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party wall boundary dispute

(24 Posts)
kedy Wed 16-Dec-15 12:38:27

Hi all, i need some advice...we have planning permission to build a single storey rear extension to our terraced house. We want to build within our boundary and served the neighbour the appropriate notice. The neighbour, after months of dragging the issue, not answering our surveyors calls, asking further clarifications from our architect and then refusing to discuss clarifications, now (6 months after the notice), started saying that she thinks the boundary itself is incorrect. The party wall guy is saying he can take a look but boundary disputes are out of his jurisdiction. Read that these disputes can take years to resolve and be very expensive. I suspect this is just a new story to frustrate and delay us more. Could we just go ahead and build and tell her to go to court if she has a problem?

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Dec-15 13:41:42

You could but, if she is correct and the boundary is in the wrongplace, it will cause problems down the line. It would be much better to speak to her to find out what her (probably unfounded) concerns are and go from there. I take it you have ordered a plan of your and your neighbour's plots from the Land Registry so you can take an initial view on whether there are any grounds for her claim?

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Dec-15 13:41:50

You could but, if she is correct and the boundary is in the wrongplace, it will cause problems down the line. It would be much better to speak to her to find out what her (probably unfounded) concerns are and go from there. I take it you have ordered a plan of your and your neighbour's plots from the Land Registry so you can take an initial view on whether there are any grounds for her claim?

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Dec-15 13:42:14

Oops, sorry, for the double post.

kedy Wed 16-Dec-15 14:28:56

Thank you lalalonglegs, i got the copies but they do not show the lines as per the 5 cm scale she is on about. the lawyer said it would have to be a subjective judgement with "a team of experts" on site. she says the previous owners placed the fence defining the boundary on the incorrect line 25 years ago!

Boosiehs Wed 16-Dec-15 14:32:19

if its 25 yrs you may have gained adverse posession?

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Dec-15 17:08:26

Yeah, 25 years - she's having a laugh and it sounds as if the amount of land she is arguing about is a few cm wide.

kedy Wed 16-Dec-15 22:11:07

yes - it does sound ridiculous, as she has argued that where we live, even a few cm can add substantial amount of value to her property...we really are talking about am amount of space for half a flower pot to balance on. sigh...crossing fingers on this adverse possession thing...

TheLesserSpottedBee Thu 17-Dec-15 14:30:22

The question would be why is she arguing the position of the boundary now and not 25 years ago when she claims it was incorrectly positioned or when you moved in (so she was dealing with a new person over it)

Does she have issues with your extension? Have you asked her?

Google maps/Bing maps have the facility to show older satellite images, I can't look now as I am running out the door but you can show that the fence has been in that position for years.

Have a wander over to GardenLaw website to their forum on boundary disputes and post the same question there.

I know someone who had a boundary dispute, the law doesn't quite come into it, it is the person who has the biggest balls, the person with nothing to lose. The police uusally say it is a civil matter, and the solicitors just rub their hands. They do not have to live next to the crazy nutjob who is determined to make someone's life a living hell.

Don't do anything until you have posted on GardenLaw.

kedy Thu 17-Dec-15 19:43:03

Thank you TheLesserSpottedBee. I am really stressed about this...and don't know what to do... Yes, she has severe issues with the extension. She has commissioned a report to the planning office and paid about 2000 pounds for it which was arguing right of light etc (i called the people on the report to ask as i hadn't seen anything like this before). Our architect couldn't believe the length she'd gone - it's a simple 3 meter extension, we aren't building the Sydney opera house. If we had the house it would fall under permitted development but we owe only the ground floor. there is a 25 year old previous extension to our floor, which she believes has changed the boundary and the fence was built off of it and was therefore incorrectly positioned. she says the old extension can stay (thank you, thank you, bow), but the new bit needs to be back to the old boundary. to be honest i can't see anything, well maybe 5-10 cm if i squint, but houses are never dead straight are they? The new and additional story that has freshly today been made up is that the fence was also blown away a few years ago and previous owners (even more) incorrectly positioned it. Hard to believe this as the fence is on a straight line with the rest of the "older" fence...Ok i will ask the GardenLaw site for some advice and google satellite images.

kedy Thu 17-Dec-15 19:44:46

( no idea why she hasn't disputed the boundary earlier...maybe she actually wasn't the owner when it was built. would that make a difference to the case?)

wowfudge Fri 18-Dec-15 09:55:37

You can easily find out how long she has been there by getting her title register and plan from the Land Registry website. Instant download for £6.

She has an issue with your extension. The rest is flannel because if she really feels so strongly about it she would 1) have sought to resolve things before she bought if she has not been there long or wouldn't even have known about the boundary changing, if indeed it actually has; and 2) if she is acting like this now, how come she didn't do anything at the time the fence was put in 'incorrectly' or was replaced when it 'blew down'?

Do you know she has spent £2000 on a report or is this what she is telling you?

I would wait for the dust to settle and see if I could resolve things amicably.

wowfudge Fri 18-Dec-15 09:56:29

I should have re-read you post OP - you are very clear about the report she commissioned.

