Dealing With Boundary Disputes
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There is a good chance that you will need to seek expert advice if you become involved in a boundary dispute with your neighbour. You will get the advice from a chartered surveyor or chartered land surveyor specialising in boundary disputes.
You will need to look at the two properties deed records held at the land registry offices. That will help in establishing which parts of the land belonging to each of you. The surveyor's report may get used to establish the boundary, but many times, it does not work as the boundary may not get clearly defined.
Your neighbour may also opt to hire a surveyor who can disagree with yours. In case of non-agreement with your neighbour, the case may get referred to the court. The court Judge will look into the matter and make a ruling on the boundary location. That eventually leads to the precise definition of each party's land extent. For properties with an undefined boundary, you might ask yourself whether you are allowed to erect a fence, or wall, to establish the actual boundary line.
A party wall is a property boundary that is shared with you and your neighbour. This can be a garden wall, fencing, sidewalls of a house that is semi-detached or terraced. The Party Wall Act of 1996 sets the rules for anyone with plans of undertaking particular work along the party wall. You have to get your neighbour/s written agreement if you want to.
- Put down the party wall and rebuild it.
- Put-in a beam into the party wall by cutting into it.
- While raising the party wall height as you built it, you remove anything that obstructs you from carrying out the work.
- Work towards strengthening the wall foundation under it or one part.
- Build within the party wall, a damp-proof course layer
- Make a flashing cut in an adjoining building that joins the party wall.
You may decide to undertake the works mentioned above on the party wall, without your neighbour’s agreement. In that case, you are then required to get an official award from a Wall Surveyor. The official will give the award following the rules in the Party Wall Act 1996. Then, you can proceed with the works.
Some household works do not follow under the Party Wall Act. They include ordinary tasks like wall re-plastering or adding things like shelves. The act affects the works that involve substantial intrusion that may affect the party wall structural integrity.
The act also calls for you getting permission when you want to carry certain kinds of building works. Although not related to party walls, they do require you get your neighbours agreement or a party wall award to commence with the work. The following are the tasks.
- Foundation excavations that get lower than the foundations of your neighbour's structures by up to three metres.
- Excavation foundation works going below a 45 degrees line. The line gets drawn starting at your neighbours’ structure foundation within six metres.
- Putting up a new wall with some parts standing on the common boundary with your neighbour/s.
Disclaimer: The above advice is given to guide you and the general public on your rights and responsibilities. No client-lawyer relationship exists, making the advice non-formal.
If you need advice on defining your boundaries of resolving boundary disputes, consult a chartered surveyor to discuss your needs.