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‘Manorial rights’ warning

Property owners should properly investigate claims relating to ancient ‘manorial rights’ an expert from Lancashire law firm Napthens has warned.

Manorial rights date back to feudal times and allow Lords of the Manor – titles which can now be bought – to claim rights over property. Applicants can demand to carry out activities on the land, such as mining for minerals without consent of the owners of the Land.

The traditional right has been thrown into the spotlight recently.

A new report from the all-party justice select committee has revealed that in the months between December 2012 and July 2014, 84,000 manorial rights notices were registered, compared to just 3,200 in the previous ten years.

The report says that the surge in claims was due to holders of the rights hoping to meet a deadline in 2013, but warns that more than 100,000 other claims exist already on title deeds.

Helen Clutterbuck, solicitor in the Litigation team at Napthens, reveals this means property owners may discover there is a claim for such rights over their property even though there is nothing in their title deeds concerning such rights.

She said “It’s possible for house buyers to purchase a property and not be aware of this possibility. Then it comes up and presents a real worry.

“Claims like this need to be properly investigated. Each case will depend on the specific circumstances. If you purchased your property after November 2013, and no such claim was registered against it before that date, then you may have a strong case for cancelling the application.

“Anyone who receives such a claim should take professional legal advice as soon as possible. There is some concern that claims can adversely impact upon the value of the property, and could prevent a sale from proceeding.

“There are hopes that the law will be changed but currently it still stands and is something homeowners should be aware of.”