Areas of Law / Property

I live in a semi detached house, and 40 years ago made a verbal agreement with my neighbour to have access over his land. I made a gateway and have had regular and unhindered access since. Now the neighbour has died and his house is up for sale, and the estate agent says the access will no longer exist. After such a long period am I not entitled to permanent use?

It is possible to gain rights over other people’s land by long usage through what’s known as prescription. But generally this can only be acquired where no permission exists – where the right has been exercised without permission, force or secrecy. However after 40 years I’d be reluctant to give this up without a fight. Carry on as normal until legal steps are taken to prevent you crossing the land, and don’t mention the agreement!

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