Urgent boundary help please!

Jotch
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Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Jotch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:15 pm

Hi, I'll try not to make this too long-winded. A month ago my quite elderly neighbours told me they had an embarassing subject they needed to discuss with me. She sat me down and told me that they had checked their deeds and discovered that a strip of land approx one metre wide running the full plot length between our detached properties was actually theirs. The dividing fence at the back is attached to the rear corner of their property and has been as long as I've been here (18 years) so the passageway between our houses leads excusively into my back garden, so it has always been assumed by both myself and my neighbours that the land is mine. (hope I'm making sense)

I've seen the original transfer plan and they do indeed show the land in question to be theirs. When I spoke to my solicitor about this though she made me aware of my right to take adverse possession and said it sounded pretty clear cut and I would almost certainly win. The thing is though, for 12 years I've had a great relationship with my neighbours, I'm not the green-fingered type and over the years I've on many occasions found them doing my gardens - lopping, pruning, general tidying - even to this day their son mows my front lawn every week or two. When I've rather sheepishly told them they really shouldn't bother they would always say "oh it's no problem, we enjoy it!" They also put my wheelie bins out when I forget, and regularly taking parcels in for me etc.

The other factor is that conceding this land wouldn't really impact on my life at all as I never use the passageway (I have access at the other side) and very rarely use my back garden. Yet it would be very beneficial to them to have rear access as she said she may soon end up in a wheelchair and the front door is not wide enough for one.

I realise I'm probably coming across as a bit of idiot/pushover talking like this, but given the above, I'm really struggling with how to proceed. They have said they are willing to pay for the new fence (it's officially mine to maintain) so I could effectively end all this now at no financial cost to me. (Of course, I would assume if I sold my house it would lose value. How much I'm not sure though?) If I decide to seek adverse possession I will immediately incur solicitors costs and who knows how much more expense down the line. ...Oh I forget to say why this is so urgent. They applied to the Land Registry to have the boundaries shown correctly as they didn't compare with the original transfer plan. I have let this drag on and only have until noon tomorrow to decide whether to contest this. My solicitor tells me that my position will be a lot less strong if I don't.

Sorry for this being so lengthy and I really appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.
Last edited by Jotch on Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mr sheen
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by mr sheen » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:37 pm

You need only spend a few seconds on this forum to get an idea about how much stress and I'll-feeling boundary disputes cause, not to mention how much they cost. If you measure the land in square metres, it is probably quite small and therefore in actual value of land it is probably pretty meaningless. Yet you get people spending tens of thousands in a fight over a strip worth a couple of hundred pounds.

It's unlikely that people can advise you about what to do...all people can do is either say what they would do or point out the outcomes of the options.

A pleasant neighbourhood and nice neighbours are priceless! Minor fracas can mushroom out of control and people then turn into fearless warriors intent on inflicting endless pain and stress on people they previously got on with, even getting them arrested etc. So, for me, a small strip of land that I am not using anyway is worth only a small amount in comparison with peace as I get on with my life ( others will disagree and suggest you get every inch of any land you can and will spend every minute of every day seeking to achieve this).

Your solicitor will happily take your cash to contest it...that is their business. The fact that the solicitor is talking about the land in terms of adverse possession suggest the solicitor also believes the land is the neighbours but you can claim that they have lost it and you have become the owner by adverse possession which you would have to prove.

So you ask yourself.....how much is that land actually worth to me? Will it reduce the value of my property?...how? By how much? What will happen if I claim adverse possession?...will I have to contest their claim? How much will that cost? How will the neighbours respond to contesting their claim? Will a dispute be a problem for me in any way eg moving? Etc etc
And many more questions ...think about the possible outcomes and costs of all possibilities and once you have done this...make your decision ...and take the consequences.

Jotch
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Jotch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:53 pm

mr sheen wrote:You need only spend a few seconds on this forum to get an idea about how much stress and I'll-feeling boundary disputes cause, not to mention how much they cost. If you measure the land in square metres, it is probably quite small and therefore in actual value of land it is probably pretty meaningless. Yet you get people spending tens of thousands in a fight over a strip worth a couple of hundred pounds.

