Building Dispute article

A Case Study

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Building Dispute Overview

The dispute was between two semi-detached properties built in the 1960’s by the Local Authority in part of a large residential estate. We will refer to one pair of semi-detached houses as A and B and the other pair C and D. The dispute is between B and C, two separate semi-detached properties that adjoin each other.


In Years Gone By Things Were Different

When these houses were built by the Local Authority we never imagined that in years to come some of them would be under private ownership. With the right to buy scheme that was introduced in the 1980’s by the government at the time, many of the houses were sold off to the occupiers under the right to buy scheme. This meant that once shared accesses moved into the realms of neighbourhood disputes.


The Detail of This Neighbourhood Dispute

Many years ago C had decided to park their car in front of the gap between houses A and B and C and D. They had obtained the relevant permission for dropping the kerb from the Local Authority, known as a pass over, and therefore could legally park their car in front of their half of this space. The neighbouring property B had small children at the time and decided to put a hedge up on their side of the land (or what they considered to be their side of the land) to guard their children against the car and also to hide it from view.


Some years later C decided to build a garage onto the side of their property in the space between B and C. The line of the garage took the middle of the hedge as being the boundary line (as this was now a mature and quite large hedge). An understandable mistake, nevertheless a mistake and error that was very costly. Therefore the garage was effectively built partly on the land of B. As B and C were neighbourly at the time this didn’t cause a problem, however as the years passed by and C decided to sell his property the issue reared its ugly head.


Surveyors Called to Help Out Neighbourhood Dispute.

Is this a Neighbourhood Dispute or a Building Dispute?

A phone call was made to us to deal with the issue by B as we usually do (unless instructed otherwise). We advised B that we would recommend that we contact C and represent both of you in coming to an amicable agreement. Discussions were had with C who decided to proceed with his own Surveyor. Meanwhile C’s sale to E took more time than expected, as the solicitors were not happy to complete with this issue still outstanding! Finally, it could be argued that this is both a neighbourhood dispute and a building dispute.


To Cut A Long Story Short

We were able to prove the location of the boundary, which in turn meant that C had built on B’s land; not only that, he had trimmed back the hedge on his side to gain access. We offered C, with the agreement of B, various alternatives from buying the land, from renting the land, to knocking the garage down. C in turn has passed these options onto the purchaser of his property and B, of course, is now unsure of what to do. It would have been a lot easier if C had taken the original offer for us as surveyors to work for both sides.