‘My neighbour is threatening legal action over my wall. What do I do?’

Dear Property Doctors,

Our neighbours greeted the information of a proposed kitchen extension nicely on the premise that they had been going to do one themselves. But then they opposed us each step of the best way.

A couple of months into the construct they got here spherical and accused us of rebuilding the low wall dividing our small gardens (which was untouched by the constructing work) and stealing a slice of their backyard at some unspecified time up to now. They threatened authorized motion. 

This appeared like insanity as we’ve got lived in our home for 35 years and my neighbour for the final 20 years. We have clear photographic proof from once we moved in that the wall remains to be in the identical place and in the identical situation, and that it has by no means been rebuilt – however was repaired by the earlier homeowners after the Second World War. 

The authentic Victorian wall constructed 150 years in the past is clearly seen. They haven’t a shred of proof to assist their declare.

They later modified their story asserting that the wall was ours, although the primary line of our celebration wall settlement states that it’s, actually, a celebration wall. They demanded that we demolish and rebuild it on our facet of the boundary and threatened authorized motion once more. Despite asking a number of occasions, they’ve by no means specified by precisely how a lot they think about the wall has moved. 

Two years have handed and nothing has occurred past the threats of authorized motion. Should we promote, we now need to declare an unresolved boundary dispute which is able to adversely have an effect on us. My neighbour is a solicitor specialising in housing so presumably is nicely conscious of this. They had beforehand threatened us and two different close by households with authorized motion ought to any of us construct a loft extension, after which went on to construct one themselves – so we’re past affordable dialogue. 

We are in limbo with no particular case to battle so how can we resolve this vexatious declare? 

KG, by e mail

Boundary disputes of this nature are all the time a nightmare. You have in all probability learn of circumstances the place folks have spent tens of hundreds of kilos going to courtroom to argue about a couple of inches.

Unfortunately, as you clearly respect your self, these disputes need to be disclosed if you happen to want to promote your property and would likely postpone any purchaser. Therefore, I feel it could be finest to try to attain some form of decision.  

In some circumstances, you may get the Land Registry to outline the boundary if everybody agrees. However, that is very tough as actually detailed plans have to be ready and the Land Registry necessities are very strict. Normally, if you happen to can attain a call, a boundary settlement is entered into that defines the boundary by reference to drawings and bodily options on the bottom. That could be filed on the Land Registry which is able to forestall additional disputes.  

However, if you happen to can not attain settlement together with your neighbour, your solely choice aside from to do nothing and hope that by the point you promote that nothing current has occurred and the client hasn’t been postpone, is to deliver an motion for a declaration as to the place the boundary is. 

David Fleming is the top of property litigation at William Heath & Co solicitors (williamheath.co.uk)

Every week, The Telegraph’s Property Doctors deliver experience on renovations and DIY, planning, shopping for and promoting, lettings, authorized points and taxes. Send your inquiries to propertydoctors@telegraph.co.uk

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