It's unlikely that people can advise you about what to do...all people can do is either say what they would do or point out the outcomes of the options.

A pleasant neighbourhood and nice neighbours are priceless! Minor fracas can mushroom out of control and people then turn into fearless warriors intent on inflicting endless pain and stress on people they previously got on with, even getting them arrested etc. So, for me, a small strip of land that I am not using anyway is worth only a small amount in comparison with peace as I get on with my life ( others will disagree and suggest you get every inch of any land you can and will spend every minute of every day seeking to achieve this).

Your solicitor will happily take your cash to contest it...that is their business. The fact that the solicitor is talking about the land in terms of adverse possession suggest the solicitor also believes the land is the neighbours but you can claim that they have lost it and you have become the owner by adverse possession which you would have to prove.

So you ask yourself.....how much is that land actually worth to me? Will it reduce the value of my property?...how? By how much? What will happen if I claim adverse possession?...will I have to contest their claim? How much will that cost? How will the neighbours respond to contesting their claim? Will a dispute be a problem for me in any way eg moving? Etc etc
And many more questions ...think about the possible outcomes and costs of all possibilities and once you have done this...make your decision ...and take the consequences.
Thanks so much for that quick reply. My mind's swinging so much back and forth between contest/concede a dozen times a minute. As you say, is it really worth fighting over? I can end all my stress now by letting them have it.

Eliza
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Eliza » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:51 pm

You've admitted yourself that its theirs.

They've been doing you all these favours.

Isnt it obvious how to proceed in the circumstances? - ie accept its theirs...end of...

You add the fact that it looks like one of them will need a wheelchair imminently and...lets face it...how could you look yourself in the mirror if you try and claim it?

As there is no doubt in your mind its theirs - I honestly don't see why you are feeling stressed about it :? .

What you would have cause to feel stressed over is if you do try and nick their land and someone decides to stick up for them and shoves an article in the local paper saying "Nasty Mr X next door nicked a bit of garden and this poor woman cant use her own strip of garden to take her own wheelchair up, ie because Mr X nicked it". Well...its one way to get gossiped about....and not in your favour either....
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

despair
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by despair » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:19 pm

In the interest of good neighbour relations I would concede the land on the strict proviso in writing of a properly constructed feather edge fence
with concrete posts and gravel boards so that you do not face very swiftly the cost of replacing said fence which you admit is your responsibility

Jotch
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Jotch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:45 pm

despair wrote:In the interest of good neighbour relations I would concede the land on the strict proviso in writing of a properly constructed feather edge fence
with concrete posts and gravel boards so that you do not face very swiftly the cost of replacing said fence which you admit is your responsibility
Thanks. This was something I'd thought about. I spoke to them half an hour ago and said I've decided to let them have the land. They told me the fence would be a proper job with concrete posts. They also said that they will tidy up the whole garden and repair a small paved area for me as well. I'm very relieved to put this all to bed and move on.

mr sheen
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by mr sheen » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:01 pm

With some pleasant discussion this could become a win-win situation ....how refreshing...usually lose-lose situations seen on here. Good luck.

MacadamB53
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by MacadamB53 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:05 pm

Hi Jotch,

the [1m wide] passageway between our [detached] houses leads excusively into my back garden...

...and your neighbour owns this land.

have I got that right?

They applied to the Land Registry to have the boundaries shown correctly as they didn't compare with the original transfer plan. I have let this drag on and only have until noon tomorrow to decide whether to contest this.

why have HMLR involved you - am I right in thinking the land appears to be part of your legal estate according to your title plan?

Kind regards, Mac
edit: I see you've come to a hasty agreement so all the best...

Jotch
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Jotch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:12 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Jotch,

the [1m wide] passageway between our [detached] houses leads excusively into my back garden...

...and your neighbour owns this land.

have I got that right?

