Calling all property and land solicitors on AVF!

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by 1crb1, Jun 21, 2018.

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  1. 1crb1

    1crb1
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    Hi all I’m looking for some advice, hopefully the all knowing and experienced AV forum must have a land and property solicitor/lawyer on board?
    So basically I have a boundary/ garden issues. My land reg title plans show my rear garden finishes against the back wall of a row of garages. The garages are owned by properties to the rear beyond that. There land registry’s all show there land ends at the back of said garage wall. When we moved into to the house, I queried land registry if this line was correct which they confirmed. There were lots of overgrown trees and and old fence some way away from the boundary.i naturally removed them to take full of advantage of my land. Unfortunately I found two locked outbuildings built and attached to back of the garages. Cutting a long story short, I was told that when I Purchesed the property,I purchased everything within my boundary so I can do as I please with everything within it. There is a fair bit more to this story which I won’t go into but I have now had correspondence from the garage owner from his solicitor to say i am trespassing and that I have 14 days to reinstate the fence line forward Of the garage wall 10 foot. Failure to comply and they will File a injunction with the courts to relocate and for a decleration as to he correct position of the boundary. They have attached a chartered surveyors independent report that states a lot of ‘in my opinions’ but not a lot of concrete evidence. I don’t have money to thrown at this, i suspect they don’t either. I’m hoping someone could spare a quick reply as to what’s what and what I should do?! Thanks in advance
    1crb1
     
  2. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Ask to see the land registry entry that shows the land belongs to the plaintiff and not you.
     
  3. 1crb1

    1crb1
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    I have applied and downloaded there land registry, can it be seen on there?
     
  4. 1crb1

    1crb1
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    Just to add this all on the surveyors opinion, nothing more
     
  5. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    I would have thought so... If the land registry details show that the land is yours I'm not sure there's anything they can do. Unless it's one of those odd instances where they've had sole access to it for 30 years or something so can claim it for their own. Either way, if you moved in recently, I'd get back to your solicitor over this.
     
  6. 1crb1

    1crb1
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    Looking through everything I have nothing shows they own it. The surveyors whole report just states that in his opinion the boundary should be in favour of him. I can safely assume that none of the title deeds legally show he that he owns it as the solicitor/surveyer would have provided it as concrete proof?!?
     
  7. jenam93

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  8. Bl4ckGryph0n

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    Does that work as well when the land was registered?

    @OP I read @IronGiant advice as asking the sollitor who wrote to you for the evidence from the land registry that show his client owns it. And why not to be reasonable, include a photo copy of your version but only if the land markings where it clearly states (according to you) that it belongs to you.

    Don’t be intimidated but do respond in a succinct and firm but fair manner. No need to rack up the costs just yet. Call their bluff. Also I would add a paragraph playing back their words regarding trespassing, where basically you apply similar rules if the person tries to access ‘their’ “outbuildings” that have been illegally erected on your land.

    And then once they’ve supplied their evidence then take that to your solicitor who helped with your purchase to ask for your money back and tell him to do his job properly :p
     
  9. Cocksure

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    Op you seem to be removed from reality when it comes to this (no offence :)). This is going to cost you major money one way or another.

    They may well not own the land that the buildings are on, but the buildings are already there and where there when you bought the land so that will give them some legal status. Besides the owners have nothing to lose by fighting it every step of the way (apart from money), but everything to lose if they don’t.

    Think about it from there view, if they accept your case they will have to a)find another storage unit, b)move everything, c)have to pay for the removal and making good of the buildings and land. All of that costs money. To them spending 5k fighting you to you drop it is probably the better option from a financial point of view.

    If they didn’t want to spend money on it then they wouldn’t have immediately lawyer up as they did. They may well have a weak case but frankly so what, unless you are prepared to take it to court then how weak their case is is irrelevant.

    All I’m trying to say is know what you are getting into, land disputes are virtually always expensive and hard fought with it potentially taking years to resolve
     
  10. hippo99

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    Can a business claim 'squatter rights'? I wouldn't have thought this would apply to this garage owner.
     
