COLUMN: How to deal with neighbour disputes

Advertisement feature by Pearson Solicitors

AT this time of year our litigation solicitors often get calls about overhanging branches and big trees, but this is just one of the many legal issues that can occur when a relationship between neighbours turns sour.

Land disputes, property wall issues, a right to light, boundary disputes, planning objections and nuisance neighbours are all issues our experienced litigation team advises on for both residential and commercial properties.

After months of spending more time in our homes and gardens and in close proximity to our neighbours, these areas have become flashpoints.

When there is an issue between boundaries this can be a complex area and it is essential legal advice is obtained early. Often over time, especially in older properties, boundaries have become blurred.

Christopher Burke

“Sometimes extensions and fences have altered the topography and layout of the area and often property owners think the boundary between their property and their neighbours is in a straight line down the middle of the land, but this is not always the case,” said Chris Burke, Commercial Litigation Director at Pearson.

After reviewing title deeds, land registry documents, photographs and historical documents, surveyors for each side can often come to different conclusions.

Some cases will end up in court and the judge makes a decision based on all the evidence provided

“Litigation should however be a last resort and we usually manage to sort these issues out for our clients through appropriate legal correspondence, mediation or on-site meetings between all parties,” said Chris.

Your Right to Light is acquired expressly as stated in your deeds and is a right which is also acquired over a long period of time.

At Pearson Solicitors, we have seen an increase in instructions for clients whose rights have been affected by building works (such as extensions) being built by their neighbours.

Expert evidence is usually required from a specialist Right to Light surveyor in such cases.

In law a private nuisance is something done by a person which interferes with another person’s rights over their land and home.

Sometimes a quick chat with one of our team can help resolve the issue.

Sometimes action is needed and we can represent you and help by seeking an injunction to prevent the ongoing nuisance or help you claim any damages to compensate for losses, stress and time used.

In one case the Technology and Construction Court found that a builder had taken too long to renovate a property and had caused disruption and private nuisance to neighbours in an adjoining property.

Sporadic building work, excessive banging, noise, dust, scaffolding in place for a long time limiting privacy were found to be unreasonable and it was ruled that the neighbour experi-enced a loss of the enjoyment of their property.

As they say, ‘forewarned is forearmed’ so always check the deeds of your property before undertaking anything that affects the boundary with a neighbour and be aware of the Party Wall Act 1996.

Even if you’re already in dispute with neighbours it may not be too late to avoid litigation and we can advise on mediation, which can often be the key to a smooth successful outcome for all parties.

In the event of no agreement being reached, it’s important to have a solicitor with specialist experience of neighbour disputes.

Ultimately unless you plan to move it’s always advisable to keep the peace and avoid costly court action.

For advice on all aspects of neighbour disputes or if you simply want advice on a boundary dispute, call at Pearson Solicitors’ civil litigation department on 0161 785 3500 or email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *