How to Handle Boundary Disputes with Neighbours
Posted on: 20 April 2017 by Veronica Pembleton
Dealing with boundary disputes can be a stressful process, especially when you and your neighbour just aren't seeing eye to eye. If you're wondering how to best resolve the issue once and for all, read more here on how to best handle the situation.
Neighbourly disputes are often commonplace in this generation. Whilst we would all obviously love to live in peace, almost in harmony side by side, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and disagreements do arise.
The most common dispute between neighbours are in relation to property boundaries. They disagreements begin with the two parties fail to agree on where their lands stops and the others starts. Overall, they can happen for several reasons but often they spark because one may object to some proposed plans to extended their home or garden, possible erection of fences or walls or if a hedge/tree is overshadowing onto their home.
Whilst you may feel like you’re in the right, before any argument turns into a dispute, it’s crucial that you establish who is the rightful owner of the land. This can be done by looking into the deeds. These deeds hold more importance than the Land Registry title plan, which will only show the general, physical boundaries of your property as opposed to the legal parameters. This usually brings up a surprising and complex result as the exact layout and extent of the boundaries can be very different from what you’re seeing. It’s typical to find that the boundaries aren’t clearly mapped out and that they have changed a lot over time due to adjustments in the space. This confusion can then lead both concerned parties to believe they’re right, causing a long winded drawn out dispute.
How Best to Resolve These Disputes?
No one likes to argue so thankfully, there are many steps you can take to attempt to resolve your neighbourly boundary disputes. At all times, if possible, it is always best to avoid rushing into legal proceeding as hopefully these differences can be resolved amicably – remember your neighbour will need time to address your points or proposed changes.
The best thing to do, in the first instance, is to talk to your neighbour. Arguments can spark and tempers can flare, however, often you’d be pleasantly surprised at what informal talks can do. If your neighbour is a tenant, then you will be able to discuss the dispute with the landlord as this ultimately won’t be their decision.
If in the result, you can’t sort the problem out, you may want to seek legal action. Boundary disputes are rarely straightforward and can often be complex which is why it is best to seek legal help. Dispute resolution solicitors are perfectly placed to deal with these matters and will be able to give you the support you need to make your case. You will often find that this removes some of the bitterness between the two parties as it has been legally rectified, rather than just their word against the others.
What Should I Do Before Moving If I Want to Avoid Disputes?
If you’re looking to move into a new place and have earmarked the garden or home for some well-needed changes, you’ll need to consider if these alterations will affect the property boundaries. If this refers to you, then there are several steps you can follow before your make the purchase to avoid running into a dispute once you’ve moved in:
- Review the filed title plan that your conveyancing solicitors send you in order to guarantee the boundaries on the ground match the legal title. Any discrepancies should be immediately flagged.
- If ever you’re unsure on any parts, contact the land registry or your valuer to have a boundary survey carried out.
- Ensure that your solicitor gives you clear advice on what the actual legal title deeds say about the position of the boundary and who’s responsible for its maintenance or repair.
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