A story hit the headlines earlier this month after a neighbour cut a tree in half which divided his drive from his neighbour’s drive. This being after a long dispute about pigeons nesting on his ‘side’ of the tree and causing a nuisance.
Disputes regarding boundaries can be as mundane and trivial as this, but on the other end of the spectrum, they can have massive cost and time implications for people and businesses. Knowing where boundaries are and who is ultimately responsible for their upkeep, will ensure that disputes are easily resolved or avoided in their entirety, allowing business disruption to be at a minimum.
More often than not, boundary disputes can be avoided before they even start by taking the right steps as early as possible.
Check your Deeds
Many times the answer can be in your title deeds. If your property is registered, contact the Land Registry to obtain copies to see whether boundaries are mentioned. You will be able to review the title plan, which shows the general position of the boundary, as a minimum, but other useful information can be included.
Keep a record
Where the law is not clear, boundary disputes can decide on what has actually happened on the ground. If you have maintained a boundary over a period of time, keep receipts to evidence this and a court may be more likely to rule in your favour.
Most disputes can be avoided by simply discussing matters early. If you are not clear about a boundary, speak with your neighbour (or related party) and try to reach an agreement. Where an issue is particularly complex, you may wish to document the agreement with a formal legal document. Resolving issues amicably is always preferable to a long legal dispute, and avoids the need to start chopping trees in half!