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Are You Struggling With A Right Of Way Dispute (Private)?

Disputes relating to right of way are extremely common, much more common than you may believe. How difficult is it to manage a private right of way dispute?

What is a private right of way?

A private right of way is the legal right to pass over the land belonging to another, subject to certain restrictions.

At the time of purchasing a property you may find that the property already has rights over a neighbouring piece of land or that the neighbouring land owner has rights exercisable over your land. Under usual circumstances the need for a right of way is fairly clear, however sometimes the right is not so obvious for example if it relates to private underground drains or pipes. At the time of purchasing the property it is your legal representatives job to inform you of any such rights.

A right of way can be a complex subject, at times the rights can be quite confusing. Some of the right’s can consist of the following:

  • You can use a right of way as long as the right of way is used in a manner which is reasonable and necessary.
  • In the event the right of way is obstructed in any way then a diversion can be used as long as the diversion remains on the servient tenement.
  • If there is a secured gate on the right of way, this cannot be considered as an obstruction provided that the users of the right of way have access to the locking and unlocking of the gate.

This is one subject which is the centre of many neighbouring disputes. To be in the middle of a dispute with your neighbour can be very stressful and unpleasant.

When a dispute concerning a right of way arises?

It is very common for disputes to arise concerning right of ways. There are various ways in which the disputes can arise including, but not limited to the following:

  • When someone blocks or restricts the right of way
  • In the event repairs are required for the right of way, deciding who pays for the maintenance can become a dispute.
  • When the servient owner wishes to secure the property and decides to place secured/locked gates across the right of way.
  • When a development is planned over the right of way
  • When the issue of “what rights I have” arises
  • Disputes can also arise when the servient owner decides to change the route of the right of way.

When such disputes arise the most obvious thing to do is to check your documents ie title certificate, conveyance deeds for the terms and conditions and to confirm that there is an easement. Usually the documents should clarify the terms of the right of way and state the who has the responsibility for the maintenance of the right of way.

Once you have checked the documents, you will know whether your rights are being infringed. If this is the case the initial and most time efficient and possibly cost-effective thing to do is to try and talk to the relevant person and see if you can negotiate a settlement which accommodates all parties involved. However, having said that, it is important to know what your legal rights are before you approach the relevant person with your concerns.

If this approach is unsuccessful and the need for professional help arises then consider what your needs are before proceeding to seek the assistance.  

Right of way disputes can get very messy and complicated therefore it is important to consult a solicitor who can give you the correct advice and one who has knowledge in this area.

If you need help and advice regarding right of way disputes, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Sam Mukhtar
Latest posts by Sam Mukhtar (see all)
Sam Mukhtar

Sam Mukhtar is a paralegal at SCE Solicitors, she has over 5 years of legal experience. Prior to starting her role at SCE Solicitors, she worked in a regional firm in Greater Manchester dealing with civil matters before moving to Leeds and joining the SCE team.

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