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How to Avoid a Boundary Dispute

May 12, 2023

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Hello and welcome to today’s property surveying blog post, in today’s blog post we are going to be discussing boundary surveying matters looking into how one can avoid a boundary dispute if there is ever an issue between the boundary between you and a neighbour.

When are boundary issues likely to arise?

One of the most common times we at Stokemont see boundary disputes arising between neighbours is in relation to planned works that will involve the removal and reinstatement of the fence. 

This is fairly commonplace when it comes to side and rear extension that is being built on or near the boundary line, as completing the wall will require the removal of the fence on the neighbour’s side to complete the finish of the pointing or render.

The issues will then tend to arise when the fence is being reinstated, in which it may be reinstated in the wrong position and such a boundary dispute will arise as commonly people tend to take the fence line to be the position of the boundary line.

Over the years we have seen some boundary disputes become very heated and even go to the courts, but we would always recommend trying and avoid the litigation route.

As boundary disputes are rarely straightforward and as a result, you could be looking at thousands to tens of thousands of pounds if you were to go through the courts with time the length of time at trial and legal fees with no guarantee that you will be able to recover those fees if the courts decide in your favour. 

What can be done to avoid a boundary dispute?

Neighbourly Discussion

This can be one of the best ways to avoid an issue with the boundary becoming a dispute, as through discussions you may be able to come to an agreement between one another on an acceptable boundary position between the two of you.

But please note that this will not become the official boundary position, unless it is registered with the HMLR, but if it is acceptable for both of you it can still act as an informal boundary position.

Get a Boundary Surveyor in

You are able to hire a Boundary surveyor under joint instruction or even independently who can act as an impartial expert.

If you chose to contact a boundary surveyor to conduct an investigation, this will see them come to the location of the dispute and conduct a site inspection, plus will also undertake further desktop research which will then be compiled in the form of a report giving their expert opinion on where the boundary should be.

Mediation

This can be a fairly expensive option but can be a good option if things are starting to become heated between you and your neighbour as mediators are also trained in dispute resolution and so it can help maintain good relationships between you and your neighbour in the future.

Mediation can act as an informal procedure, although if both pirates to the dispute agree mediators are capable of making a binding decision.

If you do intend for the mediator’s decision to be binding, as I have mentioned above boundary disputes can be fairly complex, so it is important to go with a mediator that has good knowledge of boundaries and the laws surrounding boundary disputes.

In this case, we would recommend looking for a mediator that is a chartered building surveyor or a solicitor that has a lot of experience in boundary matters.

Thank you for reading today’s blog post, I hope this has given you further insight into different methods of avoiding boundary disputes.

If you have any further questions in regards to today’s blog post or any of the other services that we offer here at Stokemont, then please feel free to get in touch today and one of our experienced surveyors will be happy to assist and advise.

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