Boundary Disputes and Land Registry Plans

Most properties have defined boundaries. They might be fences, walls, hedges, edging stones, sides of buildings or even roads and rivers. It is important to maintain these boundaries and ensure they do not fall into disrepair. If some or all your boundaries are not clearly defined, it is important to ensure that you and your neighbour understand and agree where the boundary is and avoid boundary disputes. It may well save problems in the future if you take steps to erect an appropriate boundary feature.

You should discuss with your neighbour before starting any work. Never erect a boundary without your neighbours’ knowledge or while they are away.

Changes to your boundaries

This is particularly common where a hedge is replaced with a fence. Always remember that a hedge is a general boundary and the only way to decide where a replacement fence should be positioned is by agreement between the neighbouring homeowners.

Never make any changes to your boundary structures without talking to your neighbour.

Many boundary disputes arise from a homeowner trying to build right up to a boundary. Consult your neighbour before you apply for Planning Permission. Even if they cannot agree to your proposals, do try to ensure that you both agree where the boundary is and ensure that your works stay on your own land.

What happens if boundary disputes arise?

A minor disagreement can quickly become a full-scale dispute involving Solicitors’ letters and threats of court action. Ultimately, the cost of protecting your right to land in court could be prohibitive so it pays to think hard before rushing into legal action.

The key to resolving a dispute speedily and successfully is to seek expert advice as soon as possible. In the first instance, this advice can be from either a Chartered Land Surveyor or a Chartered Surveyor specialising in boundary disputes. Before you ask an expert to work on your behalf, check the following:

  • do they specialise in boundary work?
  • do they have experience of mapping and land surveys?
  • are they skilled at interpreting aerial photographs?
  • are they familiar with the latest civil procedure rules and experienced in preparing reports for court?
  • do they have experience as an expert witness in court and, if so, how many court appearances have they made in the last year?

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