O is for obstruction (of rights)

O is for obstruction (of rights)

There’s a rule in football about obstruction which is often overlooked, where if a player impedes the progress of an opponent, an indirect free-kick is awarded.

The type of obstruction we’re most used to seeing occurs, for example, when a fence or building is erected at a property, and it impedes the neighbouring owner’s right of way or their right to lay services. Much like the obstruction rule in football, sometimes these rights can be ignored or overlooked either because, a deed which mentions them is missing, or all of the title deeds are lost.

Into the unknown

If the deed is missing, it will be difficult to determine the exact nature of the rights. However, there may be reference to the missing deed on the title, or in subsequent deeds, which gives an idea of who imposed the rights, when, and their general nature.

Where the title deeds have been lost, the Land Registry will often include reference on a property’s title to rights that may have been imposed before title registration.

...and the known too

Obstruction can occur with known rights too. Examples include past owners who have previously constructed an extension or porch, or as commonly seen at terraced properties, enclosed a rear passageway. Although these obstructions may have existed for a long time and it therefore appears that the rights have been ‘abandoned’, proving so is very difficult.

For this reason, purchasers may require protection against third parties establishing and attempting to exercise rights over their property in the future. To that end, we offer an Obstruction of Rights indemnity policy which covers:

  • legal costs in defending a claim in court or tribunal
  • damages, compensation, costs and expenses awarded by a court or tribunal
  • costs in complying with an injunction
  • reduction in market value of the property as a result of someone successfully enforcing the rights

It’s not just existing residential property we provide cover for; we also regularly receive enquiries for new developments, which we’re more than happy to consider.

For more information on our Obstruction of Rights indemnity policy, or for a quote, give us a call or email us.