27 April 2015

Waterfront properties; the less attractive parts…

Part 2 - click here if you missed part 1.

If I own my section of the river, can I stop Joe Public sailing past my garden?

All riparian owners enjoy the same rights, so anyone who owns a property on the same waterway has the right to pass down the river to access their property.

In addition, all members of the public have an automatic right to navigate and fish on tidal rivers, with similar statutory rights over most large, navigable rivers.

Public rights over waterways can also be acquired through long user and custom – as ever, inspect carefully to identify any possible such rights.

Am I liable for repairs to the bank?

If you own the riverbed and bank then it forms part of your property and if it falls into disrepair and causes injury or damage to third party property (e.g. you flood next door) then you may be liable. 

Where a navigation authority (often the Canal and Rivers Trust) is responsible for maintaining the bed and banks then they can sometimes recover the cost from adjoining property owners.  You can carry out a Canal and Rivers Search which will confirm whether the property is liable for such costs contributions.

Last but not least… make sure you have considered the possibility of flooding.  The Environment Agency has helpful maps which can identify flood risk and enquiries of the seller as to flooding history can be very relevant in the context of obtaining insurance and funding for purchases.

http://watermaps.environment-agency.gov.uk/

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