Right of Way and Easement Disputes

An easement is the right for someone to go on to another’s property to use it in a specific way. Some of the most common easements include: a right of way (whether on foot, by vehicle or both); a right to park; right to support; and a right to light.

Rights of way and other easements are created in one of three ways:

  • Express
  • Implied or
  • Long-use (need at least 20 years)

Easement and right of way disputes are some of the most common neighbour disputes. This is often because one (or both) of the neighbours is uncertain about whether the right exists, the extent of the right, or the way that the benefit or burden pass to them. Disputes often include allegations of preventing access, failure to maintain or repair the right of way, or excessive use.

If a dispute arises over a private right of way, if it is an express easement, the first thing to do is to check your Land Registry property title and/or deeds to confirm the terms.  Sometimes (but not normally) there will be an accurate description of the extent and a statement of who is responsible for its maintenance.

Next, consider whether your rights are being infringed and the amount of inconvenience you are suffering.  Try talking to your neighbour to find out what their point of view is and then see if you can negotiate a settlement that accommodates both your needs.

If this fails, or if your neighbour is unapproachable in the first instance, and you need professional help, then this may assist to confirm who you should approach.

  • If you need someone to measure and show wide the right of way is, you need a chartered land surveyor.
  • If you need someone to interpret the legal terms of the grant of easement, or you need a declaration of your right of way and an order preventing your neighbour obstructing you from using it or an injunction to stop a neighbour trespassing on your land, you need a solicitor.

Judge & Priestley Solicitors can offer down to earth advice on these disputes. Whilst we will always provide clear guidance on the law and the merits of each case, we appreciate that such disputes are often best resolved through mediation. However, successful outcomes at mediation require a full understanding of the detail and merits of the dispute and the possible outcomes if litigation follows.

If you would like to know more about right of way and easement disputes, then please select ‘make an enquiry’ or call us on 020 8290 0333 to talk to one of our experienced solicitors.


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