Boundaries between properties are recorded at the Land Registry using adapted large scale ordnance survey plans.

The title plan supplied with the Land Certificate provides a general location of the boundary.  It does not identify exactly where the boundary lies.  For example it would not show whether the boundary runs along one side of a hedge, the other, or down the centre.  Similarly, it would not show if a boundary was on one side of a boundary wall or the other.

Fences which are replaced from time to time may be erected in the wrong position.  Ditches defining boundaries may be re-dug in a slightly different location.  Water courses defining boundary lines may be diverted.

Such changes often only come to light many years later when the property owners find that the original location of the boundary was not properly recorded. 

Property owners sometimes construct buildings, walls and extensions overlapping their neighbour's land or land where a right of way exists such as a footpath.

Boundary disputes

Minor problems can quickly escalate into full scale disputes that take, sometimes, many years to settle through the Courts.  The Court process is costly.

Boundary disputes may be overcome by appointing a surveyor to ascertain the correct location of the boundary. The two parties to the dispute may instruct their own surveyor and the two surveyors may be able to settle the matter between them. 

Owners sometimes jointly appoint one surveyor to investigate the location of the boundary and make a decision.  If the parties have agreed that the surveyor should be appointed as an arbitrator in the dispute then his/her decision would be binding on both parties.  Similarly, the parties may appoint a surveyor as an independent expert to settle the matter.

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Court action

The Courts commonly rely upon the evidence of expert witnesses ie professionals with expertise in surveying and land boundaries.

With complex cases the Court may agree that each party should appoint an expert witness to prepare a report.  The expert witnesses may appear in Court for examination and cross examination by the barristers or other legal representatives.

Many boundary disputes are relatively minor legal matters and it is common for the Court to direct that a single joint expert be appointed by the two parties to provide evidence to the Court.  The Court typically also directs that, failing agreement on a joint expert, the Court will appoint one on behalf of the disputing parties.

When a decision has been reached on the location of the boundary the surveyor or surveyors are able to mark out the boundary line on the ground.  They may supervise fencing or building contractors to ensure that the boundary line as determined by the Court is complied with.

In many cases a boundary line is determined by the Court to be in a different place from that registered with the Land Registry.  It is necessary for the surveyor or surveyors to prepare new plans for submission to the Land Registry.

We offer a number of services in relation to boundary disputes.  We act as expert witnesses, joint expert witnesses, arbitrators, independent experts and also prepare submissions to other appointed arbitrators or independent experts on behalf of clients.

We pride ourselves on being able to assist clients to settle boundary disputes amicably and without resorting to legal action whenever this is possible.

Lloyd Davies Chartered Surveyors?

Ours is an independent firm of chartered surveyors established in 1996 providing advice on the value and condition of residential and commercial property in the London, Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent area.

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