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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 28992
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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New neighbour is accusing us of trespassing on his land. We

Customer Question

New neighbour is accusing us of trespassing on his land. We have been here for 28 years . He is not going to take us to court.
JA: Where is the neighbor? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: where as in area?
JA: What steps has the neighbor taken so far?
Customer: we have today received a letter from a solicitor with his instructions
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Only that he doesn’t actually live there yet although he brought the property from his father at the start of 2020.
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 18 days ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

I am very sorry to read of the above and I imagine what a difficult position it must be. I will certainly try to clarify your options.

may I clarify this because the neighbour contends the boundaries in the wrong place please or for other reasons?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
He is saying that we have moved the fence and gate but it is in the same place as when we moved in 28 years ago. He has now also added that because we changed our lawn to slabs we have apparently made our garden higher and also that becaus3 we changed the wall to sleepers in our garden his fence has deteriorated. It’s unbelievable. Do we now some how have to prove that we haven’t done any of these things?
Expert:  Joshua replied 18 days ago.
  1. thank you. are you able to clarify your comments in relation to sleepers causing damage to his fence? Do you have sleepers which are in contact with his fence?
  2. have you obtained a copy of your title plan from the land registry and if so, does that indicate that the fence is in the wrong place as the neighbour claims?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
The sleepers are in front of his fence . They don’t touch them at all.
We only had to put sleepers there because the wall that was originally there which is in our garden was falling down. So dangerous to my family. It hasn’t affected his fence at all and was done years land registry the same as deeds.
Expert:  Joshua replied 18 days ago.

thank you. In essence, what this amounts to is the basis of a boundary dispute with either separate or associated allegations of property damage. If the neighbour does not propose to take any further action, one possible to ignore the neighbour and do nothing - the sleeping dogs approach.

Alternatively, you could consider settling the matter once and for all using the relatively cost-effective land registry boundary dispute resolution service. This costs £90 to initiate and involves you completing the following form and drawing a precise plan showing the location of the boundary as you consider it to lie with measurements and sending this to the land registry. The land registry will then write to you and the neighbour and asked the neighbour to either consent or object to the proposal. They will have a short period of time to do one of these. If they either consent or do not reply to the land registry, the registrar will update your respective titles with the measurements you have provided. If they object, the land registry will send instructions that a surveyor must be appointed either to act for you jointly or each of you to appoint an individual surveyor as you prefer to prepare a detailed report which the registrar will then consider and make a determination in respect of the location of the boundary line. either of you can appeal the land registrar's decision to the first tier property tribunal for a final decision if you disagree.

In the event that the decision goes against you and the boundaries decided in accordance with the neighbours contention, you would then be able to fall back on in adverse possession claim in respect of any part of land which is decided against you on the basis you have occupied for more than 10 years in the ( in those circumstances incorrect) but honest belief that it formed part of your garden.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
In the letter received today from Thirsk Winton LLP it says we have 14 days to respond or it goes to court.
Expert:  Joshua replied 18 days ago.

I am sorry I understood you stated in your original post that he was not taking you to court - perhaps this is a typo? What are they proposing to pursue in court? The boundary, damage to fence or both?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Sorry. Both! And that his privacy rights. We tried to have a few meetings with him ( and his parents) but he just kept saying “ you are trespassing “ which got really irritating. My husband even said we would move a fence panel which was the main argument. (Even though it has always been where it is now) but just because when we looked at a house a few doors up it was straight and not at an angle. Would it be easier to take photos of the letter we received today and send them to you.?
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Also is he allowed to take photos of our back garden without our permission. He has also had cameras installed and I’m sure they see into our garden.
Expert:  Joshua replied 18 days ago.

thank you. If the is threatening action through the County court, it may be sensible to pre-empt this by using the land registry's boundary dispute resolution process. This is because this process is far more suited to resolving boundary disputes than the County court which have perfectly good but nevertheless non-specialised judges. The land registry and first tier property tribunal have specialist knowledge in this area and also the costs of resolving a dispute in relation to a boundary is far more cost-effective using this approach. If you have begun the process, if they subsequently issue proceedings in the County Court, you can request an adjournment on the basis that proceedings are already underway. a county court would almost always defer to a first a property tribunal in such matters as they have primary jurisdiction.

as regards ***** ***** the fence, this is a matter that would have to be resolved in court if you are unable to agree but principally, he will have to prove the cause of the damage and in the assumption the amounts involved will be significantly under £10,000, this would be a matter dealt with in the Small Claims Court and accordingly, the other party's solicitors costs need not be a concern.