Residential property and conveyancing solicitors

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Boundaries rights and easements

What we can help you with

  • Advising you on the boundaries to your property or land
  • Clarifying what rights of way, you or others have
  • Advice on rights and other easements
  • Adverse possession claims

Why Thomson Hayton Winkley?

Owning a property can throw up all sorts of unexpected problems, particularly with older or rural properties.  Sometimes the deeds are not clear, or sometimes your deeds might contradict those of your neighbour.

The position of a boundary might be unclear, or there might be issues over who owns, or has a duty to maintain the boundary structure – fence, wall or hedge.

You may be uncertain whether you have a right of way over somebody else’s land, or vice versa.  Sometimes there might be a right of way, but the extent of that right is unclear – can vehicles use the right of way or not?  Whose obligation is it to maintain the right of way?

Our property lawyers are experienced in making sense of deeds, documents and plans and can advise you on the correct interpretation.  If there are discrepancies, they will explain the options open to you to try and resolve them.  If things escalate into a dispute, they will ensure that one of our dispute resolution lawyers becomes involved to help try and resolve the issues before they get out of hand.

Answering your questions

What is the general boundary rule?

Often when people look at their Land Registry Title Plans they think that it proves where the boundary is.  But that is not always the case, it is only an indication.  There may be a “physical” boundary between the properties – such as a wall, hedge or fence.  But this does not always mark the “legal” boundary which may, or may not, be identified on the title deeds.  The general boundary rule means that the red line shown on Land Registry Title Plans does not necessarily show the exact line of the legal boundary – only the general position – unless that boundary has been recorded in the register as being fixed.  The Land Registry Title Plan is therefore only the starting point, and often it will be necessary to look at historic deeds, or the situation on the ground.

What is an easement?

An easement is right benefiting a piece of land, which is enjoyed over another person’s land.  It might be a right of way, but can also include a right to light, the right to run services over another’s land, the right to use a septic tank or water supply.  The person with the benefit is known as the dominant owner, the person whose land is subject to the easement is known as the servient owner.

Easements can be formally created by deeds (conveyances, transfers etc), they might be implied or they might be acquired over time (by “prescription”).

What is adverse possession?

If you have occupied land that is within the physical boundary of your property, but is not shown as belonging to you on your title plan, this could be down to a historical error, leading to inaccuracies on your title plan.  You may be able to claim possessory title to this land, by making an application for adverse possession.  This should be relatively straight forward if nobody else has a claim over the land.

Adverse possession claims can also be more contentious, if the land is already registered to another party who claims that the land is theirs.

Different rules apply, depending on the circumstances and we would be happy to advise in your particular case.

Don't take our word for it