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Boundary Dispute Advice

mediationBefore I write this blog post, the very best legal advice any solicitor will give you is to avoid a boundary dispute at all costs.

If a dispute arises and there is a slim possibility that it can be resolved over a coffee or a beer, grab that opportunity and do anything you can to resolve the situation without involving solicitors.

The reason? Legal fees and stress.

Having said the above, there are of course situations that arise where a dispute is inevitable and they arise for many different reasons. Perhaps the solicitor who undertook your conveyancing advised you incorrectly on your boundaries and the property you were purchasing. It may be that a right of way that you have over a neighbours property has been blocked and your neighbour is refusing you access. It could even be in more extreme cases that your neighbour has encroached onto your property and is trying to claim part of your property as their own.

Whatever the reason, if you are in a dispute with a neighbour without any real prospect of the matter being resolved amicably, the next step is to see a solicitor.

In the first instance, your solicitor will listen to what you have to say and should provide you with an explanation of the law and how it either assists your case or hampers it.

Even at this stage, your solicitor will encourage parties to mediate and get the matter resolved without the necessity of going to court. If parties are willing to mediate (and they should be aware that court's expect such matters to be mediated upon before any court hearings) then try and embrace the possibility and opportunity of resolving matters.

A recent case I was instructed on in Kent, my client's garden had been encroached into by their neighbour. It was a relatively straight forward case but the neighbour refused to mediate. At court, my client won and the court made a costs order against the neighbour on an indemnity basis (which means all of my clients legal costs were to be paid by the neighbour). This Order was made on the basis that the neighbour refused to mediate which was deemed unreasonable by the Court.

Another case I was instructed upon in East Sussex was a neighbours refusal to remove a locked gate from a right of way my client enjoyed over the property. To cut a long story short, my client won but the neighbour went on to then sue their conveyancing solicitor for negligence as the right of way was never explained to them when they purchased the property.

Boundary disputes are complicated for many reasons. One reason is because Land Registry plans and OS Maps are only accurate to approximately, 1 metre. Therefore, what you may think is your boundary may actually not be. It sounds confusing because it is confusing! The disputes become very expensive because both parties become adamant that their position is correct and refuse to back down. This is where an experienced Solicitor will act in their client's best interests and explain that going to court is the very last option.
For good sound legal advice that you can reply upon, call me today for a no obligation chat about any boundary dispute you mat have.

Richard Howlett is a Partner at Seachii LLP - 02077925649

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