Legal advice: Does my neighbour have a right of way through my property?
Our solicitor Deirdre Flynn tackles this issue
My neighbour claims he has a right of way through my land. Could this be true?
I recently bought a piece of land which had been rented for many years and got little maintenance. I spent a lot of money fencing the boundaries as there were a number of badly fenced gaps and my neighbour has sheep. When I was recently my herding cattle in one of the fields, I found that some of the fencing had been cut.
I repaired it and two days later when I was in that field again one of my new neighbours got my attention and told me that I could not fence off his land, that he has a right of way through my field and that’s why he cut the fence.
The deeds of the land don’t show a right of way, but he says it’s a gentleman’s agreement and one he is prepared to challenge legally. His field does not have road frontage, and the quickest way to the road is through my field. However, his field is accessible through his other fields and the right of way is, I think, just a short cut.
He said that the previous owner allowed him to move sheep through this (my) field to load into a trailer, but I don’t want this happening.
Answer: So, your neighbour states he has a right of way through your field and it was a gentleman’s agreement. Yet, you confirm this is not registered on the deeds of your property.
I assume from the information in your query that this was not disclosed in the documents furnished when you purchased the property? You should check this with your solicitor as the previous owner was obliged to inform you of any rights of way affecting the property, registered or not. This is a specific question that arises in the sale of property.
You confirm that while your neighbour’s field has no road frontage, it is accessible through his other fields and the route through your field is just a shortcut.