Ask an Property Solicitor. Get an Answer ASAP.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if you have obtained a copy of your title deeds to date please?
Yes I have, but they are very small and the line marking the boundary is very inconclusive (its a thick red marker line)
Thanks. Is there any declaration of "party structures" in your title deeds themselves that you can see. There neednt be but sometimes there is?
No nothing at all.
Thanks. No help there then. On that basis you have the makings of a boundary dispute with your neighbour and you may need to consider formally determining the boundary line with your neighbour in the following manner.
If there is a dispute with regards XXXXX XXXXX of the boundary line then the first thing to look at is your title plan which you can obtain from the land registry if you do not already have it. Occasionally though not often measurements can appear on the plan. Where this is the case the measurements will be legally binding. More often than not however the plan will contain no measurements but will be expressed to be for the purpose of identification only.
In these circumstances the plan is, whilst drawn to scale only for the purpose of identification can will not necessarily establish the exact location of the boundary line very precisely. Where this is the case you can either agree between you and your neighbour where the boundary line lies with or without the assistance of a surveyor using the RICS boundary resolution service or through the land Registry adjudicator or alternatively the County Court.
It can often be difficult to determine the exact position of a boundary in terms of centimeters or inches but a plan should enable identification of land in terms of several feet usually. As above, properties are generally registered with a plan for identification purposes showing the general position of a boundary. Sometimes it can be relatively straightforward to determine the location of the boundary by reference to another structure such as the house but not always and even then not necessarily with the degree of accuracy that may be required.
If you are unable to agree the location of the boundary line, you can ask the Land Registry to determine the boundary on the title plans by instructing a surveyor to prepare a a very precise plan showing the exact line of the boundary in the surveyors opinion. You will need to use a RICS qualified surveyor to draw up a plan. You then complete form DB (link below) and send to the Land Registry who will inspect the same and serve a notice on your neighbour offering him the opportunity to object to their proposals. You can include the evidence such as you have with your application and can show this to your surveyor when he is preparing his plan.
There is a fee of £90.
If your neighbour agrees to this proposal you can share the cost of a surveyor. If he refuses then this amounts to a boundary dispute which can be determined by the Land Registry Adjudicator
If the boundary is determined in the above manner then your title deeds will be updated with precise measurements which are legally binding going forward.
On the basis that the dispute is determined in your favour you can then proceed with your proposed building works free of threat of injunction or claim for trespass.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
What is the legal position of me starting work before a dispute has been resolved?
This is dangerous potentially. He could seek an injunction as he has threatened - not without cost for him and more often threatened than carried through - but certainly achievable. This would require to stop works on receipt on penalty of contempt of court which is very serious so you would have to comply with the order. If you can complete the works very quickly you may judge that you can finish before he can obtain an injunction but an injunction can be obtained in a matter of a few days potentially. If you can complete the works before he obtains an injunction he is then in a week position because he must first prove that the boundary does lie where he claims in order to claim against you. If he can though the court can order the works removed but more often when works have been finished will order damages paid for trespass equivalent to the market rate for a right to overhang as advised by a surveyor.
Is there anything else I can help you with?
just one thing, what are the ball park costs for obtaining an injunction?
It depends on whether it is contested or not. If you contest it, because it is a boundary dispute, with surveyors costs and solicitors costs they can run into many thousands (£5K). A relatively straightforward contested injunction may cost him +/-£2000-2500. If it is uncontested by you then it may be circa £500.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?
No thats fine, thank you.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.