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Could you be held to ransom to gain access to your property?

When buying your new home, it is essential full searches on the rights of way to the property are carried out and an experienced conveyancer thoroughly investigates the access to your property.

Highway ransom strips are becoming increasingly common. These are strips of land which lie between the property you are purchasing and the publicly adopted highway. The strips of land are owned by an unknown third party, which means it will not be possible for you to go from the main road into your property without trespassing on the strip.

A way to avoid any claim or additional costs is to take precautionary action before purchasing the property. Land Registry searches would provide confirmation of who owns the land between the main road and the property. Inspection into the ownership of the land and potential overlay plans may also be drafted for submission to the Land Registry. Overlay plans are planning drawings which combine the Land Registry Title Plan and results of the highway search, to show whether the property can be directly accessed from the highway, without going over land belonging to a third party.

On the other hand for those who have already purchased a property, and discovered it may be subject to a ransom strip there may still be a solution. If your property has a ransom strip contact our property team who will use their experience and knowledge to see if there is a way to resolve the issue other than by payment of a ransom.

For rights of way and property advice contact Chris Sykes head of our property team.