Each matter is unique. No two issues are identical. The evidence that may be pivotal in one matter may not necessarily be pivotal in another.

Here are some frequently asked questions which may assist.

Yes of course. This is often the case. There is no need to decide which form of report you would like or indeed whether you would like a formal report at all until after the survey has been completed. During the inspection of the site, it often transpires that a better appreciation of the issues results from discussion between client and expert. We can offer advice after the Boundary Survey as to which form of report would be most expedient in your matter.

I might not be able to accept an instruction from you. If I have had past dealings or involvement with your property and or your neighbour, I may be professionally conflicted from acting on your behalf. I may hold confidential information belonging to another client which I am obliged to treat as confidential. I may simply be unable to act in a matter where I have already been consulted or instructed by another party.

Yes absolutely. The arrangement when two neighbours agree to instruct one surveyor is known as a ‘Single Joint Expert’ instruction. Typically, both parties will split the fees fifty-fifty and so it costs half as much to get the expert advice. Even though the two of you appear to get on well I should flag up that you need to agree between the two of you whether you are seeking advice (which either of you can choose to accept or reject) or whether you are seeking a determination whereby you both agree to be bound by the result arrived at by the expert.

In some cases the position of the legal boundary will be obvious to a lay person. There may have been a sturdy fence along the boundary for fifty years and both neighbours may be agreed as to who owns the fence. In matters where the answer is not so obvious it is necessary to look at all of the evidence which may help. Pre-registration Title Deeds are the primary source of documentary evidence. Old plans and photographs may help. Each case is unique and it often requires the advice of an expert surveyor as to which pieces of evidence hold the most evidential weight.

Hedges are a common source of falling out between neighbours. Quite often the origin of the hedge pre-dates living memory and each neighbour may have different views as to who owns the hedge. It is sometimes the case that one neighbour believes that the centre of the hedge marks the legal boundary. This is very seldom the case in suburban areas. It is usual for a hedge to have been planted by one neighbour or the other. The owner of a hedge is determined in the first instance by whoever planted it. If that knowledge is lost, other evidence can be used to try and establish the identity of the owner.

‘Fair Face to your neighbour’ is a common fencing convention. There are advantages to erecting a fence so that you get to see the rails and posts and your neighbour gets to see the nice smooth side. Although this is a common convention, it is not absolutely the case that all fences adhere to this convention. Some house owners want the fair face on their side and so build a fence the wrong way around. As with a hedge, ownership of a fence is usually determined by whoever erected it. If that knowledge is lost, other evidence can be used to try and establish the identity of the owner.

Care must be exercised when looking at Land Registry Title Plans. All Land Registry Title Plans are subject to something called ‘The General Boundaries Rule’. What this rule means is that the true position of the legal boundary may not be where the Land Registry show the ‘General Boundary’. You should try not to leap to any conclusions as to the significance of a particular General Boundary on a Land Registry Title Plan. Further investigation will be necessary to determine whether the fence truly is in your garden.

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