Last Updated on 15.2.23 by Danielle Clements
Disputes with neighbours are common. Whilst we would all like to ideally live harmoniously side by side, occasionally scenarios will crop up that lead to disagreements.
One of the more common disagreements between neighbours are boundary disputes. These disputes start when two neighbours fail to agree on where exactly one person’s property ends and the other’s begins.
Boundary disputes occur for a number of reasons. Most commonly one might object to another’s plans to extend their property or construct an outbuilding in a particular area, there may be a disagreement over the erection of fences or walls, one may feel an overgrown hedge or tree is encroaching onto their property.
Before any disagreement has the opportunity to turn into a dispute, it’s important to establish who owns the land. You do this by looking at the deeds. These are more important than the Land Registry title plan, which will just show the general, physical boundaries of your property rather than legal parameters.
The exact layout and extent of boundaries can often be surprisingly complex. It’s often the case that boundaries aren’t clearly mapped out.
Also, Boundaries can change significantly over time due to removal, replacement or adjustment. Such confusion can lead both parties to believe they are in the right, which can ultimately lead to a drawn out dispute.
Boundary disputes don’t just occur between existing neighbours. If you’re moving into a new home and are intending on making changes that may affect the boundaries of the property, there are a number of steps you can take pre-sale to avoid running into a dispute down the line.
- Check the filed title plan that your conveyancers send you to ensure the boundaries on the ground match the legal title. If there are any discrepancies, raise it with your legal advisor to ensure the plan and/or boundaries issues are dealt with prior to becoming legally bound to purchase the property.
- Ensure your conveyancing solicitor advises you what the actual legal title deeds say about the boundary position and responsibility for maintenance and repair.
- If in doubt at all, contact the Land Registry or Valuer to have a boundary survey (although there will be a charge for this).
How to resolve a boundary dispute?
There are a number of steps to be taken when attempting to resolve a boundary dispute. It’s important to avoid rushing into legal proceedings. You should always attempt to address any disagreement amicably and be sure to give your neighbour adequate time to address any concerns you bring forward (and vice versa).
We suggest the first step you take is to talk to your neighbour. Tempers can flare and emotions run high when a boundary dispute emerges, however, you may be surprised at what informal negotiations can achieve. If your neighbour is a tenant, then you may be able to address the dispute by discussing it with their landlord instead.
If you are unable to resolve the issue between yourselves, you may want to consider legal action. As mentioned before, boundary disputes are rarely straightforward and often very complexed. This is where specialist legal assistance can prove indispensable. We recommend contacting a trusted solicitor who specialises in boundary disputes.
If you have a boundary dispute or need to talk in confidence about your rights or a potential issue that may arise contact Danielle Clements today using the details below.