Who is responsible me or my neighbour?
Neighbour disputes are sometimes inevitable; while we would all want to live happily next door to one another, situations can arise that lead to a conflict. Boundary disputes are one of the most common types of disagreements between neighbours, typically boundary disputes arise when two neighbours cannot agree on where one property finishes and the other begins.
Perhaps one neighbour wants to install a fence along a boundary, this can trigger a disagreement if the adjacent neighbour feels it is encroaching onto their property. They may believe the border is solely owned by them and object to the installation of the fence. Neighbour and border disputes may also be sparked by damaged fences; for example, your neighbour may refuse to pay or contribute to the fence's repair because they consider it is not their responsibility. Overgrown hedges or trees overflowing onto neighbouring property might generate a boundary dispute because a neighbour may have asked the owner of the hedge/tree to cut it back, or they may desire to cut it themselves and the owner of the foliage may object to them doing so.
Before any disagreements escalate into a dispute, it is important to communicate with your neighbour and attempt to resolve matters amicably. If for example there is a damaged fence just by raising the issue with your neighbour can help as most of the time your neighbour will want to resolve the issue efficiently. Your neighbour may suggest it isn’t their responsibility, in this instance, identifying who owns the land and who is responsible for what is a good place to start for both neighbours. It can be difficult to determine the exact borders of a property; therefore, it is a good idea to review the deeds for the property when you purchased your home. If you or your neighbour is a tenant you can raise the issue with the landlord, who may be able to reach an agreement more efficiently than you speaking to your neighbour directly.
You may be concerned that your neighbour has overstepped onto your land as they have built an extension onto their property, or you have looked at the deeds to your home and realised your neighbours have moved the physical border by installing a fence or wall. A factor to consider when you are facing a boundary dispute; it is possible for one party to argue and prove that they have had continuous and exclusive possession of the land for a long period of time, often more than 10 years. The neighbour may be entitled to acquire, title to the land even if it wasn’t theirs in the first place.
If you are unable to agree on where the boundary line is, you may want to instruct a solicitor who specialises in boundary disputes. Latimer Lee Solicitors have expert solicitors who have excellent experience in general litigation cases. It is important to be aware if there is no precise record of a boundary one will be created by both you and your neighbour making an agreement.