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Neighbour Fence Dispute

Jun 4, 2022

Thank you, for clicking on today’s Property Surveying blogpost topic.  In our weekly blogposts, we aim to deal with and discuss some of the more complicated and complex parts of building surveying work.

Here at Stokemont, we undertake various different boundary inspections and surveys each week.

Within all of these inspections, there is always a common characteristic whereby the boundary dispute exists, with the matter usually having had little discussion with the neighbouring owner in advance of the surveyor’s inspection.

At Stokemont, we would advise that prior to the instruction of the boundary surveyor, all efforts are made with the neighbouring owner in order to discuss, and hopefully resolve, the issue at hand.

Equally, if there are any planned works to the boundary, whether this is as simple as removing, replacing, or upgrading the fence, or alternatively whether any construction work would result in the short-term nuisance and interruption to the boundary line.  Then, likewise we would of course advise that these are carefully discussed with the neighbouring owner well in advance of any works commencing.

Boundary disputes are common, so if you are lucky enough to find yourself a party to one, do not panic.

The important thing is to note that there is a procedure and protocol in place to best handle boundary matters.  Here at Stokemont, if neighbourly discussions do fail, or if they never leave the ground, we would advise that you instruct a boundary surveyor to visit, assess and advise you on the boundary disputes at hand.

The boundary surveyor’s role is going to be one of impartiality, ultimately, they are going to be ensuring that they look at the boundary dispute at hand from a neutral and reasonable perspective.

With that being said, it is not uncommon for our boundary surveyors here at Stokemont to often prepare reports that go against our client’s beliefs.

The very premise of a boundary surveyor being able to be able to provide impartial and neutral advice, is that they do indeed adhere to that.

The best way to describe this, is that the boundary surveyor is very much appointed to investigate the properties and the concerns of the client at hand.

However, the boundary surveyor’s input and outcome are unlikely to be affected by any client input.  Instead, if the lay of the land, historic research and boundary surveyor’s inspection all lend themselves towards a clear and confirmed position of the boundary, the boundary surveyor will have the duty to report this outcome accordingly.

Boundary surveying reports are comprehensive and will look at various different resources in order to best advise the client of the boundary position and disputes at hand.

These resources can include, however are not limited to:

  • Her Majesty’s Land Registry Title Plans.
  • Her Majesty’s Land Registry Title Deeds.
  • Ordnance Survey (OS) Maps.
  • Historic maps.
  • Planning records.
  • Contractor receipts.
  • Party Wall Notices and Party Wall Awards.
  • Historic photographs.
  • Aerial photographs.
  • Satellite imagery.
  • Google Earth Pro.
  • Owner discussions.

All of these different sources of information are going to go a significant way to aid and assist in the boundary surveyor fully understanding the historic lay of the land.

However, this is not all that a boundary surveyor will do.  The boundary surveyor is also going to undertake a comprehensive site inspection.  During the site inspection, various different points will be inspected, measured and in many cases set out by the use of a laser.

The boundary surveyor’s role and aim are going to be to locate any historic boundary markers, and then take those into account in determining and resolving the boundary dispute at hand.

Over the years, here at Stokemont, we have seen all different types of boundary markers, both the modern type and the historic.

Boundary markers are not difficult to find, however you will need to carefully and proactively look for these within your garden.

In our experience, here at Stokemont, boundary markers can be installations such as:

  • Historic fenceposts.
  • Foundations of previous structures.
  • Previous structures themselves.
  • Trees with boundary markers set within them.
  • Historic fencepost foundations.
  • Historic markings.

All of these types of information will go a significant way to aid and assist the boundary surveyor in ultimately finding the key boundary characteristics.

However, there can be scenarios and situations whereby despite thorough investigation, the boundary surveyor is unable to find anything on site.

With owners and occupiers regularly updating, bettering and developing their land, it is not uncommon for historic boundary markers to be removed through construction work, gardening, or pruning of mature trees.

When this comes into play, it is very much a matter of the boundary surveyor looking at the information that he can find, versus the information that he cannot.

At this stage, the boundary surveyor is then going to make an informed and considered assessment as to where the boundary is, looking at all of the facts that he has been able to obtain from both the on site element of the research, however also the desktop research.

We are often asked at Stokemont if we have an example boundary report that we can share with prospective clients.

Unfortunately, there are no two boundary reports that we have ever created that are alike, or in fact that are similar in approach.

Boundary surveying is very much unique to the property, and in many cases can also be lightly adjusted to be unique to the client as well.

Here at Stokemont, as previously confirmed, we undertake multiple boundary surveying inspections each and every week. Over this time, we have dealt with the simple, to complex, and even the downright complicated.

Our boundary surveyors are proudly members of the RICS, and also have the benefit of construction and property background.

Here at Stokemont, we believe this gives us a fantastic and unrivalled opportunity to best resolve the boundary matter at hand.

If you would like to discuss how our boundary surveyors can be of assistance to you, whether it be your neighbour who has raised a boundary dispute against you, or alternatively if you have a boundary dispute with your neighbour, please feel free to give us a call today and we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.

We are also very proud to offer 30 minutes free no-strings advice to all potential clients.

All you need to do is get in touch with us via our contact form, pop over some basic background on the dispute, potentially even some photographs.  Our boundary surveyors will then review this, provide you with a little bit more information, and hopefully help resolve the matter at hand.

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