Hi
We are currently in the process of buying a plot on a Avenue of approximately 57 houses.
All properties are supplied services via a verge at the frontage approx. 500mm from their boundary lines.
Our time scale to date is now over 1.5 years to obtain rights of way, finance etc.
We now face the possibility of losing the land and monies committed due to this time scale.
The issue we now nave is that we do not have a deed to access the services but do have one for vehicle access to the site.
We will be building onto the verge for a driveway.
As the distance is so small will it be necessary to obtain a deed ?
We are considering to instruct our solicitors to go ahead with the exchange with the knowledge that all other dwelling on the avenue have services connected via the verge I know this does not seem wise but we are holding on to our dream as much as we can.
Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
Kindest regards
George

Comments
  • Adam

    George,

    I would urge you to tread carefully here. Having experienced similar issues with easements in the past, albeit it for vehicular access, I know what a strain it can be when what you want is so close you can almost touch it.

    I would urge you to delay completion on the plot until you have managed to gain an easement from the landowner. The main reason being that these small tracts of land can sometimes be referred to as "ransom strips". Once you own the land the owner of the strip can name their price for the right to lay your services across it. It is a very unscrupulous practice but one which does unfortunately exist.

    That the verge is not sold to you as part and parcel of the plot is the point of concern. There may be a valid reason for this that I am not aware of (after all this isn’t really within my sphere of expertise) but you hear the horror stories. "Caveat emptor" was never more pertinent than in situations such as this.

    The plus point is that there are already plenty of houses on the road whom all must have similar easements in place. Were any of these homes self built? It may be worth asking around to see what other owners say.

    It is a straightforward task to identify the owner of the strip via the land registry database. Your solicitor can do this for you or you can look yourself online. The granting of a deed of easement should cost you about £700 in solicitors fees on top of the cost of the easement. Often in these cases you are asked to pay the solicitors fees of the person granting the easement.
    Once this issue is put to bed then you are free to get stuck into the remainder of the project.

    Best of luck.

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