Boundary Dispute Solicitors
Boundary Dispute Solicitors
A highly complex area of law, boundary disputes arise when there is disagreement or uncertainty about the exact location of the lines between neighbouring properties. Boundary disputes can negatively impact the value of all the properties involved, and these types of disputes can quickly become disruptive and emotionally charged for everyone involved.
Helping our clients to negotiate their property issues successfully, our expert team of lawyers can help you navigate the intricate details of any boundary dispute and work toward a satisfactory and legally sound resolution.
Boundary disputes can escalate, and getting it right is vital. With emotions making negotiations more complicated, we recommend speaking to us early to save time, money, and stress.
Do you require advice from boundary dispute solicitors?
Our experienced property dispute solicitors have a proven track record of successfully resolving boundary dispute claims. We are committed to delivering high-quality legal advice that is both comprehensive and tailored to your unique circumstances.
- Flexible funding. We provide an affordable service with various flexible payment options.
- Fast service. We seek the earliest possible resolution to reduce stress and disruption.
- Unrivalled experience. We have helped our clients negotiate a range of residential and commercial property disputes, so we know what it takes to reach a successful conclusion.
- Reliable advice. Our in-depth, expert advice is tailored to you, your situation, and your objectives to ensure you get the best result possible.
Here to help with all your boundary dispute needs, including where there are complex and sensitive issues, please get in touch with our boundary dispute lawyers by calling 020 7467 3980 or completing our website enquiry form.
How to establish property boundaries
Determining property boundaries and resolving a dispute usually requires expert legal support to correctly interpret deeds, historical records, local laws, potential shared rights, and title issues.
It’s also important to note that boundaries can change over time. What might seem like a straightforward case can become complex if the lines have moved or changed direction for any reason.
The legalities are complex, and various sources are needed to make or defend a property dispute case. For example:
- Title Deeds, Plans and Related Documents. These provide information about property descriptions, past transactions, and any recorded agreements or restrictions related to the property.
- Surveys. Surveyors use specialised equipment to determine a property’s boundaries based on legal descriptions and markers.
- Physical Markers. Things like fences, walls, trees, and streams may be mentioned in deeds or historical records, providing evidence of the boundary.
- Photographic Evidence: Photographs can support arguments about property boundaries. This includes Land Registry aerial snapshots and historic photographs.
- Historical Records. Other documents, maps, and records may provide insights into a property’s past boundaries.
- Local Laws. Local regulations might also evidence how a property was intended to be used and where its boundaries are defined.
- Legal agreements. Any previous legal disputes or agreements related to the property will help provide insight into boundary matters. This includes informal arrangements that may have been established over time.
- Witness statements. For example, from surveyors and even local residents.
Once the necessary information is gathered, the court will use it when considering any boundary dispute case.
Types of neighbour boundary disputes
Boundary disputes between neighbours can arise from various property lines and land use issues. In many cases, such conflicts can be avoided with clear communication. Where that doesn’t happen, proper documentation can resolve a neighbour boundary dispute quickly and easily.
Where the parties cannot reach an agreement and the documentation is questionable, early mediation and legal assistance can stop a bad situation from escalating. However, these types of disagreements can become complex, often requiring litigation to find a resolution.
Most neighbour boundary disputes fall into the following categories:
Territorial disputes are about establishing who owns a particular area of land. Territorial disagreements commonly arise over the location of property lines. Adverse possession claims may also occur should one party claim ownership of a piece of land due to their continuous, open, and unchallenged use of it over a specific period.
Positional disputes happen when one party believes a fence, building, or other improvement has been placed in the wrong location, and may be encroaching onto their property. Trees and plants that straddle property lines can also lead to positional disputes.
Functional disputes arise over the use or purpose of a property (or a specific feature within a property). One such argument, which we are seeing more of, includes short-term rental disputes due to platforms like Airbnb. Furthermore, if a property owner changes how their property is used – for example, using a residential property for commercial purposes, this could lead to a change of use dispute.