TheLesserSpottedBee Fri 18-Dec-15 12:18:03

Right, I knew her issue would be your extension. The best advice I can give you is do not put anything in writing either confirming or denying the position of the boundary.

So, I am assuming you have an existing small extension that runs to the current boundary, and you are extending that to 3m. Is that correct?

In all honesty, could you swallow the 5-10cm internally? ie jut the extension in to the supposed boundary, and internally level up the walls? Also would you be able to see the jut in when you are in the garden or would it just be on her side? (and therefore look weird but just for her) or would this cause issues for your roof line?

The only reason I am suggesting this is because she is clearly committed to her cause, she is willing to spend time and money on it and the last thing your builders need is crap from a neighbour etc. You only have to read the crazy behaviour on GardenLaw to know that some people lose the plot over stuff. It becomes less about the dispute and more about what they do to try to piss you off on a daily basis ie with bins, cameras, name calling etc

I spent a good 5 years on that site trying to get help for my friend.

TheLesserSpottedBee Fri 18-Dec-15 12:22:55

The scale of land registry plans means that if you drew a fence it would be invisible as you couldn't get a line that thin to scale. If you take a boundary line from a title plan it could be up to 1m thick on the ground in real life.

wowfudge Fri 18-Dec-15 14:42:53

I suggested getting the title register of the neighbour's property from the Land Registry just to see how long she'd been there.

TheLesserSpottedBee Fri 18-Dec-15 16:06:56

Agree with wow get her title deeds. It's easy and cheap. Double check her deeds match the boundary line on your title plan.

kedy Fri 12-Feb-16 13:57:41

hey everyone, thought i'd update you with this - we had a meeting with our nuts of a neighbour, measured up together. then found out that actually she already has 10 cm more than she should lol. we said we don't care, she can have an extra flowerpot. afterwards she was quiet and signed up the party wall agreement. right now we are having the extension built and i am getting daily calls from the builders saying that she's gone nuts again; talking to them everyday, measuring every brick; saying that she won't give us one more cm than she has to! i am away for a while so told the builders not to pay attention to her; but am very disturbed by her behaviour and wondering whether i should call the police as she's harassing the builders and wasting their time....if anyone ever has these sorts of problems know you are not alone; and there are people who go crazy over a few cms if they have nothing else to do with their lives...

wowfudge Fri 12-Feb-16 15:50:19

She's agreed to what you wanted and tbh it sounds as though she may have some mental health issues. Don't report her to the police; humour her instead. It won't be the first time the builders have dealt with unhappy neighbours I'm sure. Perhaps send her some flowers and assure her they are getting on with the project so you hope she won't have to put up with the disruption much longer.

kedy Sat 13-Feb-16 10:45:46

thank you wowfudge - yes i think she does have mental a way it's good i am not there, cos i was furious when the builders first called. i've been trying to make ammends after the pwa, even gave her a xmas card (no acknowledgement whatsoever), but would have lost it if i was there probably. if she continues i am going to the police; but for now, i should try and keep calm and continue! Our architect suggested having a quiet word with the police, but not sure what that would accomplish. Has anyone had crazy neighbours and gone to the police?

wowfudge Sat 13-Feb-16 11:57:19

I think contacting the police is ott. You risk pushing things towards a dispute. Think about this: you're not there, but she is next to a building every day.

wowfudge Sat 13-Feb-16 11:57:33

Building site

kedy Sun 14-Feb-16 09:42:53

hi wow fudge, i do understand the neighbours' points of view in these situations - but only up to a point. they have to put up with the noise, disturbance, sign documents, to no advantage to them. but in the end this is my flat, i'm doing everything within my legal rights using a democratic process. she had her chance to object, she did, it was refused. I'm not a developer looking for a quick gain, simply trying to better my living condition within my own means. the first time we met, she had the cheek to say; 'oh why didnt you just buy a bigger house'. the fun thing is, cos she has the whole house, if she wanted to build an extension, it would be within permitted development. i've been playing it very nice so far, changed designs (even if council didn't ask) and had to pay for a newer roof design so she gets a bit more sunlight, employed her (more expensive) surveyor rather than mine, have talked to her, smiled, gave her a bottle of wine, asked her to call me if anything is wrong ....nothing calms her down. she's obsessed. sorry for the rant; i'm just at the end of my tether with her; it's very upsetting that people can do these kinds of things...i guess police hate to be involved in these petty disputes; though i would like to have a record of her harassment in case things escalate.

wowfudge Sun 14-Feb-16 18:24:53

Well then, maybe time for another face-to-face conversation. Set out the concessions you have made, tell her there will no more and ask her to let the builders get on with their work. The sooner they finish, the sooner she will have peace and quiet again.

Diarise the incidents with her and should she start again after you have spoken with her, then go to the police. The neighbourhood teams are pretty used to smoothing the waters and advising people on not getting into a full blown dispute.

If you feel that the time for talking has passed then ring 101 and have a chat with them.

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