Boundary Disputes

Love Thy Neighbour?

Having neighbours who we get on with is, of course, fantastic. A brief hello whilst putting the rubbish out, a chat over the garden fence, or watching each other's houses if away on holiday. It makes every day life run smoother and is more pleasant for everyone. Like anyone, even us Chartered Surveyors love having great neighbours.


Boundary Disputes are one of the most common things neighbours argue about; this could be a newly built extension blocking the sunlight out or forestry creeping its way onto your property. Knowing how to settle these disputes is often very tricky without professional help. With our team dealing with many cases over the years they are filled with knowledge and will always know the best path for you to go down, making sure everything is sorted out as quick as possible.



Having a boundary dispute with your neighbour is always the last option you want to arise but sometimes it simply cannot be helped. In this case contact our highly knowledgeable Essex and Suffolk Chartered Surveying team and they can advise you on the best course of action or we can step in and take over the case if the dispute becomes more unpleasant. 


It is highly important that you seek legal advice when talking about boundary disputes as you need to know what can be done and what cannot. Our local Chartered Surveyors can work with your solicitor to make sure things such as historical documents, house plans and any covenants that could be on the building will not affect the outcome of the situation. Our team will get straight to the point and help you through the process quickly and swiftly.

As Chartered Surveyors we are qualified and experienced in this area so don't leave it to chance, call Eyesurvey Chartered Surveyors today.

1) Talk to the others first
Before reinstating a boundary that has lost fencing, walls or other markers, if possible, speak to the neighbours or other boundary party involved.

2) Essential - keep an open mind
If this is not immediately possible, record fully what you have done to temporarily reinstate the boundary line from any evidence you may have. Understand that the previous fence or wall might have been changed or moved over the years -they may not have been in the position the deeds indicated.

3) Be Reasonable - give and take

Be open minded that when your neighbours return they may have evidence or information that may cast into doubt your initial assumptions on the right boundary line.Try to be open and flexible to the neighbours’ views and comments on the proper boundary location.

4) Another way around

Try to reach an agreement on the boundary line by discussion with others concerned. It’s possible that you do not have a real boundary dispute, but things have become unclear to both parties and getting the assistance of an expert will provide reassurance and prevent a real dispute. If this is not possible, try to agree on alternative dispute resolution, because this may provide a quicker and more cost-effective solution. Litigation must be the last resort, and is very costly.

5) Do your research
People’s memories of exact boundary demarcations are not perfect, especially after any serious experience like a flood. Look for photographs taken before of your house at the boundary. Aerial photographic images such as satellite imagery using Google Maps and from internet sources like Microsoft Virtual Earth can help to refresh the memories of both parties on the boundary line. But do not rely on these images for the exact line of a boundary; use them only as an indication of what existed previously. 

6) Land registry plans - yes or no?

Land Registry (LR) Title Plans are produced at 1:1250 (urban) and 1:2500 (rural) scale and their purpose is to indicate where the physical features are on or about the boundary. These plans do not show the legal boundary line (“a line of no thickness”) and the LR advises against scaling distances from these plans. If a property has not changed hands for many years there may be no LR plans to use.

7) Look for the physical features
The underlying Ordnance Survey map used by the Land Registry is a good indication of the position of physical features that existed at the date of survey. But they are not revised frequently in rural areas, and only every five years or more in urban locations, such as after new developments. Are there any firmly fixed posts? In most cases, knowledge of the defined boundary on the ground (if that exists) will be all the property owners need to know.

8) Then fix it right away
Even when neighbours have reached full agreement, it is essential to mark out that boundary on the ground as soon as you can. Rebuilding the permanent boundary is the ideal, or otherwise placing substantial wooden stakes as a temporary marker are a good alternative. If you have used temporary markers, ensure that your fencing contractors use those markers when the time comes to reinstate the boundary. Many boundary disputes originate from unmarked boundaries - and agreement may not always be easily achieved if new neighbours arrive.



Trees - Friend or Foe?

Nobody will argue, and certainly not us as Essex located Chartered Surveyors that a beautiful healthy well balanced tree of any variety is a pleasure to behold. A magnificent oak, elegant elm or abundant apple tree, they all have their merits. They can also have their drawbacks if left to grow and grow. We have all heard about enormous leylandi conifers towering over gardens and buildings. The results can be loss of light, too much shade or overhanging branches which can be easily remedied. If the tree is too close to a house it can be more serious causing subsidence. A large oak tree can draw 200 gallons of water a week from sub-soil causing a downward shift in the underlying ground.

  • If you have cracks appearing outside your property, get it checked out.
  • Not sure about that tree in your neighbour’s garden being so close to your property, get it checked out.
  • Thinking of buying a property but worried about the current trees already there, get it checked out.

Call us today for impartial, expert advice.