Is the fence really worth fighting over? The fiercest boundary disputes can be fought over the smallest piece of land, and they are not uncommon among homeowners. In the case where a boundary dispute is not easily resolved, legal fees can run into the thousands of pounds, and end up costing far more than the piece of land which lies at the heart of the dispute.  

A closer look at…boundary disputes

Boundary disputes tend to arise when a new owner moves into a property and takes issue with the boundary agreement already in place between the neighbour and the former owner. But boundary disputes can arise at any time.

What is a boundary?

Plots of land are usually demarcated by fences, walls or hedges. A boundary is a line which marks out the extent of land ownership by a property owner as decided by HM Land Registry. In most cases, the line will constitute a hedge, fence or wall.

How do you know what your property’s land boundaries are?

When you buy a property or acquire it through some other means, such as inheritance, you must register the property with HM Land Registry. The property will then be registered and the ‘general boundaries’ of the plot will be defined by HM Land Registry and included in the final document, otherwise known as the title plan.  

However, it might be that the previous owners of the property established definitive boundaries to the property, having entered into a ‘boundary agreement’ with the neighbour. You can come to an agreement with your neighbours as to where the exact boundaries are, but make sure to have everything in writing and signed by both parties, should a dispute ever arise. You can then have the details of this new agreement added to the title plan of your property.

What if you and your neighbours can’t agree on the boundaries?

Whether you are trying to enter into a boundary agreement with a neighbour or you are trying to determine what the exact boundaries are, disputes are not uncommon. If there is a disagreement between neighbours, an objection must be made in writing to HM Land Registration. At this stage, it may be useful to seek legal advice. There will then be an opportunity for all parties involved to enter into a negotiation to try and reach an agreement. If no agreement can be reached through negotiaton, the case may be referred to a tribunal.  

If you need guidance on property boundaries or you’re looking to buy a property in the Wimbledon area, contact us today

About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

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