Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Have you registered your right of way?

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The issue of rights of way is going to become huge over the next few years according to solicitor Deirdre Flynn.

The year 2021 may seem far away, but it will be upon us before we know it and that brings with it the deadline before which rights of way must be registered, she says.

"A right of way, in its simplest form, is the right of a landowner to pass back and forth over the land of his/her neighbour. Some rights of way have restrictions and others do not but each right of way depends on its own circumstances.

"Rights of way cannot be sold separately, but must be passed on with the land whenever the land is transferred to a new owner."

She also said that a right of way can be established by written agreement between two landowners or by long use, for example, many rights of way were created when a land owner used a piece of land or private road, which belongs to another person, over a long period of time to get to his property. 

The main test to prove a right of way was the continuous use of the land for 20 years or more, she said.

"Up to 1 December 2009, rights of way acquired over long use like this would generally not be registered but now, due to the introduction of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 which commenced on that date, rights of way created by way of long use must be registered before the 30 November 2021 in order to protect them."

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