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    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 9th Mar 18, 12:42 PM
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    Old Grey Mare
    Maintenance of private road
    • #1
    • 9th Mar 18, 12:42 PM
    Maintenance of private road 9th Mar 18 at 12:42 PM
    Apologies if this is in the wrong section.

    I would like a little advice before I seek legal advice next week.

    I own a smallholding of about 3 acres which is at the end of a farm road which is a mile long. I have consulted my deeds which does say that I have a right of way along the roadway subject to the payment of a proportionate part according to user of the cost of keeping the road in good repair and condition.

    There are three residential properties and two farms on the lane and they sublet barns to various businesses. There are hundreds of acres of agricultural land and the road is subject to tractors/combine harvesters, heavy lorries delivering timber to a woodworking company, lorries delivering feed to the poultry factory on one of the farms. It gets much worse in the summer with crops being taken from the fields.

    Now one of the farmers has decided the road needs resurfacing as he has had complaints from drivers who deliver his poultry feed. I don't mind dodging the pot holes and use the road only once or twice a day.

    He is a bullying man and has given me a note telling me I am to pay him 5,500 towards the cost of the upkeep. None of the residents have been consulted as to what they think their fair share should be. We don't know what quotes (if any) were given, how much other residents are paying, and how the cost was worked out.

    I am very worried as I can't afford this.
Page 2
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 9th Mar 18, 7:17 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    If you can't pay/don't want to pay could you (legally) relinquish your rights under that covenant but retain access rights under the public right of way? It may be an avenue worth exploring.
    Originally posted by happyandcontented
    I suspect OP could do exactly that.
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    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 9th Mar 18, 7:38 PM
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    Old Grey Mare
    Have you tried to get your own quote for resurfacing the road? 33,000 for a mile long road may not be excessive given how much it costs to build a mile of motorway (several million at least).
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    No I haven't. The quote he has received is 68,000.
    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 9th Mar 18, 7:44 PM
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    Old Grey Mare
    Ah-ha and then there's another question for you to ask this solicitor when you see them.

    1. How long have you had this smallholding?
    2. How long have the others using this road had their properties?

    One way or another - I'd be willing to bet at least one of you has had their property for over 14 years and therefore I would have thought (almost certainly) they would be under the conditions laid down in their paperwork at the time they bought their properties.

    With that - then I can't really see how any of you that "came on the scene" within the last 14 years could have different conditions to them? Worth asking about that fact - as to whether different owners in the road could have different conditions perhaps?

    From what I've read (as a layperson) I believe the law only allows for charging for private road maintenance to the standard it was at at the time the person/people with ROW on the road bought it. If the "owner" of the road then wants to do it to a better standard - then that's down to them and they can't charge the difference for that better standard. They can only charge for the standard it was at at the time the road-user bought their place.

    So - how long have you had this smallholding of yours (ie did you get it before or after the upgrading of this track)?

    Even if you did get it after the upgrading of this track - if your paperwork uses the same wording as the paperwork of the last owner of your smallholding prior to this road upgrading = would that last owners wording apply to subsequent owners (ie yourself)?

    All round - I would have thought this guy might be on a very sticky wicket trying to charge for an upgraded standard to the previous one. Well worth checking on that point with your solicitor.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Very interesting, thanks. All residents have been there prior to the resurfacing. I've only owned the smallholding for 5 years. The paperwork is identical to the previous owners.
    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 9th Mar 18, 7:48 PM
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    Old Grey Mare
    Definitely something I'd be doing personally - and that quote would be for getting the road maintained to "previous farmtrack standard".

    With that I'd be surprised if the actual bill comes to more a few thousand s between all of you. It may be that the bill is, in fact, absolutely non-existent (ie because the road is already at the previous farmtrack standard - and therefore doesnt need doing to "maintain the status quo").

    Between the improved standard (for his purposes only) and the public ROW (which you'd obviously still be able to use on the exact same basis as anyone else) - I have my doubts whether he can make you/anyone else there pay anything at all.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Very helpful information thanks.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 9th Mar 18, 9:01 PM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Very interesting, thanks. All residents have been there prior to the resurfacing. I've only owned the smallholding for 5 years. The paperwork is identical to the previous owners.
    Originally posted by Old Grey Mare
    I think the word I want is "betterment".

    That being is he allowed to have better standard at other peoples expense.

