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Case Study: Rights of Way subject to CPR

10th January 2017

In another nod to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), The Property Ombudsman has defended an agent against an alleged misrepresentation relating to rights of way.

The property in question was advertised and sold with access to rear parking. With no parking to the front, vehicular access to the rear was accessible via a route over which the sellers had confirmed there was a right of way.

Once the transaction completed the neighbouring property advised the buyers that the access route actually belonged to them and there was no right of way over the land, preventing access to rear parking.

A complaint was made and The Property Ombudsman stepped in to adjudicate.

In reaching a decision the TPO considered what was reasonable to expect of the agent when investigating the particulars. It noted that the sellers had confirmed they had access over the land for 40 years and had signed off the particulars which identified that the property was for sale with rear parking. It also noted that an agent would not be expected to have the sort of legal training required to investigate such matters.

In reality the failure in this instance lay with the solicitor who should have investigated the right of way given its importance in terms of access to the rear of the property. However there are ways to undertake an initial investigation.

Many agents will be ordering Land Registry OC1 Title registers as part investigations into the ownership of the property. The OC1, which is split into 3 parts, also includes other important details which can be used to inform potential further investigation, including details of access rights;

  • Section A: A description of the property, including details of rights of access or restrictions
  • Section B: Who owns the property, including correspondence details
  • Section C: Charges against the property, including mortgages, covenants etc

An investigation of part A of the OC1 could have revealed whether or not the property benefited from the access discussed above.



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