Property disputes cover a wide range of areas , but the most common ones concern the repair and maintenance of common parts, access to neighbouring properties to undertake repairs and boundary disputes. As a rule, negotiating an amicable settlement with your neighbours will be better for all concerned that taking legal action., although a legal adviser can assist with the process of negotiation.
Where there is a shared amenity which is in need of repair the first step is to find out who is responsible for repairs. The legal documentation that came with your property may not always provide clear evidence and, in this case, it is probably best to settle in advance that the costs will be shared between owners.
You may then need to get a surveyor or architect to inspect and report on the part of the property requiring repairs. Estimates will have to be sought and finally a contract made with builders. It is essential that at each stage when a cost is incurred the household initiating the repairs has the consent of the other parties responsible.
Likewise, the right to gain access to your neighbours' property to make repairs to your own is often contained in the legal documentation for your house. If not, and you cannot reach agreement with your neighbours, the law allows you as the person wishing to carry out repairs to apply to the county court for an access order allowing you to enter your neighbour’s land to carry out the repairs
The most expensive disputes to become involved usually involve boundaries between your and your neighbours' properties. Usually, the legal documents are very clear about who owns what, but grey areas can arise when boundaries have been changed by agreement or by encroachment (occupation without permission). Whatever the passions involved, any negotiated settlement is almost certainly likely to better in the long run than going to court. If you do need to enter into a formal process, then mediation is likely to prove more productive than formal litigation. Your solicitor can advise.
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