Written by: Asiya Kaleem
Date: 4th November 2022
Neighbour disputes can range from minor issues such as nuisance-related disputes including excessive noise, boundary disagreements and planning disputes, an overgrowth of hedges or trees that block views of light together with disputes over who is responsible for shared amenities such as a drain, pipe, or drive.
Since the Pandemic there has been a significant increase in neighbour and boundary disputes accelerated to a new level by consecutive lockdowns, home and hybrid working arrangements.
Read on to find out more about what to do and what rights you have when it comes to managing a dispute with your neighbour about planning permission/ boundary dispute.
Are you (or your neighbour) planning on making changes to your home or a property owned by you? Things which people might need to get planning permission for include:
The correct procedure for making certain changes to your home is to:
It is important to note that planning permission may not be necessary if the works meet certain conditions, for example a smaller extension or outbuilding may not need permission.
We generally advise clients to first try and solve your problem person-to-person in an informal way, by talking to your neighbour. If you have any concerns about approaching your neighbour in person, you may wish to send a letter instead. Try to find out if any of your other neighbours are affected by the problem too and see if they’re willing to help in some way.
If your neighbour is a tenant in a rented home, and talking to them doesn’t resolve the dispute, another possibility is to contact their landlord for assistance.
If you have no joy by way of informal resolution, then the next step is to seek legal advice to see if you have a valid claim against your neighbour. On the other hand, if you are being sued by your neighbour then a Solicitor will be able to advise you if you have a defence to the claim.
Boundary disputes with your neighbour
If you have a dispute with your neighbour over a shared wall or fence, then these are civil matters. The local authority planning department does not intervene in these matters. Instead, you will have to resolve them yourself by appointing a surveyor or seeking legal advice.
If you have a dispute with your neighbour over an overgrown hedge or tree then this must be dealt with in a specific way. Generally, you can trim branches or roots from your neighbour’s hedge or tree, but only up to the point that they intrude onto your property. If your view is blocked by a neighbour’s tree, the neighbour could take you to court if you cut any part of the tree that’s on their own property.
Our litigation specialists can:
An expert boundary report by a chartered boundary surveyor or chartered land surveyor. We can instruct a Chartered boundary surveyor on your behalf to prepare an expert report. The surveyor will use various forms of documentary evidence together with historic physical boundary markers on the ground, when determining where the boundary lays. Documents include title plans from the Land registry.
What happens at court:
Each party present their evidence to a judge, who then makes a legally binding decision based on the evidence.
Contact our Litigation team
At Keoghs Nicholls Lindsell & Harris LLP our Litigation specialists will be happy to help you make or defend a neighbour dispute over boundaries, contact us on 0161 928 9321 or fill in our contact form and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.