They applied to the Land Registry to have the boundaries shown correctly as they didn't compare with the original transfer plan. I have let this drag on and only have until noon tomorrow to decide whether to contest this.

why have HMLR involved you - am I right in thinking the land appears to be part of your legal estate according to your title plan?

Kind regards, Mac
edit: I see you've come to a hasty agreement so all the best...
Hi Mac,

My solicitor wrote to the LR to get clarification on the boundaries shown on my title plan. The LR then wrote to me to say that the boundary is not shown accurately and they proposed a new plan saying: "the general boundary of the title plan is now to be shown as accurately as possible to accord with the picture in the transfer plans" (they enclosed copies of my and my neighbours original transfer plans which clearly show the strip of land belonging to them)

The letter then said I had until noon on 15th April to oppose the alteration.

It's all been ridiculously stressful I've hardly slept this past month. Maybe I should be doing more to hold onto the land, but at the end of the day, as I've said, I can quite easily live without it and I just want it sorted.

span
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by span » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:03 pm

As plenty on here will confirm, I'm often the first to advise people to wise up, fight their corner, not give in, and employ plenty of dirty nasty tricks whilst doing so.

In your case, you wise up. You couldn't buy good neighbours for any amount of money, but you could create bad ones for absolutely free. Give them the land with a hearty "Good Luck" and a smile on your face. You're still winning, by miles.

Jotch
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Jotch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:43 pm

span wrote:As plenty on here will confirm, I'm often the first to advise people to wise up, fight their corner, not give in, and employ plenty of dirty nasty tricks whilst doing so.

In your case, you wise up. You couldn't buy good neighbours for any amount of money, but you could create bad ones for absolutely free. Give them the land with a hearty "Good Luck" and a smile on your face. You're still winning, by miles.
Thanks span.

It's comments like yours that reassure me I've done the right thing.

hzatph
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by hzatph » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:01 am

Why do they want the land back? What do they want to achieve? Is it simply to correct an error so that things are "correct" or are they seeking to acquire the land. Have you or your solicitor discussed this with them? If not, it may be worth doing so. For example, you could offer a "without prejudice" financial settlement plus costs of re-registering the boundary.

If you have the inclination, look up old maps and aerial photographs to see how long the boundary has effectively been in that position.

jdfi
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by jdfi » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:02 pm

Great to see this is resolved quickly.

One suggestion - would it benefit your property to ask them to grant your property an 'easement' over this stretch of land, so you are effectively reserving the right to access your back garden by this route.

People move house and.... well

COGGY
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Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by COGGY » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:12 am

Hi

jdfi said
Great to see this is resolved quickly.

One suggestion - would it benefit your property to ask them to grant your property an 'easement' over this stretch of land, so you are effectively reserving the right to access your back garden by this route.
This sounds a very good idea.

You have solved a potential problem. If this land was included in the neighbour's deeds it is easy to see the reason for their request.

Kind regards Coggy

Eliza
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Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:28 am

Re: Urgent boundary help please!

Post by Eliza » Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:52 pm

hzatph wrote:Why do they want the land back? What do they want to achieve? Is it simply to correct an error so that things are "correct" or are they seeking to acquire the land. Have you or your solicitor discussed this with them? If not, it may be worth doing so. For example, you could offer a "without prejudice" financial settlement plus costs of re-registering the boundary.

If you have the inclination, look up old maps and aerial photographs to see how long the boundary has effectively been in that position.
Its perfectly fair for someone to want their property back just on the grounds that it is THEIR property (eg you don't expect to lend a book to someone and they expect a reason out of you for wanting your own book back...its yours = end of).

If you are looking for some other reason = they need to have their property back (as the woman anticipates needing it for wheelchair access - ie she's obviously got some progressive illness that means this is the next thing on her horizon that will happen to her because of the illness).

I don't understand why OP felt stressed about doing the decent thing but he has now done the decent thing and that is more than some people would do (as you've obviously realised 8)
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

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