We know that the boundary of your property is so much more than just a line on a map. It determines the value of your property, how it can be enjoyed and how it can be protected. Rights of way or views can be influenced by boundaries, and they also allow you to know the extent of your land, so that you can safely develop it in a particular way.
If someone is encroaching on your land, it’s important to act promptly to defend your property. If you cannot resolve the dispute yourself, issues can arise when you come to sell your property. Taking early action can be critical to selling your property easily in the future.
Our specialist advisers have an intimate understanding of property law
We can provide the legal protection you need, whatever the dispute might be, including:
- Positioning of boundaries
- Overhanging trees
- Repairs and maintenance
- Damage done to your land by a neighbour
- Encroachment from neighbouring buildings
- Overlooking windows
- Use of utilities
- Rights of way
- Adverse possession
Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors?
Our solicitors are independently recognised in legal directories as one of the highest ranking law firms for housing and tenant law in the UK. Our years of expertise mean you can rest assured we’ll do whatever we can to get you the outcome you deserve.
We understand how important the boundary lines are and will work extremely hard to achieve a positive outcome for you. Once we have all the information you need, we’ll handle everything, so you have less to worry about.
Housing law can be extremely complex. Our expert solicitors have an excellent track record for successfully negotiating boundary disputes, so you can trust we’ll work hard to win your case.
How are boundaries defined?
The boundary lines on your Land Registry plan don’t always accurately reflect the true situation on the ground, as the boundary can be determined by several factors, such as new agreements, which can change over time.
Additionally, a previous neighbour may have made an agreement with you, but now that a sale of the property has occurred, the new neighbour may attempt to renege on that offer.
Boundaries also have their own unique set of rules when building work is being conducted at, or close to them. If such work is being carried out on or close to your boundary, you should ensure appropriate notices have been served by your neighbour, and a surveyor has drafted a suitable party wall agreement. An agreement of this nature is critical in ensuring that work is carried out with your best interests at heart, and making sure that there is provision for any damage done to your property during the works.
Party wall disputes
The Party Wall Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving party wall disputes relating to boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of the work they intend to carry out in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what’s proposed.
If you’re having difficulty resolving a dispute, our experienced property dispute solicitors can advise you on how the Act should be applied in your situation. We can defend your party wall rights and ensure any dispute is dealt with quickly and cheaply. We can also make representations on your behalf to neighbouring property owners.
If you need to urgently stop building works from neighbouring properties, we can seek a Court injunction to prevent further work, allowing you more time to resolve your dispute.
Rights of way
A right of way or rights over another person’s property can make your life easier if you benefit, but equally, others may abuse access rights over your property or deny rights you may be entitled to.
Disputes can often arise over these rights which can only be resolved once legal action has been taken. Our solicitors are highly regarded in this field of expertise and can help you resolve a whole range of issues, involving rights to:
- Light for your property
- Enter a property or access a piece of land
- Park a vehicle
- Prevent a type of use or development
- Carry out repairs
We know how to resolve disputes before they become costly and complex. If the dispute cannot be settled out of Court, we can undertake Court proceedings on your behalf to ensure you stand the best chance of success as quickly as possible.
After negotiation land which belonged to our client was returned to her.
Our clients purchased six fields from their neighbour. Their neighbour then sold adjoining land (which included a farm and a bit of road) to a third party. Unfortunately, the plan attached to the conveyance to the third party contained a small area of land which had already been sold to our clients. The third party then sold on to a fourth party, who registered their land to include the small area. After checking the title deeds and negotiation, it was accepted that some land belonged to the client.
My neighbour has put up a fence between our gardens. I think it is encroaching on my land. Can I do anything about it?
Disputes between neighbours can be stressful, as emotions can come into play. You need to keep in mind that you’ll need to have an ongoing relationship with your neighbour. Therefore, it’s important to remain objective. We know this is hard, but this will allow you to avoid incurring a disproportionate amount of legal costs.
The starting point for any property dispute over ownership is to refer to the title deeds and any plans. However, in most cases, boundaries aren’t clearly defined in the deeds. In this event, you may need the assistance of an expert surveyor to help parties determine where the boundary is.
The responsibility for maintaining any boundary fence will depend on:
- Where it lies
- What the title deeds say
- What an expert may determine to be the boundary
- Historic actions of maintenance.
If in doubt, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible before you interfere with boundaries.
I’m having work done which impacts the party wall with the neighbours. Is there anything I need to be aware of?
If you’ve instructed an architect, they should be able to identify if a party wall exists and whether the works are likely to impact the party wall. If so, you’ll need to enter into a Party Wall Agreement (under the Party Wall Act 1996) with your adjoining neighbour.
The Agreement should provide for a surveyor to inspect the property before the works and post completion of the works to identify any damage caused by your works to the party wall.
We can advise on the mechanics and enforcement of Party Wall agreements. In the appropriate circumstances we can also take injunction action and issue a claim for damages.
I had use of a path owned by my neighbours to access my garage at the back of my garden. My neighbours have now put up a locked gate which has prevented me from accessing my garage. Can they do this?
The starting position is to check the title deeds for the two properties to see if there are any clauses or terms in the deeds which give you a right of way.
If a right of way does exist, you can take action to enforce your rights, which may include obtaining an injunction requiring your neighbour to remove the gate or provide you with access.
If no right of way was recorded in the title deeds, you need to establish historical use of the path. Depending on how long you have owned your property, you may need to speak to previous owners of your property to establish how long your property has had the benefit of the path.
These can be very complicated matters and you should seek specialist advice as soon as possible.