Boundary disputes can prove emotive and difficult to resolve where both parties are entrenched in their views as to where the boundary should be.
A recent Court case (Acco Properties Limited -v- Mr and Mrs Severn) has provided a useful reminder as to the principles which apply to disputes of this nature. The judge in this case provided the following guidance:
In cases of registered land, filed plans show the general position only and are not determinative as to the exact boundary line.
The starting point in determining the matter is the original Conveyance (or equivalent document) and any plans which might be attached.
Topographical features which existed when the boundary was first established may be of relevance (in this case, regard was had to a raised bank).
The conduct of the ‘original’ landowners may be of probative value in establishing their intentions as to where the boundary fell. Likewise, the conduct of later proprietors of the land might have resulted in a binding boundary agreement (whether express or implied).
Where there is evidence of the boundary features having moved over time, title to the land appropriated may now vest in the neighbouring owner by virtue of the doctrine of adverse possession.
The Court should consider what a ‘reasonable layman’ would have thought he was buying when purchasing one or the other of the properties involved.
In this particular case, the Court found that the boundary line fell midway between where the Claimant and Defendant said the boundary should be. The judge based this decision on the existence of an informal boundary agreement, which arose out of the Defendants having felled two trees on their side of the boundary. The Court held that in discussions which took place between the Defendants and the Claimant’s predecessors-in-title at the time, both parties acknowledged that the trees were on the Defendant’s land.
For further information please contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or email@example.com.
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