Resolving boundary disputes
Property rights have taken a torturous route over the past few decades, and though the law now insists on comprehensive, transparent, standardized, electronic record of ownership, not every owner benefits equally.
Here we are able to provide you with everything that you need to know about boundarydisputes. This will help you decide whether or not you have a viable case and if you do we arehere to help. Click here to find out more about us.
In this section we will cover:
- The basics on boundaries
- Disputes that commonly arise
- How to establish boundaries
- How to resolve boundary disputes
If you are attempting to resolve a boundary dispute, please call us on 0800 014 8727 to discussyour case, or alternatively, fill out the simple form opposite and we will call you back at a timeconvenient to you. There is no obligation to commit. We understand that these processes canbe stressful and daunting, but we are here to make that process easier for you and give you theadvice that you deserve.
The basics on boundaries
Boundaries are created when larger plots of land are hived off into parcels and soldindependently. The legal documents created when the smaller parcel of land is first sold,specify the boundaries of that parcel.
The description of the boundaries is split typically into two references within such legaldocuments. The conveyance often mentions the boundaries, and specifically explains them,and, the accompanying plan often shows the boundaries of the parcel, within the larger plot.
Either of these references, if properly drafted, is enough to lay down clear boundaries. If thedescription is sufficiently detailed, objective, accurate and complete, it may eliminate a numberof potential disputes at the outset. If the plan is prepared by an expert, it may have a similar effect.
Often however, it is found that the original plans were prepared by those without expert knowledge, or that the description of the parcel and its boundaries, in the conveyance, is ambiguous and uncertain.
In such an event, determining the boundaries of your land can often be a matter of reachingan agreement with your neighbors, or continuing the boundaries established before yourpurchasing the property.
Even though the Land Registry guarantees the title to land, it does not define or determine theboundaries of the land. Boundaries as found on Land Registry plans are indicative. Further, ifyou want a determination of exact boundaries by the Land Registry, you will need to submitinformation about these exact boundaries yourself.
If you are involved in a boundary dispute, and the boundaries are not clearly or correctlyspecified in the original legal documents, your best bet is to consult a specialist propertysolicitor.
Disputes that commonly arise
Where boundaries are not clearly noted in the original legal documents defining that parcel ofland, over time, a certain reliance builds up on natural and artificial landmarks, such as fences,hedges and ditches. Commonly, when these are moved, boundary disputes erupt. Boundarydisputes are as much a matter of managing communication, as they are of establishing clearboundaries. A number of times, hedges, fences and ditches get moved or changed when theproperty adjacent changes hands. The unfamiliarity between neighbours, may also contribute.
Sometimes, disputes occur between homeowners and environmental or municipal authorities.New roads, the upkeep of trees, boundary maintenance, or the benefit of property features, alldepend on clearly distinguished boundaries.
There is no assumption of rights through possession in the law. So even if land, which youthink belongs to you, has been used and claimed for years together by a neighbour or by theauthorities, it does not automatically grant such neighbours or authorities any rights over thatland. To formally claim rights, the claimant must file for adverse possession. The Land Registrygives the current owner on record, a period of 2 years in which to respond to such a claim ofadverse possession. Only after evaluating the response, do formal rights get granted to theclaiming party.
If you have doubts that your land has been usurped, over time, your first choice ought to beto consult a specialist property lawyer. Even if simply communicating the problem to yourneighbour might solve it, it is better to keep an expert on your side.
How to establish boundaries
The first step in establishing boundaries should be to examine the earliest Title deeds. It is absolutelyessential to determine that the language in the conveyance is specific, clear and comprehensive.Further, if a plan is attached, it should match the description. As a general rule of thumb, plans are lessreliable that property descriptions, if there is a conflict between the two. This is because plans wereearlier often prepared by laypersons without knowledge of trigonometry or surveying.
Alternatively study the developer’s plans, and compare then to actual hedges, fences and ditches placedas a marker. Actually erected demarcations have stronger legal force.
As explained before, relying on Land Registry plans would not be very helpful these are indicative and donot guarantee boundaries. Scaling down Ordinance Survey plans would similarly not work, these plansfocus on natural, geographic and common features, they do not specify boundaries.
Obtaining a surveyor’s opinion may also not suffice. A surveyor’s opinion is worthwhile only if thesurveyor is a specialist in boundary demarcation and disputes, capable of providing an expert witnessreport and of standing before the court as an expert witness.
An aerial photograph of your property might come in handy as well. Though eroded naturaldemarcations or uprooted fences and hedges make it difficult to conclude boundaries definitively fromsuch photos.
Finally, once you have all this baseline information, the best course would be to then consult a propertylaw specialist solicitor.
How to resolve boundary disputes
In a dispute with a neighbour, start with amicable dialogue, sometimes, land that is important toyou, may be insignificant to your neighbour. At the same time, it is worth it to start putting togetherdocuments that establish boundaries, this will help you organize your discussions, keep them friendly, atthe same time, communicate clearly.
If amicable discussions do not get you anywhere, it is useful at this point of time, to consult a propertylaw specialist solicitor with all your documentation. Such a solicitor could plead for you, or mediate onyour behalf.
If you and your neighbour get locked in solicitor fronted negotiations, your choice of solicitor is critical.You need support that resolves, not inflames. You could easily end up wasting substantial time, moneyand effort unless the dialogue is kept on a properly reconciliatory note, and your solicitor genuinelyattempts to find middle ground.
If all attempts at negotiation fail, you have further options, you could attempt a mediation, involvingboth parties, their solicitors and a third party mediator. Or, in extreme cases, you could litigate. Both of
these options entail considerable expense. If you do wish to take matters this far and further, be surethe value of the property in dispute justifies the expense and effort. Be sure your solicitor has evaluatedall possible information and confirmed that you have a viable case.
Mediation and litigation involve persistent, organized effort. Winning a point before a mediator, orbefore the judge, is as much a matter of carrying the moment, as it is of meticulous preparation andincisive insight. Your case would be strengthened if you choose the right expert and involve them earlyon in the cycle.
Need help dealing with a boundary dispute?
Call us now
If you believe that your rights are being encroached on and need specialistadvice, please call us on 0800 014 8727 to discuss your case, or alternatively, fill out the
simple form opposite and we will call you back at a time convenient to you.
There is no obligation to commit. We understand that these processes can be stressful anddaunting, but we are here to make that process easier for you and give you the advice that youdeserve.
We will always ensure we give you a detailed appraisal of your case and will quickly be able totell you whether or not we are able to assist you in resolving the dispute.
If you decide to instruct us to represent you, we guarantee that we will take your case on a no-win-no-fee basis.
More about us
We are Property Law specialist firm and are here to help you if you face a boundary dispute.We will talk to you directly and there won’t be a middle man. Click here to find out more.
The information on this website is for guidance purposes only. Each case is unique. Pleasecontact us on 0800 014 8727, or alternatively, fill out the simple form opposite and we will giveyou a full case appraisal.
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