  11. Cocksure

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    I think they can though it is probably called something else. If you can prove that you have been there for 20 years plus then you have some legal claim to use of land, not ownership granted, but if you have use rights then not having ownership doesn’t matter.

    What strengthens there case is that the op is a new owner meaning that he should have checked this all out before buying. Because he didn’t or assumed then the op was in effect accepting the current situation. Be very surprised if that argument doesn’t pop up at some stage.

    Also land registry plans can be wrong, not often but it’s not unknown which is why the otherside hired someone to say that is the case here. The fact that it’s all “in my opinion” means nothing as expert witness reports are always in my opinion. My own on going legal case that I got two expert witness reports on both said “in my opinion” even with pictures to back it up!

    Edit
    Op you need to look at the deeds of your property to confirm where your boundaries are, if the land is yours then your better cause of action might be to accept the lose of the land and instead go after the vendor for misleading you to the amount of property included in the sale.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  12. 1crb1

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    None taken! Little bit to add. Around four years ago I sent him a letter with my findings, then a notice to say I will be taking back my land. He then got a solicitor and due to some complications with a small peice of unregistered land and the fact what I would gain would be minimal I let it go and simply fenced round the out building. Since then I haven’t heard a thing until now?! The report was compiled 2015 and only now they are wheeling it out.
     
  13. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    That helps :)
    I think (though someone I'm sure can confirm) that once you start a legal issue you have 6 years to follow up on it to allow for the gathering of evidence etc.

    If you put up the fence then taking it down was a very smart move :) and I understand why they are making such a big deal about it. After x years then that fence would become a legal boundary, at 10 years it becomes case closed, after 12 months it gains some legal status which remains the same until the 10 year mark. However, you put it up and sent them a letter over the issue at the time which weakens its legal status, more importantly, you cant cause criminal damage to something you own.

    Unfortunately for you they are really going to want that fence back for the reasons above. Have you replied to the letter from their lawyer yet? You have 28 days to do so. You need to send a reply quoting your original letter, a copy of the land registry plans (deeds plans if possible), reminding them that you were the one who put the fence up so you can take it down etc, and most importantly saying bring it on!

    IMO legal disputes have very little to do with facts and way more to do with playing chicken, if they believe that you will fight it with your dying breath then they will think twice about bring an action in return. Doesn't rule it out, but does reduce it. Besides you can always back down at any stage later, for now, its just letters which cost you nothing and them £120 plus a time. Many a legal action has been dropped by running up expensive letters for the other side.
     
  14. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Why do you think he might have done? :confused:
    When he moved in:
     
  15. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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  16. 1crb1

    1crb1
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    Ok
    Do you have any law background, specifically regarding the injunction? I understand it normally is a case of chicken but if I play chicken and by him starting the injunction I’m left with a huge legal bill?!
     
  17. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    He hasn't taken that one down has he? @1crb1 can you confirm?
     
  18. 1crb1

    1crb1
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    N
    No i haven’t
     
  19. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Legal training, no :(
    Simply someone who likes to use lawyers :D and seem to be gifted at getting into legal disputes :(

    Until it goes to court there is no legal costs as its a court that awards those costs (if they win and the court feels it justified), up until that stage you lose nothing by fighting it other than time and driving there costs up :).

    They haven't started court action against you yet only threatened it. Lawyers have a legal duty to try and resolve legal disputes without it going to court, so they have to reply to your letters, then the next one and on and on until it becomes clear that they have no option but to go to court. Until you reach that stage which is a long way off yet, you have no costs to worry about. They will know doubt say you do, but that's back to playing chicken. As long as you are reasonable in your letters (here's my case, prove yours, disagree with that because etc), then until you reach the point where no further progress can be made and court is required, they cant get legal costs off you. Once court is started you can drop it then, at the very worse they could try to claim the court costs fee's at that stage but it would be unlikely and would ultimately require a fresh court application to do so. They certainly couldnt claim legal expenses to that point (or get it).

    You have a legal right to defend your case without fear of legal costs, changes when things go to court, but until that point it applies. They have chosen to handle this via a lawyer not you, so their legal costs are there own until it reaches court and they win their case and only then if the court agrees to it.
     
