Last Updated on 14.8.17 by Danielle Clements
A recent case concerning two sets of Stockport borough residents is a stark reminder of how bitter feuds over boundaries and land can turn picturesque, suburban areas into war zones all over a few inches of land and what neighbours deem to be theirs.
The recently reported case between neighbours Mo Casillas and Carol Dickinson, which escalated from a petty dispute over a driveway, has now cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, a marriage and to some degree sanity.
Of course, this reported dispute is on the more drastic scale of neighbour disputes however, the fundamentals involved in the case ring true for many boundary and neighbour disputes that we come across; they can cause many years of heartache, emotional distress not to mention be a financial burden on all involved.
Tackling a neighbour dispute early…
When boundary and neighbour disputes arise, it is important to find a resolution that’s as fair and as hassle-free as possible. You should consider seeking expert assistance in the event of a boundary or neighbour dispute as professional expertise could help you conclude the dispute swiftly.
Depending on the nature of the dispute it is important to seek the right advice; for example if the dispute is in relation to noise your first point of contact should be your local authority as they will need to assess the environmental impact this is having for you to then take appropriate action.
If the dispute relates to a boundary, land or access issue, which was the cause of the bitter dispute between Mrs Casillas and Mrs Dickinson, obtaining a copy of your title deeds to determine boundaries and land lines is your first port of call. However, it is also a sensible idea to seek the advice of a property solicitor who will be able to help you understand what you are looking for.
Tackling more serious neighbour disputes…
Some neighbour disputes albeit rare can escalate into very serious arguments. As with the case reported between Casillas and Dickinson, one neighbour can become bitterly embroiled which can take the dispute from a civil case to bordering on criminal behaviour. The case reported Mrs Dickinson stabbed another neighbour over a ‘For Sale’ sign outside Casillas’ house; this is extreme but shows how emotions can run very high in these circumstances.
If a dispute has escalated to an extreme, circumstance then now is the time to seek professional legal advice; the dispute may be so far along that you the legal battle could be costly however trying to handle it alone will only make the situation worse.
Get the right advice
At Gorvins, we do whatever we can to settle disputes by negotiation first. Commencing legal proceedings isn’t something that should be done lightly, which is why we try to use alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration. However, we recognise that sometimes court action is the only way to resolve disputes.
Costs are a big factor but as with the reviewed case above there are options available including claiming on your home or car insurance if you have legal cover included as an extra on your policy.