A boundary dispute can be a very stressful experience. Typically, it is a dispute that emerges between owners or occupiers of neighbouring properties or pieces of land. These usually arise when one person asserts ownership over a piece of land which may or may not be owned by their neighbour. Boundary disputes can also occur following a property purchase or when extension work is about to be carried out or a fence is being replaced that causes a party to question a boundary line between the premises. Disputes can also arise where trees encroach or have been wrongly felled.
Too often neighbours can misunderstand the difference between public rights (eg. planning permission) and private rights (eg. restrictive covenants, right to light, Party Wall etc Act 1996 rights) and limited knowledge. Land Registry office copy plans/drawings which are not drawn to scale can be easily misinterpreted and not provide a complete picture.
The commercial litigation team at Linder Myers solicitors are regularly called upon to advise and assist to assess the boundary position which may later require expert survey involvement. It may be necessary to send a strong pre action injunction letter to the neighbour to put any proposed works on hold pending resolution of the dispute. If the neighbour refuses to co-operate then matters may have to be escalated with a view to applying to court for an emergency injunction. A claim for damages may also be included for nuisance and encroachment.
Generally, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 enables a property owner to build up to the boundary line provided that correct procedures are followed. This Act was introduced to prevent potential disputes with neighbours even before building work begins. To build up to a party wall that is near or on a boundary line, the neighbour must be notified in writing. Failure to follow the statutory procedure could result in injunctive action being taken to prevent the work being carried out.
If an agreement cannot be reached with a neighbour, there are a number of ways a dispute can be solved before heading straight to litigation. The process of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, may be discussed with your legal advisor prior to entering into litigation.
Mediation will commonly be held at a neutral venue with an independent mediator in a bid to aid both sides negotiate and reach a practical solution without going to court.
Court action is a last resort but despite all best efforts, sometimes the only way to resolve a boundary dispute is through taking the matter to court for a suitable remedy.
Having professional support brings peace of mind and ultimately a solution. If you consider that you may need advice and assistance, you should ask for the commercial litigation team at Linder Myers.
To get in touch today, fill out the form below and a member of the team will contact you.
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