  20. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Must confess I'm getting confused over these fences now, I thought there was only one, when is it 2??? :confused:

    OP could you post a basic drawing showing the fences/buildings and which one you have removed/put up etc
     
  21. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    There was an old fence 10? feet into his property when he purchased some time ago. He took that down so he could make use of that land and discovered the out building, which he fenced off 3 or 4 years ago.
     
  22. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    Just done a quick google search and an Injunction really isnt that big a thing
    https://www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/services/department/dispute-resolution/injunctions/injunctions-faqs

    They would only get a tempory injunction until the case was heard if you objected, so its far from the end of the matter. You would need to reinstate the fence that you took down if you lost which depending on your evidence isn't guaranteed, but even if you did it would still need to proceed to court for a final ruling on the matter as the 1st stage is tempory ruling.

    They would also need to make the case for it which isn't so straightforward as it 1st appears, as long as you keep of that disputed land, then all that has happened is that a boundary fence has been removed which doesn't threaten their assets as such. Your garden is fence off yes? so the land is still secure as long as you keep off etc. Pretty weak case when you stop and think about it but an excellent bluff. What they should be hitting you with is criminal damage and the cost to make good, not an injunction. An injunction is to stop you entering the area, but that isn't what they have threatened you with???
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  23. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    So are they bring action about the 1st fence that he took down or the 2nd fence that he put up and has now taken down? A plan would help a lot for me :)

    If its the 1st fence then they have accepted it for 3 to 4 years which makes a difference if its the 2nd then he is removing what he installed which again makes a difference. Far from as straightforward as the other side is making out anyhow. (assuming I'm reading it right :confused:)
     
  24. 1crb1

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    The fence position relating to his alleged land is a couple of feet different to where it was.
     
  25. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    The second fence hasn't been taken down, and the action is regarding re-instating the 1st fence. :D
    The main issue is the dispute over whose land it is, and apparently where the boundary lies, if it exists anywhere than down the line of the garages.
     
  26. Cocksure

    Cocksure
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    So there is still a fence between them and this is over the fence that was taken down 3 plus years back? In which case zero chance of getting an injunction in that case! You can hardly argue that something you have accepted for 3 plus years is suddenly now putting you at risk when it hasn’t before.

    Reading that right?
     
  27. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    I think so :) Although it's not entirely clear whether the second fence runs across the back of the property immediately behind the out building or boxes it in.
     
  28. Cocksure

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    It’s been down for a good few years anyhow and a key requirement of an injunction is to prevent a threat, risk of harm etc. Which they have no case for after so long.

    Op that is what your letter back to them should say, you will challenge it on those grounds. There response will tell you the next stage, they will either make out an argument or more likely just say you are wrong and will lose etc with very little else other than warnings and threats. The more threatening there letter then the weaker there case ime
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  29. Trollslayer

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    How much would you sell the land for?
    After all, you weren't using it.
     
  30. has2mow

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    I had a boundary dispute on my last house, the size missing was 126 ft by 19ft.

    You can employ any one you like to enforce your argument and the same for any one claiming to own the land, the only one with any ruling on this is Land registry,and they are God in this matter, old hand drawn maps also have an error of around 3 feet as that can be the thickness of the line drawn.

    Land registry also have changed the views on ownership it registers what was measured and what was applied for not what shows on a map.

    Do not waste money on solicitors and getting independent advice from so called registered insured helper not worth the paper it is written on, Land registry end of.

    For adverse possession you need 12 years plus. and so much proof and from past owners with solicitors letters as well.

    If I can help I will do.

    Best advice I can give is to ask for proof of ownership from Land Registry, avoid the solicitors and only accept info from the Land Registry, to which you will then reply to.

    I had over 36 years of proof of ownership, letters from all existing neighbors and past neighbors, all signed at a solicitor that I paid for and private Land dispute people that cost £600 for less than an hours work, and a solicitor at £200 an hour. I also had all the original paperwork going back to 1850 which gave the garden its size.

    Land registry finally visited, and agreed we owned the land, and put it down to error as that meant they were not liable to costs.

    Good luck.
     

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