An experts advice for dealing with boundaries!!

As a surveyor with over 20 years’ experience I have encountered many scenarios both positive and negative between neighbours and their land. These are my top tips to dealing with boundaries issues and your neighbours.

  1. Establish a good relationship with your neighbour. The speed, cost and emotional investment in resolving a boundary issue is directly proportionate to the level of animosity between parties. Neighbours who can rationally communicate invariably sort out their issues without any external help. Neighbours who refuse to listen and abuse each other usually go through a lengthy and costly boundary process.

  2. Document everything. Whatever the relationship with your neighbour I would document everything. Relationships can break down quickly. For example; If you wish to change a dilapidated fence you have responsibility for contact your neighbour with your intentions, giving ample time to respond. Whilst waiting for a response, document the exact position of the existing fence, either by getting an independent professional to conduct a survey. Alternatively you can document with photos showing measurements from fixed surrounding features. I have had many an issue where a neighbour asserts the new fence has been erected further into their land. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to confirm or refute these accusations and a dispute has arisen.

  3. Land Registry Filed Titles do not show the exact line of the legal boundary!!!. 95% of clients contact me stating the boundary of their property is not the same as their Deeds, they email me their Title from Land Registry. Unfortunately, Deeds\Conveyancing plans and Land Registry Titles are not one and the same. Land Registry maintains a register of titles to land. The plan that accompanies the register gives a general indication to the extent of the land parcel. The plan is based on Ordnance Survey map which has limitations in accuracy. Therefore, the boundary shown on the plan may not look the same on the ground. Measurements taken on the ground might not match measurements scaled from the plan. The Plan does not show the exact line of the legal boundary!!!

  4. Going Forward. First, speak to your neighbour. If you need legal advice, contact a dispute resolution\neighbourly matters solicitor. If you require an expert opinion as to the position of the boundary, contact a chartered surveyor specialising in boundary disputes and demarcation. Unfortunately, the ease of which a boundary is resolved is usually down to the amenability of the people involved. Document everything and try to stay friends.

I trust you have found this short article useful. If you have any questions please contact me.

Adam Harwood MRICS


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