Trouble with the Neighbours?
May 31, 2016
A disagreement with your neighbours over a boundary can quickly escalate into a dispute that can cause permanent damage to your relationship and create bad feelings between you. If you are facing this situation, you may feel worried, stressed and anxious at home.
Therefore, you need to bring your dispute to an end and there are a number of different ways to achieve this.
If possible, the first thing to consider is just talking about the boundary issue. It may be a simple miscommunication or perhaps something that can be ironed out with a simple discussion. It is worth noting though that if your disagreement has advanced, trying to discuss the situation with the wrong approach could inflame the dispute and make it worse, so think carefully before trying this option.
If you are not able to sort the matter out amicably with your neighbour, you would be well advised to seek early legal advice. It is important to protect your position and establish exactly where you stand and what your rights are. Also, to try to resolve the issue for you either in correspondence with your neighbour or their solicitor - if they have one - or if appropriate, at a site meeting/by discussions (where both parties are represented). Often, where the issue involves the position of a boundary, it could be helpful to have a surveyor present at that meeting.
You may decide to try mediation as an alternative to going to Court. Mediation will provide you with an agreed date and time for a hearing of both sides of the case by a trained mediator. The mediator will decide the outcome depending on what they hear from both parties. It is similar to a court case, but is not heard by a judge and is in a more informal setting than a courtroom.
Mediation will be quicker and cheaper than a court case, but there are a few drawbacks. The first is that the outcome may not be legally binding and therefore, you may go through the process and be no further forward with your dispute than when you started. Secondly, you have to both agree to be part of the mediation process, so if your neighbour does not want to take part, you will have no choice but to not use mediation at all.
Your final option is to take your neighbour to court. This will resolve the issue once and for all, as a judge will make a ruling and you will both be bound by the order of the Court. However, litigation is expensive. Also, if you lose the court case you will not only have to pay for your legal costs but probably the legal costs of your neighbour too. It is far better to invest time and some money in trying to reach a satisfactory settlement of an issue without having to go to Court.
If you would like to speak to one of our specialist solicitors about a boundary dispute with a neighbour, please call Julian Cole or Richard Gregory on 01264 353411. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to offer you advice on your next steps.
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