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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practicing Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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We're trying to buy a house and have a boundary question. The

Customer Question

We're trying to buy a house and have a boundary question.
The boundary at the front is unclear, and there is some land which could belong to the property we wish to buy or could belong to the neighbours.
It looks like it belongs to the property we wish to buy, as there is a 2m strip of different coloured hedge in place, but could this be contested in future?
How do we know exactly what we're buying?
- Is it the land as shown on the "filed plan"? This is apparently just a general guide rather than an absolute rule.
- Is it the land as agreed in person with the neighbours themselves?
- Something else?
Is there an absolute answer to this question or is it a matter of opinion and could be contested in court in future?
Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
HI, the rule on boundaries of land is a "hotchpotch" of rules and regulations have have developed over hundreds (if not thousands) of years and so to establish a boundary is not an easy "one stop" reply. Certainly it is correct that the title plan is for identification only, but it it is good start. Generally land that is "used"and "contained" within a specific boundary for the owners own use then that land can be claimed by the user as their is the land has been used for over 12 years. So that is another way of obtaining a type of ownership for land. If there is a dispute over the exact boundary of the land generally speaking it is s slightly forensic approach that is taken that usually involves a historical analysis of the available documents such as old conveyances, photographs, witness evidence to build a picture up of how the boundary moved and then use this, with any legal arguments to establish is a boundary can be legally claimed, or re-positioned.
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for that information.
If I explain the specifics please could you provide more specific info?
- There are 2 houses, one is for sale (number 53) which we wish to buy, the other is the neighbour (number 55)
- There is a shared driveway at the front of the houses with hedges in front of that.
- The hedge in front of 53 has a 1m gap in it for pedestrian access.
- So you have hedgea[7m]-gap[1m]-hedgeb[2m].
- We are not sure who uses this gap
- hedgea is the same colour as hedgeb. It is a different colour and style to the hedge in front of 55
- It looks from the title plan that hedgea is definitely part of the title of 53, and also the gap.
- The uncertain part is hedgeb and the land it's on and the driveway between it and the houses.
- The seller says that hedgea+gap+hedgeb is all part of the land of the house they're selling.So if we buy this house, what exactly are we buying?
Could the boundary be contested in future in court, and we would have to provide evidence?Thanks,
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
It is very difficult to advised without access to plans (for a start, and for example, I don't know which side each house is to each other and so where the hedges sit in relation to one another) Can you upload a plan?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, thanks, ***** ***** go
2 plans from various sources
Also a picture from google maps showing the hedges and the gapThanks for your help so far,
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for this. Well first things first, your legal boundaries are defined within the Red lined area,.So although that doesn't prove things to the last millimetre it is the first indicator of the ownership of property. So to start you could use the scale to mark out on the ground the approximate area of ownership. Ultimately, and if cost allows, you could employ a surveyor to do so with more accuracy who could plot the lines from the title plan against what is on the land. It is possible that with the "kink" on the boundary line plan this would tend itself to a conclusion that hedge b is incorporated into number 53, but a surveyors plan would assist you more with where the boundary lines may fall.
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
In addition to this, most times in situations such as this there are rights/obligations built into the sale Deeds that provide for the maintenance /obligations of the boundary fences and hedges, and so it may be that (if these are a joint responsibility) that regardless of who owns the fence the maintenance obligations remain between you are your neighbours. You need to check this with your solicitors
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
I am away now for final Christmas shopping! Do please post and I will try and pick this back up Boxing day/Day after if that is OK, unless i have replied to your questions in which case please leave positive feedback. Alternatively I will post another option in case a talk with me over the phone would be something you would be interested in.Again happy to take the call any time until later today.