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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71135
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have a shared drive with neighbours; neighbours own it and

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I have a shared drive with neighbours; neighbours own it and I have defined right of way in deeds. But they are claiming a strip of land alongside this. The Land Registry won't give a verdict on who owns what (my deed plan is at A3, the neighbours at A4). There are local details of where the boundary lay: the school (my home) was formerly owned by North Yorkshire County Council; and the neighbouring house by an estate, the Nawton Tower Estate, so that there is local evidence of where the boundary falls. The neighbours however won't discuss this and it is only recently that they are trying an even bigger encroachment: how can boundaries be resolved in such a case????

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Who has had use of the land until now?

How big is it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Anyone visiting The Old School (my house) and Glen Cottage (the neighbours). The main access to The Old School is via this drive, and has been for decades.

I haven't got measurements to hand - the drive is the length of both houses. The amount the neighbours are encroaching is only c16cms; but this would give them leeway to move a small gate at the f ront of my house. This has already been moved once, to their satisfaction (they would not allow the posthole for gatepost to be re-inserted in drive, where the old one had been).



My answers have disappeared into upper part of form: do you have them, please (I'm not expert with dealing with computers).


The strip of land the neighbours are claiming is 6" wide (it was laid when imperial measurement was standard), in the form of kerbstones, which are distinctive from any other materials used in the drive: thus defining the edge of The Old School path, which is at a slightly different physical level from the drive itself; the level of this path also continues into the yard at the back of The Old School. The previous owner of Glen Cottage, the Nawton Tower Estate, was quite explicit about where the boundary fell, between the school path and the drive.









They can only claim adverse possession of the land in question which means they can only claim the boundary is where they now want it to be if they have "occupied" the land they are now claiming, without objection, and without consent and not in secret, for more than 10 years.

It is actually very difficult to prove 10 years use and occupation of the land because no one ever takes a note of when they start to use it.

Whether they are applying for adverse possession of this strip of land or whether they are simply wanting the position of the boundary to be defined, and if they will not take note of any evidence that you have this is a matter that would have to be decided by the Land Tribunal.

These claims are not at all cheap and can easily cost in excess of £10,000 if it goes all the way to a fully contested Land Tribunal hearing although those costs are usually paid by the loser.

So you would both have to pay your legal costs up until that time.

If you have legal expenses cover it would pay for the legal costs in all probability so check your house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover that would pay for the boundary dispute.

In order to avoid the expense of going to a Land Tribunal hearing and the risk of losing and paying astronomical legal costs my suggestion would be to see if they will agree to appoint an independent surveyor to look at the area in question and to look at all the proof that both you and the neighbour have and to come up with a conclusion as to the correct position of the boundary. You would of course both need to agree to be bound by whatever the surveyor's decision is.

That would be the cheapest way and the quickest way to resolve this.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for that.

Am I right in thinking that in common law, which I assume this comes under, if my neighbours refuse to cooperate, they can do that; that there is nothing to compel them to cooperate: so they can effectively do what they like unless I'm prepared to spend thousands? So, despite having evidence that the boundary is not where they are now claiming, there is effectively nothing I can do unless willing to spend thousands?

The only way of compelling them to cooperate if they decide to just be unreasonable, is to take them to court.

They can always fence this area off if they wish and your remedy is an injunction to stop them and court application for a determination to decide where the boundary is.

Bearing in mind also that you can do the same thing and fence this off and they have to then do the same.

Of course, if it does end up in court, the loser is generally ordered to pay the winners costs, so you are not necessarily spending thousands and nor are they, they are at risk of losing thousands of pounds as indeed you are, depending on who the decision favoured.