Resolving Boundary Disputes
In the event that a boundary dispute is not resolved within the required time frame, the legal owner of the property may lose their right to the land.
It is rare for neighbours to overlook boundary disputes, even when adverse possession is not involved. There is no legal right for someone to claim a part of your property. In addition, it can create practical difficulties, possibly affecting your rights to access, drainage, and lighting. The lack of clarity on who is responsible for a boundary can lead to disrepair and dilapidation.
The presence of such disputes can create a toxic atmosphere between neighbours, making living next to your neighbours even more unpleasant. It can make you feel like a prisoner in your own home, leading to significant stress, anxiety, and upset. It may be difficult for either party to compromise.
Getting legal advice should be your first step. In case you are involved in a boundary dispute, a solicitor who specialises in those matters can assist you. The nature of the dispute, including the history and location of the property and the way in which the dispute has been resolved, will be discussed.
Then, a solicitor can investigate the matter further. It will be necessary to obtain and consider any relevant documents, including a map. It may be necessary for your solicitor to contact a surveyor to locate the exact location of the legal boundary of the property, as opposed to the physical one.
Your case can be clarified based on this information. You should take this step very seriously, since taking legal action if your neighbour is not at fault is pointless. It could be a waste of time and money to pursue a case that does not have much chance of success.
The Negotiation Process
Negotiation with your neighbour is the next step if there is sufficient cause for action. It is often best to work with a solicitor in order to accomplish this. In some cases, a letter from your solicitor may be all that's needed to convince your neighbour that their position isn't plausible. In support of your case, your solicitor can provide evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt where the legal boundary begins and ends. You may be able to resolve the conflict this way.
There are times when a more pragmatic approach is necessary. In most cases, this happens when a boundary is shared, or the boundary line is not clearly defined. You can contact your solicitor if such a situation arises so that he or she can guide negotiations between you and your neighbour. In the case of a shared boundary, for example, you may agree to limit work hours while the boundary is in use. It is also possible to guarantee that you will cover any damage.
In some cases, it may be difficult to negotiate directly with your neighbour since relations may have soured to the point where a reasonable conversation is impossible. The use of a solicitor could alleviate these tensions, because they can act as a third party to facilitate negotiations. In addition to advising you of your rights and obligations, your solicitor will ensure you do not enter any agreements that could prove problematic in the future.
The Mediation Process
Mediation may be an option if negotiations fail. The process of mediation involves meeting with a specially trained mediator. In mediation, the mediator is impartial and does not impose any judgment on the parties. The mediator will help you understand each other's concerns and resolve the dispute constructively. Your goal should be to reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable.
The mediation process is one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution. The process is particularly useful for resolving boundary disputes. It allows you to keep costs low by resolving the dispute out of court, which is beneficial to all parties. In addition, it promotes a healthy relationship between you and your neighbour, which is crucial if you intend to continue living next door.
The Litigation Process
The last option is to pursue litigation in court. Evidence and title deeds will be examined by a judge at a court hearing. It will then be up to the judge to decide how to resolve the dispute.
Depending on the nature of the dispute, the details of your ruling will vary. A judge may issue a works order if your neighbour refuses to give consent for work on a shared boundary. Your neighbour may receive compensation, however certain terms and conditions may apply.
The judge will also interpret the facts if there is any confusion over where the boundary lies. When there is a dispute regarding responsibility for a boundary, the same rule applies.
Court proceedings are often expensive. Additionally, the decision can cause division as there is often a 'winner' and a 'loser'. There is a possibility that this will leave one party feeling dissatisfied, which can lead to animosity between the parties. Therefore, you should attempt to settle your claim outside of court first.