Boundary disputes invariably involve disputes with your neighbour. These can therefore quite easily become very heated. They are extremely stressful for you as you will feel you can never get away from the problem. After a hard day at work, the last thing you need when you go home is to be confronted by a neighbour possibly becoming abusive or aggressive as the dispute escalates.
Reasons for boundary disputes
Disputes can occur for a number of reasons and are often caused following the sale of a property to a new owner. New residents may have a different concept of what is acceptable in terms of property boundaries, causing disagreements over issues the previous occupier had no objection to.
Rows regarding the boundaries of a property can be extremely varied.
A simple example might be your neighbour wishing to put up a new fence. You may be worried about:
- Responsibility to pay for and maintain it;
- Where exactly should the fence go (particularly significant if a fence is replacing a hedge)
- Does the boundary run through the middle of a hedge or to the side?
- If so, which side?
The converse scenario is the removal of a fence / hedge by a neighbour because they have several cars they wish to fit on their driveway. For some, this may seem a minor point but for those with small children, or pets, it may be very important that a secure and complete boundary is maintained.
No one wants to feel that they are giving up land which belongs to them even if it is only a few inches! Usually with my help any potential dispute and risk of ill feeling between a neighbour and yourself can be avoided. However, that is not true in all cases.
Boundary disputes and home extensions
An increasing number of boundary disputes concern the building and extending of homes. For instance:
- There may be an issue as to where exactly where the boundary lies
- Whether the building can go right up to the boundary
- Does the proposed or completed work interfere with an existing boundary structure, such as a wall?
- Does the proposed or completed work result in a back garden which is, for example inaccessible to a lawn mower or wheelie bin, therefore effectively 'land-locked'?
My involvement as your solicitor is important as most often the starting point will be to look at your Title Deeds. These may well contain copies of old Conveyances or Leases with plans drawn to scale, which may contain measurements and can be vital in establishing where boundaries lie.
Such plans are likely to be much more reliable than the file plan which is held at the Land Registry. I have settled a dispute where the plan held at the Land Registry bore little relation to the actual site. It was capable of resolution because plans in the old Title Deeds showed the boundaries of the properties from the time they were built in the 1920s.
Disputes with neighbours, particularly as to boundaries and rights of way, are matters a vendor is required to disclose to a prospective purchaser of their property. It is therefore very important such situations are resolved as quickly and amicably as possible.
I am extremely experienced in advising and resolving a whole range of boundary disputes. If you are unfortunate enough to become involved in such a problem, contact me straight away. My experience has been that prompt intervention and advice often resolve matters before they become too deeply entrenched.
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Contact Clough & Willis
If you are located in Greater Manchester and require support on any aspect of dispute resolution, we will guide you throughout the legal process. Each case will be managed by a solicitor selected for the specific requirements of your case.