Posted On / 04.05.2021

FAQ - Neighbour disputes

Multiple lockdowns and 'stay at home' rules may have resulted in property disputes with your neighbours, but how can a Solicitor help resolve these? Property Dispute Resolution Solicitor Annabel Morgan explains: 

What steps should a person take to resolve disputes with their neighbour?

  • Communication is often key - early communication between neighbours can often help to avoid the need to litigate. Consider and if appropriate, seek to agree the solution to the problem with the neighbour.
  • Check to see whether you have the benefit of before the event insurance (for example attached to your home insurance policy or bank account) as boundary disputes are discouragingly expensive. As Lord Hoffman said Alan Wibberley Building Limited Boundary disputes are a particularly painful form of litigation. Feelings run high and disproportionate amounts of money are spent. Claims to small and valueless pieces of land are pressed with the zeal of Fortinbras's army”.
  • Seek advice from solicitors on what your title plans and deeds show, we do not need to be formally instructed to correspond with your neighbour as often that creates further barriers in resolving the dispute. Often disputes can be resolved by better understanding the construction of the documents. In the absence of express provisions which outline what rights and obligations each owner has, issues can be resolved by agreement even informally.
  • Get independent expert advice. Consider engaging a surveyor for boundary related disputes otherwise, contact a solicitor who specialises and has experience in property disputes.  

If my local council is refusing to collect my recycling bin because neighbours are adding non-recyclable refuse to it, what can I do?

Waste dumping is illegal. You should report the waste dumping with the local council and request that they follow this up. Speak to your local waste collection service to provide your neighbour with a better understanding of what they will and will not take.

How could mediation help neighbours resolve a dispute?

 Mediation is often a very useful and pragmatic way to resolve disputes. Parties do not necessarily need to be legally represented at a mediation. It is a process focused on practical rather than legal solutions and allows an impartial third party to listen to all parties and encourage understanding and concessions to be made.  

Why should a person seek regulated legal advice to resolve disputes with neighbours?

Property disputes can be acrimonious, particularly between neighbours who have long since ceased to see eye to eye. We will help you to preserve a relationship with the other side as far as possible. Property disputes can be expensive and it is important to us that potential costs of a case are properly understood, proportionate to the dispute and capable of being funded. We will always therefore give you full advice in relation to the costs and consider funding options, including - for example - insurance-backed funding. We can also act on a fixed fee basis where appropriate. If litigation is necessary, as a regulated firm, we are able to conduct court proceedings on your behalf.

For more information contact Annabel Morgan on 01935 846262 or email annabel.morgan@battens.co.uk 

View our Property Dispute Resolution services here