Real Estate Tip of the Week: Take notice
Published 2 March 2015
A recent case has reminded landowners how important it is to maintain a watchful eye on their estate, and to use notices to prevent prescriptive rights being acquired.
The case concerned the customers and suppliers of a fish and chip shop parking in a Conservative Club car park over a period of more than 20 years (the period which needs to be shown to gain a prescriptive easement). There were two notices that pre-dated the 20 years which made it clear the car park was for club members only.
The Court held that the notices were sufficient to prevent any easement being acquired by the adjoining fish and chip shop, and so the Club was able to preclude any further access.
It's always worth making periodic tours of your property to see whether unauthorised third parties are crossing or using it. If it is not practical to block accesses up, you should consider putting up notices so people know use or access is prohibited. The case also talked about the risk of old signs becoming redundant so you should also consider renewing older signs, to ensure everyone knows the prohibition remains.