How to deal with a boundary dispute

When you move into a new property, the last thing you expect to happen is a dispute with your new neighbours. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence across the UK and, as a result, there are laws in place to ensure each party is protected.

One of the most common disputes with neighbours is a boundary dispute. This involves a disagreement on where your property ends and theirs begins. This often impacts shared walls or fences, particularly regarding extensions of existing walls and fences, and repairing or replacement of existing structures.

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How to determine your boundary

The easiest way to determine where the boundary of your property begins and ends is by checking your Land Registry documents. These will outline the land that belongs to your property, along with any rights of way. As the Land Registry is open, you can also buy the documents for the houses surrounding yours, as these may mention some different information that could be important to your dispute.

If you are renting, make sure to check any changes with your landlord first. They should be able to confirm where the boundary of the property is and also advise on the changes you’re looking to make.

What to do once a dispute has started

The best way to avoid a boundary dispute is to know your rights. If you are moving into a new property, check your legal documents to ensure you understand where your property ends.

If you want to make a change to a wall or fence that your neighbour owns, first try discussing the matter with them to see if a compromise is possible. Legally, they can refuse the changes, but if you have a good relationship with them, it may be worth asking.

If you are sharing your property with another person, consider creating a Deed of Trust or Declaration of Trust which can help to limit any potential legal issues. This is a legal agreement that sets out in detail how a property is held between two or more owners and can help protect each party in the case that one owner wants to leave or sell. Conveyancing solicitors such as can explain the best way to navigate a shared property depending on your unique circumstances.

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Sometimes compromise may be unobtainable in certain boundary disputes. In this case, you may need to get a mediator or solicitor involved.

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