Boundary Disputes

 

What are Boundary Disputes?

A boundary dispute is a dispute that arises between owners or occupiers of neighbouring properties. Sometimes, but not always a boundary dispute will arise when one party constructs a boundary fence, wall or building in a position which highlights that the two neighbours have different views as to where the boundary is; in some cases the land registry definition may also not represent the actual.

There are four types of boundary dispute: positional disputes, territorial disputes, cultural disputes and resource disputes.

The Land Boundary

If you live in England or Wales, there’s usually no record of:

  • the exact boundary between two properties
  • who owns the hedge, wall, tree or fence between 2 properties

You can get an idea of where the boundaries for your property are by looking at its title plan. Most title plans don’t show exact boundaries – you usually don’t need to have the exact boundaries recorded anywhere.

You can apply to get the title plan corrected if you think there’s a mistake on it.

If you disagree with your neighbour about a wall, fence or land boundary.

  1. If you’re not sure where the boundary is. Before you can solve the problem, you need to know where the boundary between your homes is.
  2. If you want to do work on a wall that’s on a boundary.
  3. Try to find a solution with your neighbour.
  4. Get help with your dispute.

Managing Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes are common-place.  Those involved often passionately defend the integrity of their boundaries.  Emotions can run high and reason can easily go out of the window.

However, it is important to give calm and careful consideration at the outset as to the best way of resolving boundary issues dispute.  Legal boundaries often do not accord with physical boundaries on site.  Identifying legal boundaries is rarely possible without the assistance of a solicitor and a surveyor.

To complicate matters legal boundaries can evolve over time, for example if one party has occupied land and used it as their own for a long time. It is important to obtain legal advice from a solicitor specialising in boundary disputes as soon as possible.

This is particularly important where the dispute concerns two neighbours. Effective representation may avoid a long, bitter and costly dispute.  A useful and structured approach to resolving boundary disputes is set out in a draft Pre-action Protocol published in September 2017.  Whilst not a legal requirement, we have been early adopters of the protocol and advocate its use.  The protocol provides for the sharing of title deeds, agreement as to the conveyance that created the boundary, the marking of this boundary on the ground and, then, only if necessary, exchange of evidence as to other issues such as adverse possession

Hagen Wolf can assist in resolving Boundary Disputes in the most effective and amicable manner.