How to Avoid Land Disputes

2nd April 2021

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by Laura Ball, Commercial Solicitor

Whether you’re embarking on a simple extension, an ambitious new build or a multi-property development, you’ll need to be prepared to face the impact of a land dispute. Unfortunately, they’re a common occurrence, and they can be costly, complex and contentious – they’re usually distressing and they’re always frustrating.

Whether the land dispute involves a neighbour, government body or stranger, you will be best placed to deal with it if you have legal assistance. No matter what the dispute, there are proactive steps that can be taken at an early stage to limit the effects on the various parties involved, says Solicitor Laura Ball of Fraser Dawbarns.

“The two biggest causes of land disputes relate to boundaries and access, and these can easily escalate into major problems if you’re not proactive,” says Laura, who specialises in commercial property and residential developments.

“People tend to think that Solicitors only get involved when something’s not right, but as far as land disputes go, we can help stop things going wrong in the first place.”

Laura and the property team at Fraser Dawbarns would advise that the best (and easiest) proactive step is to have an early dialogue with neighbours and adjoining landowners to prevent a dispute from arising in the first place, since land disputes are often caused by honest mistakes.

Review your Land Registry plans in conjunction with title deeds and consider employing the services of a chartered survey or arbitrator for a particularly complex issue.
“Litigation should really be your last resort and we’re here to help you avoid that,” says Laura.

“The most important thing you can do is work with your Solicitor to research as much as you can in as much detail as possible – the more information you have the better equipped you are to deal with any disputes.”

Land disputes can be complex and difficult to resolve because they’re often longstanding disputes between neighbours – and the longer a case goes on the more entrenched each side gets and the more acrimonious it can become. “You may be dealing with a couple of acres of land or a few centimetres, but it will save you an enormous amount of time and money to instruct a Solicitor as early as possible,” says Laura. “We can look at the matter objectively and we’ve almost certainly dealt with similar issues before, so we can give you all the help and advice you need. The worst thing you can do is allow things to escalate without any legal assistance.”

With specialists in five offices across the local area, a wealth of property knowledge and a long history of legal experience, Fraser Dawbarns can help you be proactive and avoid land disputes, or help settle them if necessary, – freeing you to concentrate on building your grand design.

Find out more about our Commercial Property Services

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek advice specific to your own circumstances.  Fraser Dawbarns LLP are always happy to provide such advice.

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