Boundary disputes - Commercial & Agricultural Property
Apr 13, 2017
Owning or occupying property, whether it is a building or a piece of land, comes with an entitlement to use it in particular ways.
It also comes with responsibilities, including in respect of neighbours and neighbouring property. Rights can be impinged on, often unintentionally; for example, one party carries out work on what they believe to be their property but the people next door see things differently.
The reality is that the boundary between one property and another is not always well defined. It isn’t always properly recorded in the documents. And the physical boundary that exists – a row of conifers or a fence, perhaps – might not sit on the actual, legal boundary. This creates uncertainty and plenty of scope for arguments in a commercial as well as in a residential setting.
And the trouble with boundary disputes is that they can be complex, both in terms of the geography and the parties’ legal positions. Add emotional and commercial strain and increasing levels of bad blood – two quite common features - into the mix, and this can quickly become a melting pot of animosity, entrenched positions, and big legal bills. And, of course, there is usually some disruption to business.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Addressed early, boundary issues are perfectly capable of being resolved through agreement between the parties. There are other options, including mediation and arbitration that can bring disagreements to an end far more quickly than litigation tends to do. So not every dispute over the lie of a line need end up in court.
The danger is that the parties don’t recognise this soon enough. We find that the longer a client, be they a farming family or a retail outlet, has been in dispute with a neighbour without having had some good legal advice, the longer it takes – and the messier it can be – to resolve.
So run any concerns about your boundary or a neighbour’s boundary past your solicitor as soon as that concern arises. Understanding your legal position, and the practical consequences of taking issue with some sort of encroachment (or yourself encroaching), will stand you in the best stead to deal with things pragmatically. Because, while these sorts of conflicts often become personal, in a commercial context there are many other factors to take into account.
To find out more about how we could help resolve your boundary issue, contact a member of our Litigation team on 01264 353411, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use our free, no obligation enquiry form and we will be happy to help.
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