IFA Welcomes New Simplified Procedure For Registering Rights Of Way – Bryan

IFA President John Bryan has welcomed the launch of a new simplified procedure for the registration of uncontested rights of way with the Property Registration Authority (PRA). Rights of way are a common feature of the Irish countryside, giving a landowner with a plot of land, which does not adjoin a public road, access over a privately-owned lane or land of a neighbouring landowner. It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of rights of way in existence, often for generations, but the great majority of them are unregistered.

The new registration procedure has been put in place by the PRA following the passing of amending legislation in the summer and the adoption last week of new land registration rules by the PRA and the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.

John Bryan said “this important initiative by Minister Shatter and the PRA is aimed at correcting flaws in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, which were identified by IFA.  The 2009 Act had caused serious concern among farmers who were obliged to go to court to obtain legal title to rights of way which had to be registered before 30th November 2012.  There were also major difficulties in the land market where the banks were insisting on good title before giving mortgages to purchasers”.

“The new rules firstly relieve the pressure on landowners by extending to 30th November 2021 the period for registering rights of way under the old law pre-2009.

Secondly, landowners will no longer have to incur the expense of going to court and may apply directly to the PRA for the registration of uncontested rights of way”.

IFA Assistant General Secretary, Bryan Barry, said under the new procedure a landowner claiming a right of way over a neighbour’s property may make an application to the PRA on a Form 5A, which is available on the PRA website.  This will involve:-

–          Swearing usage of the right in an affidavit and providing whatever proofs are available

–          Identifying the owner of the land over which the right of way is being claimed

–          Providing an original OSI map or a Land Registry map with the right of way marked on it and

–          Payment of a fee to the PRA of €25.

The PRA will then notify the owner of the other property concerned and, once the application is not contested, the right will be registered.  IFA is advising both landowners making claims and those subject to claims to seek proper legal advice to ensure their interests are safeguarded.

Mr Barry added that the new PRA procedure covers both the registration of easements which are mainly concerned with rights of way and the registration of profits à prendre which include shooting, fishing and turbary rights.

He stressed that the new procedure does not apply to rights of necessity for landlocked land and pointed out that the law regarding public rights of way and old mass paths is different.

“Where farmers have landlocked land, or where claimed rights of way are contested, landowners may still have to go to court to establish title to rights of way.  Nevertheless, this initiative by Minister Shatter and the PRA marks a major improvement on the 2009 Act and should facilitate the registration of uncontested rights of way at a reasonable cost to landowners”, Mr Barry concluded.

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