Boundary Disputes

Love Thy Neighbour?


Having neighbours who we get on with is, of course, fantastic. A brief hello whilst putting the rubbish out, a chat over the garden fence, or watching each other's houses if away on holiday. It makes every day life run smoother and is more pleasant for everyone. 

 

But what happens when that neighbour is not so accommodating. Maybe you both have a difference of opinion regarding your property boundaries, plants, shrubs and trees overhanging, fencing or walls being built in the wrong location. At Eyesurvey we have seen neighbours who were friends declare all out war over their property boundary. It doesn’t need to be that way.

We have put together a clear list of actions you can take if the situation arises which will help to avoid unpleasant behaviour from the beginning. If it has gone beyond that point and you can’t agree then call Eyesurvey, we can help sort the problem out to a peaceful resolution. 

 

It is key to seek expert advice as soon as possible so you know what is right, what is wrong and what you can and cannot do from a legal point of view. For example, a Chartered Surveyor and your lawyer can check deeds and the plans attached to them, historical documents and any covenants that may be on the land or buildings. At Eyesurvey we cut through the jargon for you and speak in plain English so you know what you are dealing with and how to sort the problem quickly.

As Chartered Surveyors we are qualified and experienced in this area so don't leave it to chance, call Eyesurvey Chartered Surveyors today.

1) Talk to the others first
Before reinstating a boundary that has lost fencing, walls or other markers, if possible, speak to the neighbours or other boundary party involved.


2) Essential - keep an open mind
If this is not immediately possible, record fully what you have done to temporarily reinstate the boundary line from any evidence you may have. Understand that the previous fence or wall might have been changed or moved over the years -they may not have been in the position the deeds indicated.


3) Be Reasonable - give and take

Be open minded that when your neighbours return they may have evidence or information that may cast into doubt your initial assumptions on the right boundary line.Try to be open and flexible to the neighbours’ views and comments on the proper boundary location.


4) Another way around

Try to reach an agreement on the boundary line by discussion with others concerned. It’s possible that you do not have a real boundary dispute, but things have become unclear to both parties and getting the assistance of an expert will provide reassurance and prevent a real dispute. If this is not possible, try to agree on alternative dispute resolution, because this may provide a quicker and more cost-effective solution. Litigation must be the last resort, and is very costly.


5) Do your research
People’s memories of exact boundary demarcations are not perfect, especially after any serious experience like a flood. Look for photographs taken before of your house at the boundary. Aerial photographic images such as satellite imagery using Google Maps and from internet sources like Microsoft Virtual Earth can help to refresh the memories of both parties on the boundary line. But do not rely on these images for the exact line of a boundary; use them only as an indication of what existed previously. 


6) Land registry plans - yes or no?

Land Registry (LR) Title Plans are produced at 1:1250 (urban) and 1:2500 (rural) scale and their purpose is to indicate where the physical features are on or about the boundary. These plans do not show the legal boundary line (“a line of no thickness”) and the LR advises against scaling distances from these plans. If a property has not changed hands for many years there may be no LR plans to use.


7) Look for the physical features
The underlying Ordnance Survey map used by the Land Registry is a good indication of the position of physical features that existed at the date of survey. But they are not revised frequently in rural areas, and only every five years or more in urban locations, such as after new developments. Are there any firmly fixed posts? In most cases, knowledge of the defined boundary on the ground (if that exists) will be all the property owners need to know.


8) Then fix it right away
Even when neighbours have reached full agreement, it is essential to mark out that boundary on the ground as soon as you can. Rebuilding the permanent boundary is the ideal, or otherwise placing substantial wooden stakes as a temporary marker are a good alternative. If you have used temporary markers, ensure that your fencing contractors use those markers when the time comes to reinstate the boundary. Many boundary disputes originate from unmarked boundaries - and agreement may not always be easily achieved if new neighbours arrive.

Trees - Friend or Foe?


Nobody will argue that a beautiful healthy well balanced tree of any variety is a pleasure to behold. A magnificent oak, elegant elm or abundant apple tree, they all have their merits. They can also have their drawbacks if left to grow and grow. We have all heard about enormous leylandi conifers towering over gardens and buildings. The results can be loss of light, too much shade or overhanging branches which can be easily remedied. If the tree is too close to a house it can be more serious causing subsidence. A large oak tree can draw 200 gallons of water a week from sub-soil causing a downward shift in the underlying ground.

  • If you have cracks appearing outside your property, get it checked out.
  • Not sure about that tree in your neighbour’s garden being so close to your property, get it checked out.
  • Thinking of buying a property but worried about the current trees already there, get it checked out.

Call us today for impartial, expert advice.