Boundary Disputes

Some of the most protracted and costly civil cases in the courts have concerned boundary disputes. It is essential that you know precisely where your property boundaries are before building work commences. Ensure you are certain where your property boundaries are before starting a claim against a neighbour or defending one. We are here to ensure that you know exactly where your property lines lie, and to provide you with practical planning law advice to save you time and money.

What Is Involved In A Boundary Dispute?

boundary dispute is any dispute regarding the exact boundaries of your property, or the property of a neighbour.

Exact boundary has a special meaning in property law that is not covered by general boundaries such as you might find on Ordnance Survey maps. An exact boundary, for instance, might run down the middle of a stream or to one side but the general land boundary will make no differentiation between these scenarios.

Unfortunately establishing the correct positioning of a boundary line can be a minefield. There are many well-established legal principles and land registry guidance for boundaries but the law remains difficult to apply in day-to-day practice. 

Boundary disputes can arise from the following changes to a property for example:

  • Building an extension that encroaches onto any neighbouring property.
  • Installing an outbuilding such as a shed that breaches the garden boundaries.
  • Installing a fence, wall or hedge that encroaches is situated over the boundary line. 
  • Laying a patio on block paving that partly encroaches onto the neighbouring property

Alternatively a neighbour could insist that an existing wall, hedge or fence is situated in the wrong position and thus creating an encroachment.

Boundary disputes are often easier to start than to resolve. Ideas about general boundaries, exact boundaries, and informal agreements regarding property boundaries can frequently come into conflict. It is important to negotiate with your neighbours prior to starting legal proceedings, but if legal conflict is inevitable it is important to get legal advice beforehand. 

When Might A Boundary Have Changed Over Time?

If a hedge encroaches onto your territory, a stream is diverted or grows wider, or a fence is built deliberately further onto your property, then the boundary line may change.

When boundaries change, whether by mistake or deliberately, it often leads to issues that can only be resolved either in person or in court. The government recommendation is that you try to resolve your differences without involving court action as far as possible. This could prove to be extremely expensive for all parties concerned and there is no guarantee that your costs will be recovered even if you are the successful party. Find out more about party walls.

How Do We Confirm Your Boundary lines?

We will take our time to carefully check the Deeds of your property and Land Registry boundary records. If necessary, we can arrange a site visit to confirm our findings. In some cases a boundary surveyor may need to be called upon in cases where the positioning of the boundary is unclear.  With Boundary Disputes perhaps more so than any other areas of planning law, seeking legal advice at an early stage can save substantial costs.

Can We Help You With A Boundary Matter?

We would be glad to carry out checks on your boundary for you, or to advise you in cases where your neighbour is encroaching on your land. Find out more about how we can help you with your planning project.

Please call Kingsley Smith Planning Law Solicitors on 01634 811 118, complete our online enquiry form, or email our planning law expert Nicholas Kingsley-Smith.

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