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5 Property Disputes You May be Involved in in Your Lifetime *

*Collaborative Post.

In this article, we look at some of the most common property disputes and, how to handle them…

For most property owners, having your own place feels rewarding and can provide a greater sense of fulfilment. However, for others it can bring about a great deal of stress if issues start to arise such as a parking dispute or living next door to a noisy neighbour.

While disputes like these tend to be resolved amicably, if an issue persists it is advisable to speak to a solicitor who specialises in civil dispute litigation. In order to help further, in this article we’re going to be giving you a run-down of the 5 most common property disputes and how to prevent them.

Residential Parking Space Disputes

In 2014, 45-year old Alison Morrison, a member of the local safer neighbourhood team in Harrow, was stabbed to death in the street following a long running parking dispute with her neighbour. While extreme cases like this are thankfully rare, parking issues are among the most common disputes which are heard in civil dispute litigation courts.  

Shocking figures show that approximately 62% of British people are involved in disputes or arguments with their neighbours over parking spaces. In an ideal world, all households would have a garage or drive large enough to accommodate all of the occupants’ vehicles but, this is not the case for a huge number of Brits. 

A lot of the time, residents and homeowners have either a driveway shared with an adjoining property or street parking. And unfortunately this can lead to disagreements – particularly if one or both households have more than one vehicle.  

Many people mistakenly believe that they have ‘dibs’ on a street parking space if it is directly in front of their home, despite this not being the case. As there is no automatic right to a street parking space, unless residents have a specific permit so, these are instead up for grabs for whoever gets their first. 

In the case of a dispute regarding a shared driveway, residents should check the deeds of their property which will, in most cases, provide clarity on their rights regarding the driveway. As with any kind of neighbour dispute, always try to avoid getting into a verbal or physical altercation with the neighbour as this can quickly escalate the problem.

Boundary Disputes

The Land Registration Division of the Property Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal, UK has stated that around 1200 referrals are received in Great Britain every year regarding boundary disputes. This kind of issue arises from a few different causes and, these can include: 

These kinds of disputes can be extremely stressful and can cause rifts between otherwise friendly neighbours. 

In the case of a fence or wall requiring repair, the deeds to your property should shed some light on this. if not, you may need to contact the Land Registry for clarification. 

If your neighbour’s tree or bush is encroaching onto your property, you have the right to trim or remove the part which is on your property.  

In terms of removal (for example, if your neighbour’s tree is blocking the sunlight to your property) your only option is to speak with the neighbour to try to find a resolution. It may be that a historical preservation order means that nothing can be done but, if this is not the case, yourself and your neighbour will hopefully find a mutually acceptable answer.

Noisy Neighbours

Most people, at one time or another, will have to deal with noisy neighbours – and this rarely ends well. This anti-social issue may include: 

Unreasonable noise from neighbouring properties can result in a lack of sleep as well as general annoyance and frustration. If you have a reasonable relationship with your neighbours, it’s a good idea to start with a polite request. For example, asking them to turn down their music. If the problem persists, you have a couple of options available to you: 

With noisy neighbour issues, you should avoid contacting the police unless you feel that you or somebody else is in danger.

Pet Disputes

There are approximately 10.2 million pet dogs in the UK so it’s a reasonable assumption that, at some point, you’ll either own one or you’ll live next door to one.  Common neighbourly pet peeves include: 

If you believe your neighbour’s dog presents a danger to yourself or other people, you can report this to your local council’s warden service who will visit the property to assess the animal.  

If the problem is the noise from your neighbour’s dog, your local council’s noise pollution department may be able to help. 

Finally, if the neighbour’s pooch is doing its business in your garden, you might want to consider putting up a fence or wall up to stop the dog getting onto your property. If you’re not able to do this, you can seek advice from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or your local council.

Right of Way 

In some cases, a property will include a footpath or other piece of land which is used by members of the public. This can mean that the homeowner is having to live with people tramping past their home at all times of day and night. In this case, the homeowner needs to check the property deeds to confirm that the land does, in fact, belong to the property and then either fence off the land or put up signs warning that trespassers will be confiscated. 

The one problem here is if, for example, you’ve just bought a property and don’t want people to use a footpath as they have done previously. It’s possible that a person who has, for example, used the footpath without resistance for some time, may be able to claim right of way. To do this, however, they will need to be able to show evidence that they have been using the path for 20 years or more.

Property Disputes and Resolutions

When you’re experiencing a dispute with a neighbour, it can impact on every aspect of your life and, in many cases, will result in one of the party’s being forced to move out. Prevention is almost always better than cure so, where possible, it makes sense to create a civil relationship with your neighbours right from the start as this will make it a lot easier to resolve any issues which may arise. 

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained dispute professional. Be sure to consult a dispute solicitor if you’re seeking advice about a dispute with your neighbour. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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