‘Will having a Right of Way through my garden devalue my property?’

Linda J. Dodson

Every week, The Telegraph’s Property Doctors bring expertise on renovations and DIY, interiors, buying and selling, lettings, legal issues and taxes. Send your questions to [email protected]

Q I hope you can help me about whether a Right of Way (Row) will devalue my property. I live in a small bungalow in a rural hamlet in Cornwall and have the opportunity to buy a plot of land of approx 572 square metres adjoining my garden.

My back garden is approx 80m long and 18m wide, and the extra plot  would extend the length by about 32m. The plot includes a Row registered on the Council’s Definitive Map which runs through the width of the plot.

I am offered either the plot up to the Row (at £8,000 for 211 square metres) which would leave me with the Row running along one of my boundaries. Alternatively I could buy the whole plot (£10,000 for 361 square metres), so would have a Row dissecting my enlarged garden and leaving a non contiguous element. I am concerned that the existence of the Row may have the effect of devaluing my property overall. Is that a realistic concern?  

JT, Cornwall

First, let’s tackle buying the larger stake which includes the Right of Way access. The Row makes it more difficult to do something meaningful with your extra garden because you will have to leave the path unobstructed. 

Being in possession of a ROW also throws up liability issues. You would have to check your household insurers would cover you if a third party got injured on the Row – such as tripping over.  Check for trees, too, as the care of any overhanging branches would be your responsibility too. 

It’s your responsibility, but useable – which negates its value. The main problem with buying the extra garden up to the Row but not including it, is that people who have been using the Row for years may well stray off it. There’s a classic danger here that walkers (and their dogs) do not respect boundaries.

A Row on the land or along the boundary may not technically devalue the property but it might deter a further buyer, which could have the same impact on the price you can get. 

Becky Fatemi runs Rokstone Properties in Marylebone, London (rokstone.com)

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