    I would think the law would take a similar view to, for instance, if a landlord/lady let out a house to a tenant. That tenant then ruined a carpet - so, quite fairly, they would be able to claim the cost from the tenant of replacing the carpet. But - they wouldn't be allowed to replace it with a higher quality carpet. If a "same again" carpet would cost 200 - they wouldn't be able to replace it with a 1,000 carpet (at least not unless they paid the 800 difference for that better quality themselves).
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 09-03-2018 at 9:04 PM.
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    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 10th Mar 18, 7:33 AM
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    glasgowdan
    If the bill is 68k then he's paying 46k and asking 22k to be split between 4 of you. That part seems reasonable.

    The issue is whether the work is needes, what the spec is and whether you want to arrange another quote yourself.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 10th Mar 18, 8:11 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    At the moment - it seems OP only has this guy's word for it that that is what the bill is in total. If I recall aright - he hasn't even shown them the bill.

    Even if it's accurate - okay he's not asking to be fully subsidised for "his own personal choice to suit himself" - but he is still after a degree of the other 4 properties involved subsiding his personal choices.

    Not on to expect someone who has to eat from the local discount store to be expected to help subsidise him eating from Harrods so to say.
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    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 10th Mar 18, 8:31 AM
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    agrinnall
    No I haven't. The quote he has received is 68,000.
    Originally posted by Old Grey Mare
    So you're paying considerably less than one sixth of the total. If the figure is reasonable then it doesn't sound that unfair to expect you to make the contribution asked for.
    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 10th Mar 18, 8:31 AM
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    Old Grey Mare
    If the bill is 68k then he's paying 46k and asking 22k to be split between 4 of you. That part seems reasonable.

    The issue is whether the work is needes, what the spec is and whether you want to arrange another quote yourself.
    Originally posted by glasgowdan
    Three residential properties, two small holdings and two big farms with lots of businesses renting buildings. I only speak to my smallholder neighbour and the nearest residential owner. We are expected to pay 5,500 each as are presumably the other two residential properties. That makes 27,500. That leaves approximately 40,00 split between the two farms who are responsibly for all the heavy machinery using the road. I don't think this is reasonable.
    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 10th Mar 18, 8:34 AM
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    Old Grey Mare
    Actually, it has completely slipped my mind that there are three families living at the farm, his mother and his sister and family, each in their own cottages, so if they are all paying a contribution, then it's looking more and more as if he's just split the total bill between all residents/field owners regardless of road use.
    Last edited by Old Grey Mare; 10-03-2018 at 8:36 AM.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 10th Mar 18, 8:42 AM
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    agrinnall
    Perhaps you should invest in an hour with a solicitor, ensuring that you take all the paperwork and provide all the information that you have drip fed into this thread, plus anything else that has slipped your mind.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 10th Mar 18, 8:49 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Agrinall - not sure if you've missed the bit whereby this farmer has upgraded the road from farm track standard to tarmacked standard purely to suit himself personally?
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    • Old Grey Mare
    • By Old Grey Mare 10th Mar 18, 8:52 AM
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    • 6 Thanks
    Old Grey Mare
    Perhaps you should invest in an hour with a solicitor, ensuring that you take all the paperwork and provide all the information that you have drip fed into this thread, plus anything else that has slipped your mind.
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    Yes I will do. The information on this thread has been very helpful and stopped me panicking too much. I will definitely see a solicitor and take some notes from here.
    • tom9980
    • By tom9980 10th Mar 18, 9:00 AM
    • 1,271 Posts
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    tom9980
    I wouldnt pay either, I would want multiple quotes and breakdowns of costs. I would then want a breakdown of costs of who is paying and what percentages each landowner is expected to pay.

    I can tell you it is costing about 30k to build a 700 meter farm track from scratch over a field here in the midlands.
    In order to change, we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 10th Mar 18, 9:05 AM
    • 15,628 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Actually, it has completely slipped my mind that there are three families living at the farm, his mother and his sister and family, each in their own cottages, so if they are all paying a contribution, then it's looking more and more as if he's just split the total bill between all residents/field owners regardless of road use.
    Originally posted by Old Grey Mare
    Re that - if his farm has changed ownership in recent years it will be Registered with the Land Registry. It may still be Registered under the modern system even if it hasnt changed hands in recent years.

    It costs 3 online or 7 on paper to get a copy of the Register entry from the Land Registry. Best to have both "bits of paper" - ie the Title Plan and there's another "bit of paper" also - ie Register entry. So it's 3 (or 7) per each of those two "bits of paper".

    On that - you would be able to see whether the farm is being treated as one entity so to say (ie including those cottages) or as several different dwellings (each with their own Title Plan and Register entry). I'm guessing that would give you the clue as to the official position on whether farm + cottages counts as one property or several properties.

    Personally - I doubt he is charging the farm cottages money towards this. Though it would be useful to know.
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