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Previous agreed right of access

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  • Previous agreed right of access

    Looking for advice on what to do on the following…
    We have recently bought an old cottage which is in the end of a row of three. It is on a main road with no pavement but there are front walls surrounding front gardens for each property, also with private front gate access to each property, although going through these gates involves walking onto the main road for a short time.
    The previous owner of our house (he passed away) had a verbal agreement with the middle cottage that they could access their back garden by passing through his side gate and walking through his back garden. There is no easement in place as nothing showed on any of the searches when we were buying the property.
    We have a dog and because of the main road, we have decided to install a more robust self closing side gate followed by a full wood auto close lockable gate just beyond this for extra security to keep our dog safe from getting on the road. These are yet to be fully installed.
    Today two people passed through our side gate into our neighbours garden, they were ‘visitors’ of our neighbour and frankly we were a bit miffed at these strangers walking through our side gate and into the neighbours house when they walked past the neighbours front gate to access the side of our house. Why couldn’t they just go to our neighbours front door through this gate rather than pass through our garden?
    We told the neighbours when we moved in that we were getting a lockable gate installed, we said we would give them a key so they can access through it but we are not happy about all and sundry people coming through the gate to visit the neighbours. Twice before these people today have strangers walked from their back garden through ours to leave so we are thinking that the neighbours are taking liberties really by allowing all their visitors to access their property by walking through ours. We would also like to stop our neighbours passing through with their dog who attacked our dog the only time they met (completely unprovoked!) Our fear is if our dog is running free in our garden and the neighbour walks through with their dog, if our dog runs up to say hello and gets attacked again, what happens then?
    Where do we stand from a legal perspective? From what we gather the gentleman who owned the property before us moved to the house in 2012 so not sure when this access began but I don’t think it’s been 20 years where the neighbours could dispute this as being a right they have?
    In order to keep the peace with our neighbours we don’t mind offering them access through the lockable gate, but that this is just for them and not for all other people visiting the property and preferably not come through with their dog.
    Thank you for any advice.
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  • #2
    From what you say, it appears that you can explain to your neighbours that the agreement that they had with your predecessor was personal between them, and that it is not one that you wish to continue.

    But consider anything they say should they assert a stronger legal right.
    Lawyer (solicitor) - retired from practice, now in academia. I do not advise by private message.

    Litigants in Person should download and read this: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/..._in_Person.pdf

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