Disputes over property and land can be highly charged, not least because you may have to live next to the person you are in dispute with for many years to come.
There are a number of ways to resolve a property dispute, from simply seeking clarification on a point of law through to contested court proceedings to determine ownership or rights over the land in issue. With some disagreements having the potential to drag on for several years and grow ever more acrimonious, it is crucial that you see seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
At Hethertons we can advise on the options available at every stage of the process and often work closely with architects and surveyors who may be required to provide an expert opinion on the specialist issues involved.
Areas where we can assist include:
- Disputes over ownership of land – we have represented clients in a range of disputes, including adverse possession claims. This type of claim usually arises where an individual has used and occupied land for a continuous period (usually 10 or 12 years) without the permission of the owner. In some circumstances, they may make a claim for the land to become theirs once enough time has elapsed.
- Party wall disputes – these arise where a neighbour intends to carry our building works on or near to the boundary with your property that could adversely affect the structure or use and enjoyment of your property. Such disputes usually involve instructing a party wall surveyor to represent you and protect your interests in the making of a Party Wall Act award.
- Boundary disputes – these usually arise where there is a disagreement between neighbouring property owners about where their land ends and their neighbour’s land begins. These disputes are often complicated, with solicitors needing to make reference to old pre-registration title deeds or evidence of the previous use and ownership of the land. Wherever possible we endeavour to resolve such disputes by agreement or by expert determination by an independent surveyor. Where that does not prove possible such claims usually have to be determined by proceedings in the Property Chamber, First Tier Tribunal.
- Disputes over rights of access, shooting rights and easements over land – the owner of land does not necessarily have exclusive rights to use it and when disputes over the nature and extent of such rights arise Hethertons can offer cost effective and pragmatic solutions to resolve such disputes by agreement between the parties, by some form of alternative dispute resolution or (if necessary) by tribunal or court proceedings.
- Disputes over defective building works and general building disputes – Hethertons can advise property owners, main contractors and sub-contractors on disputes that arise in relation to building works, both arising from large developments and smaller projects, such as home extensions. We will endeavour to resolve such disputes cost effectively by agreement between the parties or using one of the building industry dispute resolution procedures. Where that is not possible we will endeavour to find a suitable alternative dispute resolution procedure, failing which the dispute may need to be determined by either court or arbitration proceedings.