Access road leads home but ownership can pose problems
yours must project over on to the service road revealing the encroachment.
You can take comfort in the fact that the extension has been built for over 15 years. This time span does help your situation. But the fact you have access rights to your garden does not, in my view, provide you with any comfort with regard to the extension encroachment.
When you purchased your property your conveyancer would have sent to you or shown you a copy of the title plan to your property. Examination of the title plan would have revealed the protruding rear extension and the fact it was, in part, built on the service road land belonging to a third party. If this had been discovered then your conveyancer would, or should, have taken steps to regularise the title defect. These are your options : To approach the lady who owns the service road and ask if she would be willing to sign a transfer of the section of service road over which your extension has been built. The owner may, of course, require a consideration payment but on the basis the extension has been in situ for so many years this should be factored into any negotiation. This may be the most high risk option as if the land owner refuses, you are unable to progress the next option.
To arrange for an insurance indemnity policy to be taken out to protect your position should the new owner make may claims for possession of the section of land or require a compensation payment. However, to take this course of action you must not approach the current owner and you will be required to swear a Statutory Declaration (a statement of fact sworn under oath) confirming all circumstances.
Collectively all interested property owners in the row could make an offer for the land. Once purchased, it would then be an option to execute transfers of individual sections of land to the property owners who have encroached on to the land. Such transfer documents will require compliant plans in accordance with Land Registry requirements under Land Registry Rule 2003. Practice Guide 49 provides full details and is available online.
You will require the services of an experienced conveyancing property lawyer.
John Robson is Residential Conveyancing Manager at Ford & Warren Leeds.