Avoiding the time and cost of boundary disputes

Unable to agree on a boundary line between your land and a neighbour’s? If you’re considering legal action, dispute resolution may save you a huge amount of time and cost.

Because some legal actions over boundaries have taken years to conclude and ended up costing some people their homes, Jones & Co Solicitors believes that a Bill currently being proposed to parliament shows the need for neighbouring landowners to find a better way to resolve their differences.

James Murray, Dispute Resolution expert, said: “A boundary dispute with a neighbour can become one of the longest running and most expensive disputes to be involved in. One boundary dispute in the news last year, saw one of the neighbours needing to sell their property to cover the costs of the other party after an eight-year dispute. This is one of the reasons why some MPs are looking at ways to prevent this happening to other land and home owners.

“This Property Boundaries Bill would aim to reduce the number of disputes ending up in court. It recommends that one owner of the land must serve notice in writing on their neighbouring owner, identifying the exact line of the boundary. The neighbouring owner will have 14 days to agree to the boundary. If they object to the proposed boundary, or fail to respond, a dispute will be deemed to have arisen. The bill provides for the dispute to be resolved by surveyors chosen by both parties, who will make a judgment.

“To encourage people to use dispute resolution as a first line of action, the Bill suggests that people who refuse to take part should later be unable to recover any costs they incur through any legal action in relation to this dispute.

“Although the Bill has some way to go before becoming law, it shows a better way forward for neighbours that want to avoid paying a heavy price years down the line.

“Among the support we give people at Jones & Co is advising on the most cost-effective means of resolving a dispute with a neighbour, such as alternative dispute resolution including negotiation, mediation and arbitration. We also act on a No Win No Fee basis for some claims, or in other cases, offer fixed fees to give people certainly on costs.”

For more details contact your nearest Jones & Co Solicitors office here.