The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”) commenced on December 1, 2009, and updated the law concerning acquisition of easements and “profits à prendre”. Easements are rights over neighbouring land, for example a right of way, while a profit à prendre is an established right to take, for example, turf or timber from land. Recent newspaper articles have incorrectly stated that the time for registration of easements (including rights of way). While the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 at S.38 (b) refers to registration “within 3 years” this section was amended by the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 (“the 2011 Act) by substituting “within 12 years” for “within 3 years”. If you have a right of way over another individual’s land, whether by deed or by long use you have until 30th of November 2012 instead of 30th November 2012 to register that right of way. Rather than leave it until the last minute to register it would be prudent to take steps now to ensure the continued use of your right of way.
Who needs to be concerned?
If you access property through another’s property, for example a farmer accessing his lands through a neighbour’s land or a home owner accessing the back of a terraced house by means of a lane way, without the express consent of the land owner now you need to concern yourself about the continued use of this right of way. Prior to the introduction of the 2009 Act such rights did not require to be registered with the Property Registration Authority (PRA).
Alternatively you may have consent to the use of a right of way in a written Deed which could then be registered with the PRA. Such rights of way as they are created by a Deed would be clearly set out in the owner’s title to their property. However, not all written deeds granting a right of way have been registered so you should check with your Solicitor to ensure that the deed and right of way has been registered.
How do I register my Right of Way?
The 2009 Act envisaged an expensive system with involved an application to the Court. Thankfully the 2011 Act amends the 2009 Act and creates a new, simplified system allowing landowners to register uncontested rights of way with the Property Registration Authority (PRA) without the need of a court order. A landowner who claims to be entitled to a right of way must apply to the PRA by completing an affidavit and other documentation to register that right on the owner’s property. The PRA will put all the relevant parties on notice of the application. Provided that the PRA are satisfied that the documentation submitted is in order and sufficiently identifies and establishes the easement and there are no objections made by the owner of the property affected, the PRA will proceed to register the easement
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