Question: In my lease I am obligated to pay my part for the repair and maintenance of a shared lane of a right of way used by myself, people from three other properties and a farmer. The farmer is liable for the upkeep of the road but some years ago, he sold a parcel of land and the right of way to a neighbour and the liability for maintenance of the shared lane passed to him. This new owner is now asking me to pay for a quarter of all repairs, rather than the original fifth. Was the farmer entitled to sell this right of way? And can the new owner rightfully increase my payment share?
Answer: The farmer was certainly entitled to sell his land and the right of way. However, the fact that there is a new owner of the shared lane should not affect your right to use it or the amount that you have to pay.
If the new owner wants to change the amount you pay, then the terms of your lease will have to be varied. A deed of variation would be needed and you would have to agree to that. The leases of the other leaseholders who have the right to use the shared lane would have to be varied, too — and again, they would have to agree to this.
If there is a mortgage, then the consent of the lender would be required to the variation of the terms of the lease. Indeed, if you did agree to the variation of your lease, as it is your neighbour who is seeking the variation in the first place, then your neighbour should be the one to pay your legal costs.
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Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.