With over sixty years of joint experience in the property market, estate agents Keith Trigg and Simon Meek are behind our Isle of Wight County Press Property Clinic.

This month (March), they take a look at boundary disputes, after a letter writer sought some advice...

Dealing with a boundary dispute can be a complex and potentially contentious issue.

Here are some general steps you can take to address the situation:

Review property documents

Begin by reviewing any relevant property documents, such as deeds, surveys and title reports. These documents may provide important information regarding the boundaries of your property. Boundaries are usually marked with a “T”. If it’s pointing out, then it indicates it’s the neighbour's. If pointing on the inside, it usually means it is your boundary. However, these are not always marked on the title plan.

Communicate with your neighbour

Open a dialogue with your neighbour about the boundary issue. Approach the conversation calmly and respectfully and try to understand their perspective. Sometimes boundary disputes arise due to misunderstandings or lack of clarity.

Hire a surveyor

If the boundary remains unclear after discussing it with your neighbour, consider hiring a professional land surveyor to survey the property lines. A surveyor will accurately measure and map the boundaries based on legal descriptions and existing markers.

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Seek legal advice

If discussions with your neighbour and the survey results do not resolve the dispute, you may need to seek legal advice from a solicitor specializing in property disputes. They can help you understand your rights and options under property law.

Mediation or arbitration

In some cases, mediation or arbitration can be effective methods for resolving boundary disputes, without going to court. A neutral third party can facilitate discussions between you and your neighbour to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

Court action

As a last resort, you may need to go to court to assert your property rights and resolve the boundary dispute through the legal system. Litigation can be costly and time-consuming, so it's generally best to explore other options first.

Have you got a question for Keith Trigg and Simon Meek of the Isle of Wight County Press Property Clinic?

  • Email editor@iwcp.co.uk and write 'Property Clinic' in the subject line

Document everything 

Throughout the process, keep detailed records of all communications, surveys, and any other relevant documentation. This will be valuable if the dispute escalates, and legal action becomes necessary.

Consider compromise

In some cases, reaching a compromise with your neighbour may be the most practical solution. This could involve adjusting property lines, sharing costs for a new survey, or agreeing on a boundary line that both parties find acceptable.

Remember, every boundary dispute is unique, and the best approach will depend on your specific circumstances.

It's essential to approach the situation with patience, diplomacy, and a willingness to explore various solutions.