You can download the latest edition of our Property Disputes Quarterly Update, Winter 2017 via the link at the bottom of this preview of what is featured.
It's just a boundary - get over it
- AuthorAndrew Turner
Identifying the real reason for a boundary dispute kicking off in the first place is an essential part of working out the best way to resolve it. Contrary to what one might logically believe, it is rare for a boundary dispute to start as a result of one of the participants looking at their deeds, or studying their Land Registry title, or getting out their measuring tapes. In nearly every case in my experience, there is some incident that sparks off the animosity that then leads to the boundary dispute.
Typical incidents that create the spark can be as seemingly trivial as, for example, a neighbour:-
- getting a new car
- having noisy teenage children
- giving the hedge a close shave
- cutting a few inches over the perceived boundary of the front lawn
- parking “badly”
- not inviting the neighbour to the house-warming party
- replacing a tatty old fence
- lopping branches off a cherry tree
- being a newcomer to the area (especially a Londoner moving out to the countryside)
- being of a different age group
- being of a different cultural background
Once there has been a spark and the arguments have begun, it is only a matter of time before one of the neighbours produces their Land Registry title plan. Inevitably, someone then produces a scale rule and nips down to the local builders’ merchants to buy a measuring tape. And this is when the parties start to draw their battle lines.
Whether you are one of the parties in dispute or someone who is trying to resolve the dispute on behalf of one of the parties, it is vital that you try to identify where the original spark came from and what has caused the animosity. If you can address and deal with that underlying problem, you are in a much better position to deal with the boundary issues. The boundary disagreement is more often than not a symptom of some other underlying problem.
My next blog will look at how you can go about working towards a resolution, whether by agreement or by other means.