Boundary Dispute Prevention
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Boundary disputes and party wall conflicts are significant issues faced by property owners in commercial and industrial properties as well as local neighbourhoods.
In a single year, thousands of people make legal requests for advice on party wall disputes between neighbours. This number of disputes has increased compared to previous years.
What causes boundary and encroachment disputes?
Misunderstood or inaccurately measured boundaries are the main cause of encroachment disputes including driveways placement, structures, trees as well as fences.
Be sure to look for a professional and licensed surveyor to help prevent the occurrence of misunderstandings and disputes by accurately measuring your boundaries. Moreover, a surveyor can expertly advise on how to address a dispute with relevant information.
Tips on how to minimise the occurrence of boundary disputes and dealing with them if they happen to occur
Prevention is better than cure, so if you want to build a new wall or fence on your property or require to check if you are interfering with your neighbour’s property, a clearly defined boundary will save you the hassle. To prevent the occurrence of boundary disputes, you should acquire a precise borderline of your property or land taken by a reputable and licensed surveyor as soon as you can.
A land surveyor has highly specialised tools and technology to make sure that your property’s physical boundary is consistent with the HM Land Registry information. HM Land Registry has every detail of the existing boundaries or any changes done by the previous owner thus after identifying the boundaries, they will develop a comprehensive plan to fix any conflicting issues as well as protect your interests.
Any sold property or land is identified by small scale plans that are unsupported by any boundary’s description to explain the snaking red lines on the plan. The issue worsens when the boundary’s description in the Conveyance or Transfer (The Parcels Clause) is missing some information, ambiguous or contradictory to the outlined plan.
Whether buying or selling a property you don’t want to inherit or create a problem while on the way, a lot as these tips will help fix all issues including those seeming expensive and hard to solve. Be sure to provide a clear and clean scale (consider 1:1000 or 1:500 scale plan) appropriate to your property as well as describing your boundary with measurements referring to naturally fixed points like shrubs that will stay for years without disappearing.
On larger plots, like farmland, where a detailed plan and description of every section of your boundary is impractical, be sure to walk the boundary and record any feature to have more than one interpretation in your plans like notable hedges and ditches.
In addition, put your neighbour’s views about the boundary into consideration to avoid potential disputes.
Remember to ask every relevant question about the land or property. Some important questions to put across are:
- Whether the land has direct access to a public highway?
- What is the right width of the way/path?
- Are there any restrictions on using the path?
- Is there any maintenance cost or responsibilities on the path?
Always apply this simple rule of thumb: never take anything for granted. Almost every boundary dispute that a surveyor gets involved with, whether it be as a mediator or expert, the usual issue is that someone had made assumptions that turned out to be wrong. In most cases, the huge expenses involved in rectifying the mistakes would have been avoided if the above steps we put into consideration. Boundary disputes can be avoided if the appropriate steps are followed from the very beginning.
When you become a property owner you might find yourself involved in some form of boundary disputes along the way. And depending on the disagreements, issues surrounding boundary lines can cause big issues to a point of going to court. Taking a boundary issue to court should be the last option! It’s better to come to an agreement with your neighbour.
If you need advice on defining your boundaries or boundary dispute prevention, consult a chartered surveyor to discuss your needs.