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Boundary Dispute that won’t go away?

Nov 25, 2019

For those of us who see our home as a sanctuary, the idea of becoming embroiled in a disagreement with a neighbour is unappetising, to say the least.

No sensible person would welcome a falling out with the people next door. But disagreements about the extent of each person’s property, and about any encroachment on it, are fairly common. Perhaps one family is extending their kitchen and has overstepped an actual or perceived physical boundary. Perhaps a central hedge is causing a nuisance, or an excessively high fence has been erected. Perhaps a shared driveway is not being shared as it should be. 

Let’s face it, these are all irritations. While some can be tolerated, others do have to be sorted out. And, as lawyers who specialise in helping feuding neighbours resolve their differences, we see the full extent of legal, inter-personal, and emotional challenges that are bound up in these types of disputes.

When it comes to the early days of a boundary issue, it helps to get off on the right footing with your neighbour. It also helps to have a basic understanding of your legal position, so we encourage clients to come and see us as soon as they become aware of any issue relating to their property. We’ll be able to offer some helpful initial advice, both in terms of your legal position and the best way of sorting the situation out. 

One of the problems with a boundary dispute apart from the stress of it all can be the cost of resolving it.  There is now a Protocol for resolving boundary disputes written by the legal and surveying professions.  The idea of the Protocol is to set out a simple framework, with timescales for trying to resolve disputes without endless protracted correspondence and particularly, without having to go to Court.

We can advise you on how to resolve your dispute through the Protocol and look after your interests.  We will provide cost effective advice and try to help you resolve your dispute.  If the problem cannot be resolved through the Protocol we will continue to look after your interests and still try and reach an agreeable settlement for you without having to go through the expensive Court process.

Early, constructive conversations between neighbours are ideal. But not every situation lends itself to this. Small issues can escalate very quickly if not carefully managed, and so we work closely with clients to help establish the things that are really worth fighting for, and those that are not. We help in the background, or more prominently, to guide the conversations with neighbours. And we make sure that, whatever stage the dispute has reached, it is resolved as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Ultimately, it’s about protecting the value, and your enjoyment, of your property. And if, as in many cases, relationships between neighbours can be saved then so much the better.

If you need advice on a boundary dispute please contact Julian Cole for advice on 01264 325805 or via email on jcole@bsandi.co.uk


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