Boundary Disputes and their impact

Most boundary disputes that arise happen between residential property owners. This is probably because of the emotional reactions that occur when we feel our homes are being challenged.
Boundary disputes tend to cause a huge amount of disruption for the parties involved and can take a very long time to resolve through the courts and cost a huge amount of money, not to mention the emotional toll this process has on the people involved.

So what are the real issues in a boundary dispute and how can you resolve a dispute about land ownership?

One possible reason for an increase in number of boundary disputes could be a result of a drive for efficiency and a push to drive down costs. In the 1980s, a number of measurement processes in the land surveying process were combined and computerised which made the process much more efficient, but prior to this, all the work completed in the land surveying process was done using instruments and manual calculations and was therefore expensive.

The result of this means that there is a lack of clarity in many conveyancing deeds – they may only tell you the distance of the boundary, not the direction or any identifiable features of that boundary to help position it correctly. This is particularly important where slopes are concerned as the measurements will be longer up a slope.

You can now see why these types of disputes happen, as there is a lack of clarity in the conveyancing deeds of a property but if you are in dispute with your neighbour over a boundary, how can you resolve it?
First and foremost, try to remain rational about the dispute – having a three year legal battle over a small strip of land is not going to be productive for either you or your neighbour. One possible option is to seek a valuation of your property both with the piece of land and without it and see if there is a difference in price.

If this does not solve the issue, you could turn to mediation. This process is similar to the court process but in a different setting and with a mediator rather than a judge. The mediator will hear from both sides and then decide on the outcome. Mediation can be legally binding, but you have to get agreement from both sides involved in the process.

Where all else has failed, litigation may be your only option. This is a slow and costly process, both financially and emotionally so do all you can to resolve the boundary issue as quickly and painlessly as possible.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our disputes and litigation services, please call Chris Jolly in our Westbury office on 01373 865577 or  email cjolly@mulaw.co.uk and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).