A Neighbour Has Built Over My Boundary
Discovering that a neighbour has built over your boundary can be hugely stressful and leave you not knowing how to deal with the matter in the most effective manner. After all, you will probably continue to live next to your neighbour and so getting into a heated argument may not be in your best interests. So, what is the best solution to this problem? The first thing to do is to remain calm and measured and establish exactly where the boundary line lies between the two properties.
Gather as much information as possible about your property and the properties bordering it. Consult your title deeds and obtain information from the Land Registry. This should give you some idea of where your property begins and ends. Unfortunately, boundary lines can be rather vague on land registry plans so you may not end up with the exact information that you need.
In these circumstances a chat with your neighbour may be a good starting point. Remember, if you end up doing battle in court, it can prove costly and often frustrating so keeping things amicable for as long as possible is the best strategy at this point. Try and keep things in perspective as sometimes people end up arguing about a relatively small piece of land.
If you feel that you have got nowhere with your neighbour, it is time to consider seeking legal help
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Are there any circumstances when my neighbour can actually build on my land?
In general, your neighbour only has the right to build up to the boundary line between the two properties but there are circumstances when they can legitimately build on your land but they will require your permission. These include:
- A loft extension.
- A ground floor extension
- Building works that may require underpinning.
If your neighbour wants to build a party wall or party fence wall astride the boundary line (called the “Line of Junction” in the Party Wall Act), they must tell you by serving a notice.
The Act sets out the precise information your neighbour must tell you and this should be set out in writing.
There is no right to build astride the boundary if you object. If you do object then your neighbour will have to alter their drawings accordingly.
Your neighbour must also inform you if they plan to build a wall wholly on their own land, but up against the boundary line.
If your neighbour builds a wall astride the boundary line, it will be a party wall. If your neighbour builds wholly on their land, it will not.
If your neighbour builds inside their land away from the boundary (even by a small amount) they will not need to notify you, although if they are forming foundations, they may need to serve a notice under Section 6 of the party wall.
What happens if my neighbour and I still can’t agree?
If you do not agree to the work in your neighbour’s Notice, you could ask them whether they would be willing to jointly appoint what the Party Wall Act calls an ‘agreed surveyor’ to draw up a ‘party wall award’. Ideally the agreed surveyor should be independent and not be the same person that your neighbour is employing to supervise their building work.
Alternatively, each neighbour can appoint a party wall surveyor to consider the work and agree a party wall award between them. The two party wall surveyors must nominate a ‘third surveyor’ who would be called in to arbitrate if the two party wall surveyors cannot agree. The third surveyor does not cost anything until a matter is referred to them. Your party wall surveyor will discuss this with you before making a referral.
In all cases, surveyors appointed to negotiate and prepare an award or party wall agreement must behave impartially and consider the interests of both neighbours.
How we can help
We have a proven track-record of dealing with boundary disputes. We will guide you though all the options open to you to find a swift and cost-effective solution to the unwanted problem you are facing. We are diplomatic, sensible but utterly tenacious seeking to provide exactly the right kind of structured legal advice in an approachable and timely manner. We understand it can appear a little daunting at times but with the right solicitors by your side, we will guide you and ensure you understand everything that needs to be done.
How to Contact our Property Litigation Solicitors
To speak to our Property Litigation solicitors today, simply call us on 0161 929 0121, or allow a member of the team to get back to you by filling in our online contact form. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.