What to do when you have a Boundary Dispute?

Boundary DisputeBoundary problems are common in England and Wales and with high house prices, every small corner or strip of land could become very valuable.

The reasons for boundary disputes vary, but often they relate to the planning of a new extension, uncertainty about the original boundary, discrepancies between the existing features on the ground and the paper-title documents or Land Registry Title plans and the extent of a right-of-way.

A situation can easily escalate and people often don’t know where to get the right advice.

How to solve a boundary dispute

Very often it will take both surveying and legal expertise to settle a boundary problem quickly. As boundary problems can be complicated and might not always be straight forward, it will, of course, also depend on the willingness of the parties involved on whether an agreement can be reached.

The field of boundary and right-of-way problems is a much specialised niche for surveyors and therefore there is a limited number of surveying companies who have the experience to advise on boundary matters.

What type of documents will the experts need to assess the boundary issue?

There are normally two sets of documentation for a property: the Paper-title plans and documents (Deeds and Transfers) and the Land Registry Title plans. Sometimes, old deed plans show dimensions for the frontage or the width of a property while in other cases, all that is available, are plans based on Ordnance Survey mapping.

Land Registry plans only show general boundaries which may or may not coincide with the legal boundary. In the first instance, it is of course the Paper-title documentation that will define the legal position of the boundary. However, such plans are sometimes of poor quality or can’t be retrieved.

The establishment of the boundary is therefore very often based on a combination of the analysis of old and new plans as well as the position of longstanding physical features and the history of the property.

How can the Property Department at Technics help?

The Property Department at Technics will assess each case individually in order to provide the best possible approach.

  1. The first step is a site visit from one of our team. Ideally we like to meet the client in order to discuss the matter in person. Prior to the meeting, it is important that the client locates all available documents that relate to the property. In some cases we might be able to assist with it.
  2. The surveyor will carry out a boundary survey of the area of concern. A survey is often essential – it will unveil whether a feature follows a straight line or runs perpendicular to a building or if a wall at the front aligns with the remains of old fencing at the rear of a building including many other issues which may not accurately be established.
  3. The boundary survey will form the basis for all further analysis and discussion and can either be accompanied by an explanatory short report or a full boundary demarcation report. Both options will provide the client with a professional opinion based on the surveying aspects of the dispute.
  4. The full boundary demarcation report is CPR (Civil Procedure Rule) compliant and can be used as evidence in court. However, very often boundary disputes will be settled and will only, very occasionally go to court or a Land Registry Tribunal.
  5. Once the boundary is agreed between the parties, we can, if required, revisit the property to demarcate the boundary on the ground.
  6. Solving a boundary dispute can be a long journey so it’s important that the agreed boundary line is properly shown on a final “Determined Boundary Plan” or a “Transfer Plan” signed by both parties and logged with the relevant Land Registry Office.

Concluding points

Some boundary disputes can be settled easily while others can be more complicated and difficult to solve. It’s important that the whole process is as “hassle free” as possible for the client with the right professional advice available from the very beginning.

An appropriate and sensible approach could prevent cases from escalating. The Property Department at Technics has 25 years of experience and can assist you, from start to finish.

Please call 01483 230 080 to speak to Adam Harwood the head of the Property Department to discuss your boundary dispute problem, we’d be delighted to assist you.