Arguments over the ownership of land is second only to arguments about to religion to elicit emotional and sometimes illogical stances towards others.
The number of times that we are asked to advise over who owns what piece of land seems to be on the increase. Whether that is due to the lockdown or simply a consequence of people becoming more litigious is difficult to say.
Certainly asking a client to forgo six inches of soil that they never actually knew that they had is a difficult task. Boundary and land disputes evoke great emotion. Sadly they can also evoke great costs as well.
Boundaries that were obvious when the property was built can become blurred or corrupted over time by alterations to the property or fencing. Sometimes even if the true boundary is known a movement of a fence may provide an argument that land has been adversely possessed making land that was your now your neighbours.
See if you can find photographs of how the boundary was and when it was different. Photographs of children’s parties in the garden are useful for dating boundary changes. Look at google earth and see what the historic detail was.
If you believe that your land has been encroached upon the first thing to do is to make sure that you are correct. A good specialist boundary surveyor should be asked to review the deeds and to advise as to where he thinks the problem lies.
The second thing to do if you want to reinstate the boundary is to speak to your neighbour. Keep calm and don’t make threats of Court action and asking for damages. A calm head can resolve these disputes before they escalate.
If you cannot resolve the problem amicably on your own think about instructing a mediator. A trained mediator can encourage a result where perhaps the individuals cannot. A mediator is relatively cheap and easy to deal with.
If after mediation you still are unhappy by all means take legal advice but realise that litigating over land is expensive – very. Not only are lawyers involved but expert boundary surveyors can be asked to attend Court and the fees will rise exponentially.
Your solicitor may be able to find ways of the fees not being paid by you. Access to legal expenses insurance can be explored.
Finally is all else fails look to take Court action for trespass and for a declaration of where the boundary should be. Don’t forget that even if you are successful if your opponent doesn’t have any money then you may not receive your legal costs or at best you may have to wait some time. A competent lawyer experienced in this kind of work can help you to avoid the pitfalls but take the advice. No boundary dispute ever comes with a guarantee.
For more information click here to visit our Boundary Disputes page, or contact the team on 01744 454433, or click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org >