Boundary points between properties can be difficult to establish, and disputes with neighbours are never easy to deal with.
As of the most recent census (2011), there were 23.4 million homes in England and Wales alone – which means you’re unlikely to be alone if you’re having a boundary dispute. Although they can be resolved without having to resort to legal action, it is important that you are well represented if action through the courts is required.
The property law specialists at First4Lawyers can examine your title deeds and help you to establish the best course of action to resolve a boundary dispute. Contact us for a no-obligation discussion about your circumstances.
What are boundary disputes?
When the physical boundaries between properties are adjusted, it can lead to a dispute over where the boundary legally lies.
For example, if someone erects a new fence in their garden, you might find that they have encroached onto land that you believed was yours. Reliance on Land Registry plans for making decisions over boundary adjustments often leads to such problems, as the Land Registry doesn’t determine the boundary of a property and its plans are often drawn with thick lines that can equate to several metres on the ground.
To establish the actual boundary you need to consult your title deeds. The deeds and the plans attached to them will provide a more accurate guide to the boundaries of your property, which may have altered over time due to agreements between previous owners.
How can I establish the boundaries of my property accurately?
The process can involve consulting a chartered land surveyor to find out the actual boundaries of your property. They will utilise the title deeds and plans, survey the land itself and use historical documents and aerial photographs to establish the most accurate possible picture of the property boundaries.
Important factors to consider that affect property boundaries include watercourses that may have diverted or meandered over time, or new fences, walls, or buildings that have encroached on boundaries without being recorded in the property plans.
Bear in mind that surveyors cannot always establish where your boundary actually lies, and even if they can, their advice does not hold any legal power and is only a professional opinion.
If a dispute cannot be resolved by mediation or negotiation between parties, then you may require legal assistance to ensure your rights and your property are protected.
I’ve been accused of encroaching on someone else’s boundary – what should I do?
The first step is to seek assistance from a chartered surveyor who specialises in boundary demarcation and disputes. They will be able to provide valuable professional advice, and they will also be able to act as an expert witness if the dispute leads to a court case.
If the dispute cannot be resolved amicably through correspondence with your neighbour, or through mediation and the offer of a settlement, then you can seek assistance from a solicitor who specialises in property litigation. An expert in the area of boundary demarcation will best be able to help you settle the dispute if the case goes to court.
Someone has encroached on the boundary of my property – what should I do?
Again, the best thing to do first is seek advice from a chartered surveyor, and aim to settle the dispute amicably. Your neighbour may be willing to pay you a settlement fee to end the dispute, or you might be able to negotiate a remedy by moving the encroaching fence, wall, or building.
Get in touch with First4lawyers
You can contact First4Lawyers and our team of specialist property litigation solicitors. We can provide you with representation in the event that the case needs to go through the courts.
We understand that boundary disputes between neighbours can be stressful, and we will work hard to take the burden away from you and aim for a positive outcome to end the disagreement.