Property boundary disputes
Legal boundaries separate all land and property. Fences, hedges and walls often mark boundaries. However, these physical features are not necessarily legal boundary markers as fences, hedges, and walls can be moved over time.
To determine where a property boundary lies, the first step is to check your property title deeds which can be obtained from the Land Registry. These can be vague, and sometimes, the boundary line is not clearly defined. In this case, a solicitor can help you determine the boundary line by commissioning a surveyor to survey the land. They will also check aerial photos and title deeds, and plans against historical documents.
Sometimes a boundary line is clearly marked in a title deed, but the boundary line is no longer valid. This can be due to adjustments to the boundary by agreement or ‘adverse possession’.
Adverse possession may apply if somebody who did not originally own a piece of land has occupied it for over twelve years and other statutory requirements have been met, they may now own it through adverse possession. However, since a substantial change in the law in 2003, it has become harder for people to acquire land through adverse possession.
If you are planning to buy a property but are worried about a potential dispute over a boundary, talk to your conveyancing solicitor. Factors to look out for are structures like a shed overhanging a fence line, a straight fence with a sudden curve, or a fence or other boundary in an odd position.
The area is complex, but our specialist solicitors are able to assess all relevant information fully.