The Daily Mail recently reported that neighbour disputes have forced almost one million people in the UK to move home.
Arguments about home and garden maintenance topped the list at 27% of causes, with problems regarding boundaries at 7% and children trespassing at 6%. It was reported that last year alone over £100million was spent rectifying property disputes!
The Court of Appeal also criticised a set of neighbours after nearly £1 million was spent in legal fees over a hedge. The costs of bringing the claim were so disproportionate to the claim itself; the Judge arguing that the neighbours should have tried to resolve the problems without spending that amount of money.
They do say a man’s home is his castle, and it seems that war can easily break out if in any way the castle walls are breached. It seems that more and more neighbours are falling out over boundary fences, hedges and rights of way. Clients are also becoming smarter about securing evidence against their neighbours, often coming to see me with photographs or videos captured on CCTV of a neighbour walking across a lawn or blocking a drive.
Often it is the case that if addressed at an early stage, the legal issues can be resolved fairly quickly and easily, resulting in a speedy resolution and no need to resort to the extreme measure of looking for a new house.
As a solicitor specialising in property disputes, I regularly advise and act for clients who are experiencing problems with their neighbours. One such way of approaching neighbour disputes is alternative dispute resolution, or ADR. This process involves trying to reach an agreement between the two parties without the need to enter into court proceedings, which is often a more cost effective approach. During ADR, neighbours can sit in separate rooms if needs be whilst solicitors shuttle back and forth trying to reach a resolution. Alternatively the RICS provide a service to try and resolve issues such as boundaries.
If a resolution still hasn’t been reached, then the surveyor will prepare a report to be used in court proceedings. Court proceedings should be a last resort but are there to provide an answer if needs be.
If you have had a disagreement with your neighbour regarding your property, Farleys’ residential property dispute solicitors can help you find a solution or provide you with an answer so you don’t become a statistic and feel forced to move. Please feel free to get in touch for advice.