That’s true, not just in an Australian soap opera, but all over the world, so the worst thing we can do is fall out with our neighbours because, as we all know “good neighbours become good friends“… or at least they don’t start a war which ends up in Court as happened in this case – “BOUNDARIES, BORDERS AND COSTS” reported in Civil Litigation Brief by Gordon Exall
Solicitors are often contacted by one aggrieved party who feels that they’ve been slighted because their neighbour’s tree overhangs their garden or they think a new fence has been put in 3 centimetres too far over. Those are common gripes but on the other hand, it can often be that they may really have their property rights at stake, for example, where an extension is being built up against a party wall without following the procedure laid down in the Party Wall Act 1996 which provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
Other common problems can be boundary disputes, the blocking of shared drives and the fallout from buying a house where the sellers have failed to disclose material issues about their neighbours, such as complaints they’ve made for years about rave parties. If these are not disclosed during the sales process, it is possible for the new owner to bring a claim against the seller for that non-disclosure and the amount to which the problems have diminished the value of the property. Many household insurance policies contain Legal Expense Insurance which usually covers advice on neighbour/boundary disputes, so it’s always worth checking your policy documents. These are complex matters of law which need the advice of an experienced lawyer who specialises in property dispute resolution.
If you need any further help with this topic, call Adrian Boulter on 0208 363 4444
Really ? How well do you get on with your neighbours ? Our Dispute Resolution team gets involved in so many property disputes between sellers/buyers and also neighbours over a whole range of problems.
When we buy a property, we rely on the Sellers’ Property Information form to tell us whether there have ever been any neighbour or boundary disputes – the answer is usually “No” – because you do know that “Yes” would be the kiss of death to the sale! The boundaries are also identified – left or right of the property.
One good tip when buying a house is to go back at various times and check out the surrounding area – including the evenings, after dark on a Friday or Saturday night, just to see what the noise level is like, particularly from the house next door.
So far, so good.
The problem arises, though, when you move in or you yourself get new neighbours and they start with the all-night parties – (housewarming – ok – you let that one go – but then the loud music carries on each week!) – or they decide to build a large extension (sometimes on the party wall) and have to move the boundary fence for that and replace the old fence……but a couple of feet over – or they let the leylandii shoot up like triffids – any of this starting to sound familiar ?
Clearly these examples (not exhaustive) sound extreme but they can cause no end of stress and at the worst, can ruin lives – because, when it’s your home, there is no escape.
If you do have neighbour issues, firstly, check your household insurance policies for the words “Legal Expense Insurance” (e.g. via ARAG). These policies often cover neighbour/ boundary disputes, so that would be your first port of call, to their helpline. If they think you need legal advice from a specialist firm of solicitors, they may refer it to someone like Curwens solicitors, the cost of which is covered by your policy as long as it’s a viable claim (and you follow our advice!).
For further advice, call 0208 363 444 and ask for Adrian Boulter, property dispute expert.