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You might an extrovert or an introvert, you
might like hosting neighbourhood parties or you live in the kind of
neighbourhood where everyone keeps to themselves, save for the odd nod of the
head and smile when you pass in the street. Good neighbours or bad neighbours
may sometimes come to disagreements, particularly when one property encroaches
on another. This could be some dispute that has built up over the years, or it
could come out in the open straight away after a property has changed
possession but it is important to look into, in case you or your neighbours are
likely to encounter any disputes about boundary walls and other potential
issues.

What May Cause Disputes?

While a lot of minor issues can cause disputes
between neighbours; such as not putting the recycling out in the right place,
parking in awkward spots or having a loud dog that barks late at night, many of
these disputes can be settled without having to get official representatives
involved. For more serious disputes; such as property disputes, boundary
disputes and party wall disputes, you may need to request the assistance of a
surveyor or solicitor.
Boundary Disputes – In some cases a boundary wall may move over a period of time and in
many instances of this the boundary line separating two properties can become a
bit of a grey area. This can cause some disputes as both adjoining residents
may feel they have equal claim to the area within or outside of the current
boundary.
Party Wall Disputes – Where two properties are joined by a ‘party wall’ or a supporting
wall, any improvement or renovation works surrounding the party wall, including
construction and demolition must have been approved by both parties. There are
a number of complications surrounding this and it can be a cause of many disputes
between neighbours.
Other Similar Disputes – Anything from parking spaces to loud noises to overhanging tree
branches can be the cause of a dispute between neighbours. Officially the use
of loudspeakers should not be used between the hours of 9pm and 8am, whereby
the local authority has the power to deal with a noise complaint. Similarly
while there is no official ‘claim’ to parking spaces in the residential road,
every resident has a right to retain access to his or her drive at all times
and parking in front of it can be an offence. Overhanging tree branches from
one property into another can be a hazard and is the responsibility of the
property owner upon which the tree is mainly located.
So Who Can Help in These Disputes?
You might think that your neighbour will understand
your woes perfectly and that you can simply talk it out like adults, but in
reality disputes might not go the way you expect. Everybody has their own
opinion on what is right and what ‘should be’ so it is important to enter into
negotiations with all the preparations ready. Particularly for disputes such as
party wall issues and boundary issues, you might need to prepare to put up a
fight.
For expert professional advice and
assistance, you could enlist the help of an experienced surveyor or a
solicitor, both of which will be able to assist you in reaching a satisfying
conclusion for all parties involved.
Your Local Solicitor – As experienced solicitors in a range of different legal matters,
your local solicitors will be able to provide a carefully constructed argument
for your case. They work hard at making sure all parties are satisfied and that
you reach a conclusion that you are happy with, aiming to resolve such cases
before they end up in court.
Chartered Surveyors – Experienced chartered surveyors draw from local knowledge in
properties and the property market in order to help you argue your case. With
boundary disputes, they may even be able to look into historical records for
the property and discern where the original boundary line rested. This allows
them to provide the best advice for you to win your case.
At the end of the day it is important to
keep calm. Worrying about getting into a potential dispute is not going to
solve your issue any quicker. Make sure to try to talk it out with your
neighbour beforehand, as they may be more than happy to respect your wishes or
make amends if you feel they have encroached over the boundary line. It is
never advised to jump into the offensive straight away, as you might make an enemy
of your neighbour quicker than you can resolve a potential non-problem.
Article
provided by George Ide LLP; a private law firm serving regular clients based
in both Portsmouth & London since 1963.