You own a piece of land. Perhaps part is built on or perhaps it’s entirely vacant, ear marked for future development. Neighbouring owners have started to use that land as a shortcut to a local park and for parking. If third parties acquire rights over the property that could scupper your future development plans.
What do you have to do to protect your land?
Do I have to sue?
You’ve put up signs telling the users to stop, but they’re ignoring them. Do you have to call in the legal rottweilers? You can if you want to (and we’d be happy to help!), but you won’t lose your rights simply because you don’t take legal action.
Do I have to block them?
Fencing off or preventing access may well be a practical solution, but not doing so won’t mean that you’ve given up your rights.
So signs work?
To be effective, make sure that the signs:
- use clear words;
- can be easily seen;
- are replaced if damaged or vandalised;
- establish a “proportionate protest”.
Why are you telling me this now?
These principles were set out by the Court of Appeal in the recent case of Winterburn v Bennett.
Good news then?
Yes...but if you’re acquiring land and the Seller tells you they have rights over neighbouring property because they’ve used the rights for 20+ years, make sure you have a good look round to check that there aren’t any signs disputing the rights!