How to Resolve a Boundary Dispute With Your Neighbour

How to Resolve a Boundary Dispute With Your Neighbour

Boundary disputes between neighbours can be some of the ugliest conflicts in modern day society, often triggered by putting up a new wall or fence, to your neighbour’s tree hanging over your garden, it brings to light the difference in opinion of where the true boundary lies.

Just like property disputes, boundary disputes can escalate very quickly as emotions are running high when people feel like their property is under threat. This is because people tend to form strong emotional attachments to their homes.

It is advised to seek help from specialist solicitors who are not emotionally invested in your property as they can help defuse the situation while remaining level-headed.

Doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to take legal action against your neighbour, what it does mean, is that you are obtaining the relevant knowledge and information you may need going forward and if anything were to escalate, you are prepared and know your legal rights.

Boundary disputes can touch on many other related property law issues such as:

  • Party wall disputes
  • Trespass
  • Adverse possession
  • Rights of way
  • Rights to light
  • Nuisance

How to pre-empt a boundary dispute

It is much better to avoid a dispute happening in the first place rather than trying to resolve one which has already escalated. Therefore it is advised to communicate your issues with your neighbour before you take any legal action.

Dealing with a boundary dispute

If you are going to go down the route of taking legal action it is beneficial to obtain as much information as possible before confronting your neighbours regarding a boundary.

You can obtain copies of the Land Registry plans for your property to work out with the boundaries lie, however, these plans only show the general area of the boundaries and are not definitive.

If your property isn’t registered, you should be able to access copies of the title deeds which may include information regarding the boundaries of the property.

Photographs and old planning documents may also be useful.

Instructing a specialist surveyor

It is often beneficial for both parties to instruct a specialist surveyor as they can carry out an examination of the property and its boundary features such as a fence, wall, or hedge. This can give both parties a clear understanding of where the boundary lies and there will be no need for further action. You may instruct a surveyor before you confront your neighbour or you may come to an agreement with your neighbour and instruct the surveyor together, agreeing to be bound by that surveyor’s decision.

How to know when to take the matter to court

If the dispute cannot be resolved by communicating or presenting evidence to your neighbour, further action may need to be taken.

There are a variety of mediation schemes available which are definitely worth looking into, however, if the case does end up in court it is in your best interest to have an expert property litigation solicitor by your side.