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Breaking and Entering

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Dear Sirs

Scots Law

I currently own a ground floor flat within a tenement which consists of eight flatted dwellings build around 1950. At present seven of these are privately owned (including my own) and one which is also on the ground floor remains the ownership of a local housing association. This was up till a few years ago owned by the local authority but transferred out to a local housing association.

Within the ground floor entrance areas there are seven old cellar cupboards, the title deeds are silent on these and a gentleman’s agreement was in place with regards to who used which one. The six upstairs neighbours have a cupboard each and the remaining has been used by myself for the last 13 years and prior to this the previous owner of my flat. During this time I have never been challenged over having to share this with anyone however a new tenant has arrived and is demanding the right of use of this cupboard. Why they have targeted this particular cupboard I assume is the fact that as we are also on the ground floor. The remaining cupboards are no different in that they are not referred to on anyone's title deeds.

I have now came home to discover that the cupboard has been broken into and the locks have been changed with a key being place through my letter box. Damage has been caused to the cupboard and frame. This work has been carried out by the housing association.

Where do I stand legally, can I make a complaint to police for breaking into the cupboard and further to that make a claim under positive prescription ownership of the cupboard? I have yet to contact the housing association as this has only happened as I thought I better seek advice first.

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The people who arguably own the cupboards changed them. Thats the end of that.

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If all of your title deeds are definitely silent on the cupboard ownership, then it may be that all eight of you each have a right in common property to each of the cupboards, check out the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004. (NB: I am not qualified to give legal advice, so I am not giving legal advice, just pointing you towards some light reading)

I would imagine that if you called the police out to this they might advise you: to speak to your other neighbours, to speak to the Housing Association, to confirm if you have a Tenement Management Scheme in operation, to have a look at the above Act, to discuss it with a CAB or solicitor. However, I don't imagine they would conduct a criminal investigation.

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