Resource disputes relate to the allocation, access, or usage of certain resources. For example, debates over shared amenities, access to common areas, etc. This includes disputes about easements, which grant specific rights to use or access a portion of a property, even if owned by someone else. Resource disputes can also arise where shared amenities like driveways, walls, and gardens exist, and there are conflicts about maintenance responsibilities, costs, etc.
How to resolve boundary disputes
Mediation can help both parties achieve a suitable resolution when a boundary dispute is not quickly resolved. Minimising the emotional and financial effects, with mediation, both parties attempt to resolve the dispute with the help of an impartial mediator. While any agreements reached via mediation are not compulsory, the decision can be made legally binding if agreed.
While litigation should always be a last resort, sometimes it is the only viable option. Where mediation is unsuitable or has failed, our property litigation lawyers can help you take legal action and make the most robust possible case on your behalf at court.
Possible defences for boundary disputes
In boundary disputes, we help each client employ the right legal defence to protect their interests and argue their case. The appropriateness of our recommended approach will depend on the specific circumstances of the dispute and the legal issues involved.
Where our client is the party bringing the boundary dispute, we ensure they are fully aware of the possible legal defences that the opposing side may argue.
Possible boundary dispute approaches might include:
If you’ve been using a part of your neighbour’s land openly and consistently for a certain period (usually ten or twelve years), you can make a claim to own that land. This means you’re saying you should be the owner instead of your neighbour. To make this claim, you need proof that you’ve been using that land without stopping for the entire time you’re claiming. This evidence is crucial to show that you’ve been using the land as if it’s yours for all those years.
Profit à prendre
“Profit à prendre” is a legal term that grants someone the right to enter another person’s land and take away a product or resource. For example, if a landowner has granted you the right to harvest crops or keep animals on their land. Profit à prendre rights can be negotiated, bought, sold, or inherited.
If you have used your neighbour’s land in this way for 30 years’ or more, you might have a profit à prendre claim. You can also claim profit à prendre if you are depended on the use of the disputed land, or if you and your neighbour both intended for the land to be used this way over the years.
Rights of way
If you have used your neighbour’s land for 20 years or more, you may have acquired a right of way. Likewise, if you and your neighbour’s land used to exist as one, and now you need to cross their land to get to yours, you might have a claim via ‘necessity’. Like profit à prendre, you can also claim a right of way if you and your neighbour both meant for it to be used that way for a long time.
Average cost of boundary disputes
The cost of boundary disputes in England & Wales varies widely depending on the complexity of the arguments. The longer the case goes on, the more costs will accumulate, so it pays to find a resolution as quickly as possible.
Potential costs involved in a boundary dispute could include:
- Legal Fees. Such costs will likely be reduced if the dispute is settled via mediation rather than litigation.
- Surveying Costs. These costs vary based on the property’s size and the survey’s complexity.
- Expert Witness Fees: In some cases, expert witnesses might be required to provide opinions on property boundaries, historical use, or other relevant matters.
- Court Fees. If the boundary dispute goes to court, fees will apply.
Expert boundary dispute lawyers, at Summit Law, we offer a range of flexible payment options, including retainers, fixed fees, and hourly rates. Working hard to reduce the financial and emotional toll of your boundary dispute, we always advise you on the most cost-effective approach possible.
Boundary disputes lawyers – FAQs
- Easements and Rights of Way
- Shared Amenities
- Adverse Possession Claims
- Land Use Changes
- Territorial issues
- Neighbour Relations.
Contact our boundary dispute lawyers today
At Summit Law, our boundary dispute lawyers have everything it takes to advise and guide you through the boundary dispute process. In addition to resolving neighbour quarrels quickly and cost-effectively, our considered and sensitive approach stops them from escalating.
Getting to know you and your legal needs, our expert boundary dispute solicitors understand what it takes to get the best possible result. And because we know how stressful the process can be, we remove the burden from your shoulders with minimal disruption.
With all the expertise, skill and legal insight needed to handle your boundary dispute, contact our lawyers today by calling 020 7467 3980