How to Resolve A Boundary Dispute?

Boundary disputes are common and can become highly emotive. One estimate puts the annual number of disputes at over 6.5m. Whilst many disputes are resolved some can drag on for years at a huge cost.

How do Boundary Disputes Happen?

Disputes typically arise if a neighbour’s fence, hedge, or extension encroaches on what somebody believes to be their property.

Sometimes the trigger point is when someone erects a new fence or builds an extension. In other cases, a person might buy a property and notice that the boundary is not quite where they thought it was. Occasionally people inherit an unresolved and undisclosed boundary dispute when they buy a house.

Land Registry plans are based on the Ordnance Survey and whilst they give a general indication of where the boundary lies they are not necessarily exact in terms of the situation on the ground.  Equally, who is responsible for maintaining specific boundaries is also not always clear.

Avoiding Disputes

The Conveyancing process is an opportunity to identify and resolve potential disputes before you purchase a property. Fences or hedges that follow an irregular route should be compared to the property details and plans.

Your conveyancer is unlikely to visit the property so if you believe there appears to be a discrepancy between the plans and the position on the ground you should flag this up with your conveyancer.  there appears to be.

If a boundary line appears potentially to be contentious your conveyancer should ask very specific questions of the seller and make enquiries to ascertain if there is an existing dispute, 

Resolving Disputes

A discussion with your neighbour is the starting point but it is advisable to seek advice from a specialist surveyor sooner rather than later. If possible, seek to agree a surveyor consultation with your neighbour on a joint basis.  If this, or perhaps discussions with your neighbour, lead to an agreement, then a formal Boundary Agreement can be drawn up and recorded against the titles to the properties at the Land Registry 

If, however, reaching an agreement about the boundary line is unlikely, given the nature of the issue and the parties involved, early advice is recommended. 

PowellsLaw will always give you an honest appraisal of the merits of your claim and will advise you on the next steps and the potential ways in which to seek to resolve the dispute. 

Contact us at mailto:helpforyou@powellslaw.com or call us on 01934 623 501.

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