Boundary disputes are an extremely complex area of law. These disputes can also be very stressful, lengthy and costly to resolve.
Most people want to avoid escalating matters between them and their neighbours over the boundary or other property issue. However, unless these types of disputes are handled carefully and sensitively in the early stages, they can escalate quickly often with the parties becoming entrenched in their positions very quickly. It is key to get legal advice at the early stages.
The common assumption is that the boundary between your property and that of the neighbouring property runs in a straight line down the middle of the land. However, often this is not the case.
Boundaries differ and vary over time. In a lot of cases the boundary may have started out as a straight line but over time may have moved slightly or changed direction due to the removal and replacement of the boundary features such as a fence or hedge, agreements between predecessors of property and various other factors.
Determining who’s version of where the boundary line is located, is correct or who has a right to a piece of land can become a source of conflict and lead to disputes between neighbours. Boundary disputes are not uncommon however common causes of boundary disputes include:
- trees or hedges growing onto another’s property
- changes to party walls
- overstepping the boundary line and encroaching onto another’s property
- ownership of the land
- who has responsibility for repairs of the boundary features, such as a fence
- refusing of access to land
- objections to extensions
The simplest way to avoid becoming involved in a boundary dispute is to communicate with your neighbour. Always speak with your neighbour before you start any work on any boundary features, such as if you wanted to repair or replace the fence between your properties. This can often avoid a boundary dispute entirely. If the person occupying the property next door does not own it and they are tenants, you will need to speak with the landlord, i.e the owner of the property.
Wherever possible put your requests down in writing and document their response. This paper-trail could prove invaluable should problems arise later on.
Buying or selling a house
f you are buying a house and are concerned about a potential or ongoing boundary dispute at the property you want to purchase, check the boundary features to see if you can spot anything unusual. You should look carefully at what is included and not included in the title deeds and ask your conveyancing solicitor to ask further questions of the seller if you are unsure or are concerned about the boundary or if the plan does not reflect what you see on the ground.
As a seller if you have had or are having a boundary dispute you need to inform your conveyancing solicitor of this. You will have to disclose this as part of any sale and most buyers will want to see that the dispute has been resolved before they will proceed with the transaction.
If you are having a boundary dispute with your neighbour and your conversations with them have reached a stalemate and discussions have broken down, we would always suggest that you obtain legal advice on your position. Here at Eric Robinson we will review your case and look at the possible ways to resolve it, both legally and on a practical basis. We regularly work to resolve boundary disputes between neighbours quickly and efficiently so that disagreements do not escalate.
If you are having problems relating to a boundary or you have reached an agreement where the boundary is and are wanting to have this documented, speak to our specialist property solicitors on 02380 218032 for advice. We offer a no obligation quotation and also offer a fixed fee hour appointment about your boundary or property dispute.
If you’d like to find out more about your boundary or property dispute, don’t hesitate to contact us at Eric Robinson on 02380 218032 or alternatively through our on-line chat on our website.