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Home » Blog » Building Surveying » Boundary Determination » How to Respond to a Boundary Dispute?

How to Respond to a Boundary Dispute?

Aug 21, 2023


Hello and welcome to today’s property surveying blog post, in which I am going to be taking a look at boundary surveying matters. In today’s blog post I am going to lay out how one should respond to a boundary surveying dispute.

When are boundary disputes likely to arise?

Here at Stokemont one of the most common reasons that we see for boundary disputes arising is when the position of the fence line is moved that separates two different plots.

This can be done for a number of different reasons, such as if one is doing works that will involve the removal of the fence like a rear or side extension, where they are building right up to the line of boundary. In this case, the fence would need to be removed and when the fence is reinstated it is possible to do so in the wrong place.  

Another common reason why boundary dispute may arise is because your neighbour is missed informed on where the position of the boundary is, this can easily be done when looking at the Tile Plan on the Land Registry or OS Maps as they do not display the boundary positions accurately, but most people commonly think they do.

What to do when a boundary dispute does arise?

When you are in a boundary dispute does arise one of the things to do first would be to open up discussions with your neighbour to see if the dispute could be resolved in an amicable manner for both parties.

If this is not possible then the next point of protocol would be to hire a Boundary Surveyor who would be able to come to site and write up a report given their expertise to come to a position of the true boundary separating the two plots.

Once you have the report in hand you can present this to your neighbor in hopes that this is enough for them to see reason and resolve the matter.

Although they are capable of responding by hiring their own boundary surveyor to conduct a boundary inspection on their behalf.

If this report is not in your favour, then a third surveyor will need to conduct an independent inspection taking into account the other two surveyors’ reports and will then come to their own independent conclusion.

This itself can be binding (meaning that either party would not be able to challenge it) if both parties agree for it to be, if so this would be called a binding evaluation.

As it will be conducted by a neutral expert (a surveyor) to evaluate and determine the outcome of the dispute.

Although If both the boundary reports are in your favor and your neighbor is still unwilling to come to an agreement on the matter then you would have cause to take this to the courts where you could gain a court injunction.

Although as is can be a costly and time-consuming avenue to go down, we would recommend that some other forms of ADR (Alternative dispute resolution) be used rather than go straight to litigation.

One common method of ADR that is used is Mediation. This is when a neutral third party helps both sides to negotiate and reach a settlement which is usually held at a neutral venue.

Mediation aims to offer practical rather than legal solutions, so if it fails it does not compromise your position if you then choose to litigate.

There are also specific mediation services that are related to boundary disputes such as The Boundary Disputes Mediation Service (BDMS) which is designed by RICS and the Property Litigation Association and supported by the Civil Justice Council.

I hope this gives you further insight into boundary disputes and the best ways of responding to them. If you have any questions on the topic of today’s blog post or in relation to any of the other services that we offer here at Stokemont then please do not hesitate to get in touch today by either giving us a call or alternatively popping over an email and one of our team of experienced surveyors will be happy to assist and advise you.

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