy :heartpuls

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  • bluebaronbluebaron Forumite
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    Thanks again everyone.

    I know its all written in the deeds as it was picked up when i brought the house a few months back.

    Another reason for getting an annual payment is that is should be easier for everyone to afford. I have no idea what tarmacing 300m+ of road will cost but has to be at least £15,000. I would hate to have to take my neighbours to court or stop access if they couldn't pay!
  • Ms_ChocaholicMs_Chocaholic Forumite
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    I don't think you can stop access if they can't/won't pay - do the deeds state that specifically or it just mentions a right of access. Unless it states rights of access if you pay to maintain upkeep of road then that's a different kettle of fish.
    Thrifty Till 50 Then Spend Till the End
    You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    pinkshoes wrote: »
    Why don't you send each house some sort of survey asking what they'd like to do? I.e when do the think it will need repairing, should you build up a fund, how often should the trees be cut back etc... This might get them on side before you approach the actual money bit.

    I agree with this, but I think it would be best to get to know the other folk first, sound them out over a few months and then act accordingly, bearing in mind whatever you've discovered as regards their awareness of the legal position. I'm assuming it's as you say, with proper mention in all the various title documents.

    I'm in a similar position myself, owning one driveway, which I share, and having access over another lane, to which I should contribute 1/10 of maintenance costs.

    Our shared driveway isn't a problem, but the other lane, which is much longer, is a nightmare for the managers charged with maintaining it. Some home owners are permanently out of the country and others are just very reluctant to accept their responsibilities, arguing that they only wish to maintain the parts they use!

    At least you only have four other residences to deal with, but if you are hoping to build up a fund, I think some kind of formal watertight control over it's use will be necessary which reassures contributors.
    NHS and Care Workers deserve better than blackmail.
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