Birmingham Conveyancing highlights issues with private access ways

It is unusual to find a house in Birmingham that does not have direct access to a publicly maintained road,  however, Solicitor Jaaine Intharajah discovered a private access road during a recent Conveyancing in Birmingham transaction.

Jaaine was acting for purchasers, Mr and Mrs M, on their acquisition of a detached home on Groveley Lane, Cofton Hackett, Birmingham, B45.   Details and draft contract documentation were received from Gordon Jones & Company of 137/139 New Road, Rubery, Birmingham B45 9JR, acting both as the sellers agents and their Conveyancing Solicitors.

The title plan showed that there was no direct access onto Groveley Lane, but access to the road was over a private drive which ran across several adjoining properties. However Jaaine was pleased to see that the register contained a note that the land had the benefit of the following rights granted by but was subject to the rights reserved by a Conveyance dated 23 January 1956:-

“TOGETHER with the right for the Purchasers and the persons deriving title under them in common with the Vendors and the owners and occupiers of the four adjoining properties now or formerly of the Vendors to use the portions of the private drive shown on the said plan and coloured brown thereon the Purchasers and the persons deriving title under them paying their proportionate part of the expense of keeping the said private drive at all times in good and substantial repair and condition TOGETHER ALSO WITH the right for the Purchasers and the persons deriving title under them in common with the Vendors and the owners and occupiers of the adjoining properties and all other persons entitled thereto to use the drains running in through and under the adjoining properties and which have been constructed for the benefit of the property hereby conveyed and the said four adjoining properties subject to the Purchasers paying a proportionate part of the expense of keeping the same in good and substantial repair and condition EXCEPT AND RESERVED unto the Vendors and the owners and occupiers of the said four adjoining properties the right to use such portion of the said private drive as forms part of the property hereby conveyed and is coloured blue on the said plan the owners or occupiers for the time being of the said four adjoining properties paying their proportionate parts of the expense of keeping the said private drive in good and substantial repair and condition . . . "

The above excerpt was clear evidence that there was a legal right of access, which is not always the case. Many dwellings rely for access on a private right of way over adjacent land, but their titles do not show that a legal right was previously granted by a competent landowner. When this situation arises during Conveyancing in Birmingham it is often necessary for sellers to make a statutory declaration and pay the premium for an indemnity insurance policy, thus involving additional time and costs.

Jaaine asked the sellers to confirm that they had always been able to use the driveway without objection from any of the adjacent owners, and also that it had not been obstructed in any way. They confirmed that this was so, and that no additional payment was made to use it.

From a legal standpoint, there were no other significant concerns which enabled Jaaine was to give a clear certificate of title to the mortgage lenders and the purchase was rapidly completed, much to the clients’ satisfaction.

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