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Boundary disputes can be an extremely complex area of law.
Many people seem to think that the boundary between theirs and a neighbouring property always runs in a straight line. That is often is not the case.
If you are having problems relating to a boundary speak to Anthony Kay.
The position of legal boundaries can vary over time. Sometimes the boundary may have started out as a straight line but can later have moved slightly, or changed direction, for various reasons; including agreements made between previous owners.
Difficulty often arises when people rely on Land Registry plans. Many believe that plans are drawn precisely and then rely on them to move a boundary wall or fence to what they think is the correct position.
In fact, Land Registry plans are usually based upon Ordnance Survey plans. The expressly DO NOT show legal boundaries. They are not intended to allow legal boundaries to be determined. They are also drawn with relatively thick lines separating properties. Therefore boundaries cannot be ascertained from them with any precision. The width of a line on a plan can scale up to equate to several feet on the ground.
Most boundary disputes can be resolved by the instruction of an expert surveyor who will consider the title deeds if they are available at the same time as other factors such as physical features, old photographs, witness evidence, and occasionally satellite photographs.
Sometimes, one surveyor will agree with you where your boundary is only for your neighbour to find another who believes it is elsewhere. This is why some cases end up before a Tribunal for determination, or in the Courts with a Judge making a decision. Taking your dispute through the Courts should always be a last resort. Most boundary disputes can be resolved through other methods such as mediation or determination by an agreed expert surveyor.
If your neighbour has moved a boundary wall or fence, or if you are thinking of doing so, specialist advice should be sought first.
Boundary disputes are usually extremely stressful and can last for a number of years. It is always wise to check the position before making any changes.
H.M. Land Registry can refer the dispute to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Land Registration) if you and your neighbour can’t agree on the boundaries. The tribunal will make a decision on what should happen - you may have to go to a hearing.
You will usually need a report by a qualified surveyor in this process.
There is NO general rule such as "the boundary belongs to the property on the left (or right)".
If there are "T marks" on the deed plans, these lie in the direction of the owner who has to maintain the wall, fence or hedge.
"H marks" indicate a party wall.
If there are no marks, and the deeds say nothing (as they all too often do) then, in the case of a fence with posts or struts on one side, the law presumes that the owner on that side owns and is responsible for repairing the fence.
If the deeds say nothing about the position of a wall, it is likely that the boundary will be the face of the wall furthest the owner who put it up. It is presumed that the builder of the wall will usually take care to build it with its outer face on the limits of his land taking care not to encroach onto his neighbours garden.
Anthony J Kay
Tel: 01246 296494
Mob: 07412 999208
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