Public right of way claims – what are they, and can they be prevented?
As a landowner, you may have heard of the term ‘public right of way’ and wondered what it means. A public right of way is an area of land that is open to the public for passage, such as a path or roadway. In some cases, this right of way may be established through legal means, which can be complicated and frustrating for property owners. In this article, we will discuss what public right-of-way claims are and how to prevent them.
What is a public right of way claim?
A public right of way claim is a legal process that allows the public to use a certain area of private land for passage. These claims can be made by government bodies or by individuals, and they are typically made when there is no existing public access to a particular area. Once a claim has been made, the landowner is required to allow public access to the claimed area.
How are public right of way claims made?
Public right of way claims can be established through various legal means, including:
Right of way through lengthy time period
When someone uses a portion of private land for a specific period of time without the owner's permission, rights of way can occur. This is known as prescriptive easements. If this use is continuous and open, the user may be able to claim a right of way easement.
When a landowner voluntarily gives a portion of their land to the public for a specific use, such as a road or pavement, this is known as dedication. This dedication can be done through a written agreement or by simply allowing public use of the land for an extended period.
How to prevent public right of way claims
If you own land and want to prevent public right of way claims, there are several steps you can take. First, it is important to be aware of any existing rights of way or public access points on your property. This can be done by reviewing your property survey or consulting with a real estate solicitor.
If there are no existing public access points on your property, you can take steps to prevent claims from being established. One way to do this is to clearly mark the boundaries of your property with fences, signs, or other barriers. This can prevent people from entering your land and claiming a right of way.
Protecting your property
Public right of way claims can be a complicated and frustrating process for landowners. By understanding how these claims are established and taking steps to prevent them, you can protect your property rights and avoid potential legal disputes. If you have questions about public right of way claims or other property issues, it is always best to consult with a property solicitor for guidance.