My neighbour has asked that we permit them to lay water, sewage, ESB and telecoms to pass over our lands so as they may build a home.
In principle, we do not have any great issue with the request and are happy to accommodate. What we do not want is a situation where they feel as though they can come into our property and go where they wish and for whatever purpose.
They showed us a map with where they intend laying the pipes. Is there anything that we can do to be certain that this is what they actually do? What should we do to protect our interests and be sure that they only stay in the area that we consented to?
All properties should have access to the public road, either by title along road frontage or by a right of way, and connections to services along public roadways are usually provided along these means of access.
All property transactions must be documented in future to ensure the de facto situation on the ground corresponds with the recorded legal position to make sure that information supplied by the new e-Conveyancing system is reliable. Therefore, informal and verbal agreements will no longer be considered legal.
Both parties to any agreement provide security for themselves and their successors by documenting details of the agreement. This permits neighbours to clarify and amend it to ensure the agreement correctly captures their intentions before it is signed. Agreements also need to be registered so that their existence can be discovered and their details can be clarified and Land Registry is the appropriate national register in this regard.
The map supplied by the neighbour indicating a proposed wayleave may not consider any of your plans, or existing services, so it may need amendment to include the best entry and exit boundary points and the best route across your land. Once this corridor is agreed it needs to be marked on site.
For the construction phase, the agreement should state when the work should be carried out (start and end dates), any restrictions (time, location, etc), how deep the services should be buried, what machinery may be used, how machinery can access your land, how any damage created by machinery is made good, and how the wayleave should be restored upon completion.
An ‘As Built’ survey of the services should also be conducted before the services are buried to accurately record their location and depth on a map to be registered with the agreement. The agreement should also detail how access is controlled to these services in the future for any maintenance work.
The issue of costs also needs to be clarified. Since you are accommodating your neighbour, all costs of construction, surveying and legal fees should be paid by your neighbour. The value of your property may also be affected, maybe adversely by limiting some of your development options, or maybe positively by creating new development opportunities. Your local auctioneer can advise on this.
Dr Daragh O’Brien is a Chartered Geomatics Surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, www.scsi.ie