How to avoid a boundary dispute?
How to avoid a boundary dispute
As a litigation solicitor with many years of experience, on countless occasions, I have been asked to provide advice to those already in a boundary dispute. The starting point is always the title deeds, and then a complete review of the evidence.
Often clients will be confused and concerned about whether they hold enough evidence to substantiate their claims, ultimately leading to a level of anxiety, stress and worry. Please fret not, you are likely to have a lot more evidence in your possession than you have given yourself credit for!
You may not be aware that there are several actions that you can take to ‘equip’ yourself, even prior to any boundary dispute arising. The purpose of this article is to explore how you might consider doing this, prior to and during a boundary dispute.
You may be aware that over 85% of land and property in England is registered with the Land Registry. This means that the documents pertinent to your title will be easily accessible, usually with just one simple “click” of a button.
Some of us may have gone through the task of applying for first registration, or it could be that we simply purchased our property already registered. In many a case, the original title deeds will encompass various historical documents including conveyances that are difficult to decipher.
Once the property is registered, most will disregard the original title documents under the mistaken belief that they hold little or no importance.
TIP OF THE DAY
My “tip of the day” … if you can, retain these documents because one day you might very well discover they contain or refer to a crucial piece of evidence that was overlooked upon first registration.
If your title deeds are no longer, please do not despair and instead, do read on…
Photographic evidence can be key to establishing historic boundary positions and on countless occasions have assisted my clients in proving decades of ownership. If you do have old photographs then please retain or upload them to the cloud, after all, we never know when a dispute might rear its ugly head.
Please do consider adding legal insurance protection to your home policy, with a request for it to include boundary disputes (to be safe). That way, in the event of a dispute you will be able to avoid having to incur legal costs.
WHAT ABOUT AS THE DISPUTE IS UNRAVELLING?
Being embroiled in a boundary dispute is daunting, they can quickly spiral out of control, both emotionally and financially. Therefore, it’s imperative that you deal with matters clearly and logically. The starting point of such action is to gather your evidence, ensure that you have all those photographs and superfluous title deeds organised in a file ready for action. Take photographs as matters progress and if you can, upload them to your computer and/ or the cloud with a brief description, and of course, a date.
Speak to your neighbours… are they able to assist you? Do they remember anything that could be of importance? Perhaps they are still in communications with the previous owners and are willing to put you in touch. Ultimately, if you don’t ask then you won’t get!
VISIT YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY CENTRE
The village in which I once lived still to this day has a photograph on the wall of me wearing patent shoes, a dashing yellow woollen cardigan, a twisted kilt… oh and a crooked smile! I am positive that if I explored the archives then there would be hundreds of maps and photographs (of land, buildings and people) that one of the villagers would be happy to take me through.
Please do remember that there are always people who are willing to help, so please do call upon them!
Quickly seek the assistance of both a land surveyor and a solicitor. Either will be able to put you in touch with a professional who has the expertise in such matters.
CHECK YOUR POLICY!
Finally and crucially, check your home insurance policy as you may just having legal protection insurance.
CHECK YOUR POLICY! Should you wish to discuss any aspect of this article, please do make contact with our specialist boundary dispute solicitor, Natalie Forshaw on 01908 355402/ 07874 861623 or at Natalie.Forshaw@HealdLaw.com. Natalie has many years of experience and prides herself in offering pragmatic and affordable advice.