MY FATHER WHO IS NOW UNDER A CARER HAS A HOUSE WITH THE GARDEN NOW FENCED. PRIOR TO THIS HE HAD ACCESS THROUGH THE FENCED PART AND IT CONNECTED TO THE NEIGHBOUR’S REAR GARDEN. WE HAD A SURVEYOR LOOK AT IT AND HE HAS CONFIRMED THERE IS SMALL STRIP OF LAND BELONGING TO MY FATHER. THE NEIGHBOUR THINKS OTHER WISE. I HAVE CONTACTED THE LAND REGISTRY AND MET WITH A BRICK WALL.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO REGISTER THIS AS A DISPUTE AGAINST THE NEIGHBOUR TO TRY AND FORCE HIM TO GIVE UP THE FIGHT FOR THE LAND?
I think you need to contact a solicitor. If the neighbour has taken over that piece of land for a number of years without being challenged, your father will lose the right to it. Sorry, I don’t remember how many years. At all events you should remove the fence. Actually, if you did that, you might force the neighbour to take legal action, which if you are in the right will be a good thing.
I believe that as a 'rule of thumb. If you stand to the front of property with the house at your back, the boundary on your right hand side is yours to maintain and control. So if the neighbour has put up a fence on your boundary they should have at least asked permission and should be on their land, not intruding onto yours. However it’s likely that is not a hard and fast rule and may differ in individual property and also through long practise. (eg if neighbours have always shared costs of fencing and maintenance.)
You really need that map of the property to see where the boundaries are and as already advised see a solicitor. If your father owns the strip of land or has access rights then the neighbours are probably acting illegally by denying him passage.
I wouldn’t destroy the fence without legal advice. Whether or not your father is physically able to use that access at the moment, you need to get it sorted out for the future.
I think if the land is registered and is taken over by a neighbour they have no legal right to it no matter how many years they maintain it. I think the span for legally obtaining land if not challenged was 20 years but only on unregistered land.
I am no expert - this is a mixture of property law I studied 30 years ago and recent advice from an estate agent over a ransome strip! so feel free to correct me.