Driveway ownership; property posers Your legal questions answered b* RICHARD BATTRICK.
QI have the deeds for a driveway to my property, but my neighbour insists she owns 18 inches of it. Could this be true? A The trouble with the plans included with title deeds is that they rarely mark boundaries to the last inch, so there is often scope for argument. If there is no fence or wall to mark the boundary this obviously adds to the difficulty. It's also possible (though more difficult these days) to lay claim to a neighbour's land by fencing it off for a period of years and using it as your own. Without seeing your deeds or knowing the layout of your property it's difficult to say whether your neighbour has a case. If it's not important I'd be wary of falling out about it.
Q Ten years ago we built a conservatory on to our bungalow, and I can find no trace of permission from the freeholder for this. I doubt that my late husband was aware that we needed permission, and I'm worried that they may want a substantial fee for retrospective permission. They offered to sell me the freehold some time ago but I declined.
A This is likely to come to light if you sell the property. Although a new owner probably couldn't be held responsible for you contravening the terms of the lease, a solicitor would be wary of recommending his clients to buy your house in these circumstances.
You should discuss with your own solicitor the way forward. Your lease may contain a formula for calculating what the freeholder's fee might be. Alternatively it may be better to buy your freehold and so remove the restrictions contained in your lease.
* RICHARD BATTRICK of Spicketts Battrick Solicitors, Albany Road and Clifton Street, Cardiff and Gelliwastad Rd, Pontypridd 029 2046 1480 www.spickettsbattrick.co.uk * The advice given here is of a general nature and will not necessarily apply in all circumstances. Readers should consult a solicitor for specific advice.