In days gone by, before the installation of sewer mains virtually all household toilets were constructed at the most furthest point possible at the rear of properties. Sullage contractors would collect the waste and dispose of it.
Access to the rear of those properties was often through strips of land, usually approximately “three feet wide” (which is now 0.9 metres) meandering from side passages leading to narrow lanes passing along the rear of properties. In other cases, rights of way created over adjoining lands to facilitate that sullage removal. Those passages and rights of way were known as “dunny lanes”.
Virtually all dunny lanes have become obsolete and in many cases owners have basically enclosed their “portion” of the dunny lane within their properties although they do not own that portion of land.
We had a situation not long ago where a client purchasing a typically small property in Paddington for big bucks had an adjoining neighbour who had, some 10 years earlier, taken occupation of 6m2 of his land over part a right of way through that land to the property behind it. In other words, a dunny land from the street, through our client’s side passage to a property at the rear.
After extensive searching we established that the encroaching owner had no right over this particularly dunny lane and he was obliged to remove his encroaching structures.
The rear property no longer needed the right of way and so our client managed to increase his small back yard by 33% and add further value to his already expensive home.
You should contact us if your property has an adjoining passageway and you want to know if you can do anything about it.
Joe Vizzone is a partner of Vizzone Ruggero Twigg Lawyers and has 30 years of property and strata experience. He was previously a partner of Vizzone Ruggero & Associates (VRA) and Adrian Twigg & Co. If you believe you could possible have a dunny lane being encroached on please contact us on 02 9667 1271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org