Did you buy the road?

Sam could not understand why they were erecting the gate on the footpath. That was his shortcut to the bus stop, and had saved him many times when he was late to get out of the house. The children felt safe using the pathway on their way from lesson in the early evenings. So why were those men erecting a gate there. To his knowledge, there hadn’t been any cases of violence or any crime along that foot path and Mrs Kelechi had not reported any incidents to him.

By 3pm that afternoon the gate was not only fully erected, the cement had dried and it had a large padlock fitted to it. His wife called him to say. The nanny had to take the children right around on the busy road to get to their house. Ditto Emmanuel’s children. He spoke to Emmanuel, this called for a meeting.

Emmanuel and Sam had bought the house from Alberta Mining Company Ltd and they had been assured of access through that pathway. It was onr of the attractions of the house. They approached Madam Kelechi and since the gate was locked they experienced what their families had experienced in the afternoon. Sam made a mental note of getting his family up and leaving early the next day.

Madam Kelechi was adamant. The part of the foot path that was on her land was no longer available to them. She had granted access to Alberta Mining Company Ltd as a special concession.  She was not asking for any payment or money she simply did not want her neighbours using the footpath any longer. They begged her but she did not yield. Then they thought why not get their lawyer to read her a threat.

Sam and Emmanuel’s lawyer told them there was no need for a threat. They had the right that the Easement granted to Alberta Mining Company Limited passed on to them as the new owners of the house. Kelechi too had inherited the easement from her predecessor in title. They traced the history way back to about 20 years. They were entitled to use it but only as a footpath. They could not store their used or un-serviceable items there as the right was granted for pedestrian and vehicular access only.

An Easement is a right over someone else’s property for a specified use. It is never assumed. An Easement does not pass legal title to the grantee. It is only a right of use. There are many new property estates being built today and estate roads constructed. You only buy the house you don’t buy the road. Residents need to move around. Do you have a contract? Who holds the title to those roads and does your contract grant you easements over those roads?

The roads within an estate are not public roads. You bought house, did you buy the road as well? You need to clarify that with your property developer.

Sisi Lawyer discusses relationship issues with a legal slant 

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