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Residential Property Disputes

We have a team of specialist Property Litigation Solicitors (a sub division within our large Civil Litigation Division) who can offer advice and assistance in all types of property dispute.

We will look at three areas with you –

Boundary Disputes

In England and Wales, in the majority of cases, there is no record of the exact boundary line between adjoining properties. The Title Plan will give you an idea of where the boundary line is, but the majority of such plans do not show you the exact dividing line. If you want to record the boundary line precisely you can do this by making a Boundary Agreement with your neighbour or by applying to the Land Registry for a determined boundary.

If you disagree with your neighbour in respect of where the boundary line lies, you can get assistance from RICS whose expert surveyors can provide advice.

If you cannot agree matters with your neighbour we recommend getting legal advice as boundary disputes can get complex.

Please note where a boundary line can be determined by reference to the conveyance and Title Plan, sometimes other evidence may establish a different boundary as a result of adverse possession/a possessory title. Also, in rare cases, an informal Boundary Agreement may take precedence over the strict legal boundary.

Given the uncertainties involved in most boundary disputes Alternative Dispute Resolution, for example Mediation, is well worth considering.

Landlord and Tenant Disputes

In the event of a dispute which cannot be resolved by negotiation, we can advise and guide you. The starting point will be the written Tenancy Agreement (in tenancies without a formal agreement, the terms of the agreement will be applied based on available evidence including the parties conduct). Some of the most common problems between Landlords and Tenants include possession proceedings for eviction based on rent arrears or breach of covenant. Close attention to detail is always required in order to ensure appropriate notices are given to the Tenant including the most common notices based on Section 8 (fault based) and Section 21 (no fault evictions). We always recommend taking legal advice at an early stage to ensure any notice is valid.

Other common issues include those arising from Leasehold Titles including enfranchisement, Lease extension, disputes over service charges, repairs, etc.

Joint Ownership Disputes

In recent years, joint ownership disputes have been increasing including friends or unmarried partners coming together to purchase a property and frequently parents lending money to their child and child’s partner to enable them to buy a property. Also, siblings frequently inherit a property following the death of a parent. Unfortunately, disputes sometimes arise when the relationship between joint owners breaks down or when one owner wishes to sell their share and the other does not wish to do so. Also, disputes arise as to the value of one joint owner’s share.

In such cases, the other party may apply to the Court for a Declaration as to ownership and for an Order that the property be sold thereby forcing a sale. Such applications are frequently made under TOLTA (Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act).

In addition, frequently disputes arise between cohabitees following a relationship breakdown in situations where the legal title to the property is in one name alone and the non-owning partner claims that he/she has a beneficial interest in the property arising under what is called a Constructive Trust or by way of Proprietary Estoppel.

Our specialist team can assist you with all types of residential disputes including Landlord and Tenant, boundaries, Party Wall Act, trespass to land, right to light, prescriptive easements, nuisance and also in relation to injunctions.