A common source of tension between adjoining landowners is when differing views are held in respect of the position of the boundary which separates their respective land. Disagreements of this nature can often lead to protracted disputes and an irreparable breakdown in neighbourly relations.
Part of the problem is the very common misconception that the first port of call, when seeking to determine the position of the boundary, is to consider the Land Registry title plans. Whilst this may seem like an obvious and sensible starting point, the reality is that the Land Registry plans will often show “general boundaries” only, rather than the legal position of the boundary, and can therefore have significant limitations in respect of their accuracy. Warring neighbours often rely solely on the “Land Registry” plans which kicks off the dispute on the wrong foot.
The primary source of establishing the boundary line between properties should, instead, be the original conveyance – that being the conveyance which first divided the land and created the boundary. A conveyance contains a “parcels clause” which should define the land in question with sufficient clarity to enable the boundary to be determined. There are, however, occasions where the parcels clause falls short of being able to provide a definitive answer, particularly where the measurements in dispute are small. In those circumstances, the next step is to consider the extrinsic evidence, such as; the physical features on the ground, sales particulars, the conduct of the parties, photographs, architects drawings – to name but a few.
Therefore, whilst the position of a boundary may initially seem like a straightforward matter of fact, it can be a far more complex issue, often requiring detailed consideration as well as specialist legal advice.
At Leathes Prior we have a dedicated Property Disputes Team which is extremely experienced in working out the legal positon of the boundary by reviewing the deeds and extrinsic evidence; members of our team are often found rooting around searching for old fence posts and tree stumps! If you require advice on any boundary issues, please do not hesitate to contact our Property Disputes Team on 01603 610911 who would be more than happy to assist.
Please note the content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any particular circumstance.