Boundary Issues When Buying A House
Are you thinking of buying or selling a residential property in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, South London or the surrounding areas? Are you wondering whether you need legal advice to resolve any property disputes that could interfere with proceedings?
Knowing the correct boundary of your property is crucial. The ambiguity over its physical extent has an effect over many ownership aspects such as physical use, rights to repair, upkeep and access to the land. The resulting disputes over boundaries may lead to expensive legal action.
When you move into your new house, establishing the exact position of your boundaries is not always a priority. In the course of your conveyancing process, the solicitor ought to identify any boundary disputes. However, there are important steps in which you can avoid property disputes.
Ask the solicitor to provide an official copy of the Land Registry title plan.
The title plan indicates the general boundaries of your property. The plan is based on large-scale Ordnance Survey mapping and therefore it is generalised in some degree, meaning it does not show the exact legal point of your property. For example, it may not portray small juts on the borderline or bay windows.
Compare it with the plan you have of your property.
If you can, ask the seller to clarify any differences before you sign the deeds and exchange any contracts.
Talk to the neighbours at an early stage.
Try to understand from them the position of the boundaries. You can also come to an agreement on the responsibility of upholding boundaries. If you do not have the experience to interpret the plans, you can partner with a surveyor to guide you as you are discussing terms of the sale with the current owners.
If you and your neighbour disagree on identifying the exact boundary position dividing your lands, it would be better if you joined together to call a professional at an early stage. If you do it jointly, you will be able to get an unbiased opinion on your issues. Besides, it will show the strengths and weaknesses of every piece of evidence you have.
Also, it may show a perfect indication of how things may fall at trial on any event whose dispute has been taken to litigation. This should help you identify an alternative approach to resolving the issue and potentially saving yourself money, valuable time and avoidable stress.
Dispute Resolution Consultant
Boundary disputes are among the exceedingly complex law areas. Many people in Kent are unsure about the exact locations of their own property boundaries.
Though it's commonly found along, or in an adjoining wall or fence, it can be difficult to establish the exact location and place responsibilities for the upkeep and maintenance.
If you have any boundary disputes, the best thing is to speak to a specialist. You can reach our specialists over the phone or by completing our enquiry form.
Property disputes are most commonly resolved by an expert surveyor who reflects on the Title Deeds to the properties and other several indicators like photographs, witness evidence as well as the property itself to determine where they believe it's the location of their boundary.
In most cases, boundaries differ. Many boundaries begin as a straight line but may change direction at some point, this may be because of reasons such as the installation/removal of adjoining items in the property's history.
Boundary checks before placing an offer on a house
The boundaries of your property can become a subject of dispute between neighbours. Several issues can cause heated disagreements such as dividing wall and fence maintenance or encroachment onto your neighbours land.
If a boundary dispute occurs, it can become a costly and drawn out process that becomes frustrating to both parties.
Understanding the boundary position before purchasing your home is the most useful method of avoiding any issue. One big mistake homebuyers make is assuming that the boundary can become resolved following the sale of the property.
So if you are purchasing a new home, you are responsible, as the homebuyer to ensure that the expected boundaries are as you assume before purchase. You should also establish who is responsible for maintaining the hedge, fencing or wall of the boundary.
What to do when selling your home?
Selling your home is difficult enough without the problems of a dispute making it difficult to attract buyers.
If your home is in the middle of a boundary dispute, it can be difficult to sell the property. In some cases, residential property conflict can be resolved by one party agreeing to pay for repairs if they admit to being in the wrong.
While in the process of a dispute over boundaries, consulting a property surveyor to act as a mediator can help resolve the problem before you are ready to sell.
If the issues are resolved before you are ready to sell, it can make it easier to work through the sale process and find the ideal buyer.
How do I check the boundary of the property?
Within England and Wales, almost all land is registered with the Land Registry. The Land Registry will have title plans that outline the general boundaries of a property with a red line.
At a small fee, it is possible to get a copy of the title plan of the property being sold as well as that of the neighbours. This is advised before making an offer on a home and beginning the conveyancing process.
Using the title plan, it is possible to check it against the physical property layout to understand if the plans match the assumed boundary of the property. You can check the following:
- Does a fence follow the edge of the owned land?
- Does the whole garden belong to the property officially?
- Is the dividing wall too far over to one side?
Should a boundary issue be ignored?
It is never a sensible idea to keep any dispute hidden from the process when selling a home. In some cases it can be illegal to withhold or misrepresent the facts.
If a would-be buyer was to learn of any problems it can make the sale of a property fall apart. If a potential buyer pulls out of a property sale, it can cause a collapse of a whole chain of property purchases.
If the problem is withheld during the sales process and the sale goes ahead, as the seller, you could face expensive legal issues.
The best way to avoid costly litigation or adding doubts to the mind of a homebuyer is to keep everyone aware of the situation.
Consulting a specialist before selling a property
Consulting a property surveyor before selling a property is a good way of getting the best advice about how to resolve the issue before a sale. They have the experience in relation to claims to help settle matters before it is taken to court.
If there is an on going boundary dispute with a neighbour, an RICS surveyor can assist. Since they are authorised and regulated by RICS, a building surveyor can act as a mediator between two parties to help resolve any issues.
In extreme situations, if a resolution cannot be agreed, it may be necessary to seek litigation to win the dispute and ensure the sale of the property.
Get in touch with our chartered surveyor today to discuss boundary dispute resolution in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and South London when purchasing or selling your house.