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Boundary dispute/unethical solicitor?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Hammers, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. I have bought a house (in Scotland) and as the Missives were being concluded, my solicitor revealed that s/he had represented the next door neighbours in a dispute several months ago regarding a brick wall in the back garden and the boundary line. From what my solicitor has said, the sellers had argued that the wall was going to be in their garden (the neighbours had also built an extension at the same time) but the neighbours had built the wall anyway. In my opinion, the solicitor should have declared a conflict of interest and passed on our business to a Partner.
    From what my solicitor has said, the Title Deeds (which are to come) may not indicate the true centreline of the boundary. The wall is also unfinished on our side as, according to the solicitor, the sellers refused access to finish the wall.
    I have spoken to Citizens Advice and they have referred me to a solicitor (I'm allowed a free half an hour). The appointment is tomorrow.
    As a first-time buyer, I'd be interested to hear the opinion of others regarding the a) solicitor and b) boundary issue.
    Thanks
     
  2. OK if I have this right.
    I think your solicitor is probably about OK, it is just that your sellers were awkward squad. I think the solicitor has no conflict of interest, presumably the dispute is settled or it would have been registered and highlighted by the purchase process. It seems likely your sellers lost and were unhelpful enough to block the proper finishing of the neighbours extension.
    The boundary issue needs to be sorted, having a solicitor that knows the issue well is not a disadvantage, I would ask that they make sure that the deeds have a defined, correct and agreed boundary.
    If the solicitor has knowingly (and it seems likely) let you buy without a clearly defined boundary then they have failed to do an proper job. I would have expected the solicitor to have made it quite clear there was a problem with the deeds and the land registry diagram, and to have organised its ammendment.
    Tell the neighbours that access is not a problem and if they wish they can finish their wall.


     
  3. I have just reread you post and my reply. It seems to me that you may be lucky that your solicitor knows the neighbours well, it will help getting the boundary sorted out. Have a word with her, see what she says, and chill, it is only a few inches of garden, and if you end up with a clearly defined boundary, you will be ahead of most of us.

     
  4. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    failing that you have to get someone from the land commision to sort it.expensive i believe!
    a few inches might be worth losing on your side for peace and being able to establsih boundaries
    If you cant finish can you make finacial compensation?
     
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry, that attitude won't solve anything . Boundary disputes are vicious, whether concerning gardens or countries. In any case, the deeds should make the boundaries clear.
     
  6. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    ay up
    deeds seldom make the boundary clear!
    If you were happy with what you saw when you looked around and you like the house, then just don't go opening cans of worms now. If is a major trespass then don't sign for the house. If it is minor then just forget about it and settle down.
    Most neighbours fall out when extensions are built. No one likes their garden changing outside of their control... but you have bought what is and should be satisfied.
    and there is a forum for boundary disputes, forget the name of it, just google it
     
  7. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    I would agree with the above. The old neigbours might have fallen out because they did not like the change. If you've bought the house not minding the look of the extension,there's no real problem.
     
  8. It might, there was a dispute that looks like it has been settled, choosing to take an unreasonable claim forward seems foolish to me.
    I did go on to say that a clear and agreed boundary was required, and I think a few inches of garden is worth that clarity as this sort of dispute can be unpleasant.

     
  9. I think Fin is right but this kind of thing is what missives are for and the solicitor should have sought clarification then. In practical terms if the boundary is wrong are you really going to make your new neighbours pull down their extension? I'd be making sure the solicitor ensures there is a clear boundary set, that it is in writing in the missives and beyond that I can't see what benefit would come of complaining about the solicitor.
     
  10. Thank you for your replies. The ideal 'solution' for us would be for the wall to be finished properly. Having searched on the local council's website there is no application for planning permission (not necessarily needed, I know) or a building warrant therefore I have a feeling that any further legal dispute would open a can of worms for the neighbours. The last thing we want is to start off on the wrong foot with our new neighbours, although we would like to know about legal boundaries as it could potentially affect us when we come to sell the property. Hopefully the Title Deeds will shed some light.
     
  11. Generally a retrospective application would be required if a complaint was made.
    Not sure if that applies in Scotland
     
  12. Checha

    Checha New commenter

    Hiya- boundary disputes are a pain! When you bought the property there would have been a form ththe seller would have completed which would have asked them if there were any boundary disputes they know about- im sure there is some legal action which can be taken for not disclosing this?
    Boundary lines- the Title deeds won't show the accurate boundary lines- if you are bothered about where the boundary is you will need to get a chartered surveyor in. The way it works is if you look at the chimney - there will be 2 bricks which join in the centre- this centre drawn downwards along the wall/garden shows the boundary line. Then you need to measure the inside width of your property, adding on 4.5inches on each side which is the Party wall which you share- you also need to include the thickness of plaster and rendering...this shows what you own.
    TBH Some people aint really bothered about the boundary- but others seem to use it as a weapon- best thing to do is your neighbours are probably glad the old neighbours have gone, let them finish what they need to- going through a boundary dispute is expensive and stressful!!!!
     
  13. piglet171

    piglet171 New commenter

    "When you bought the property there would have been a form the seller would have completed which would have asked them if there were any boundary disputes they know about- im sure there is some legal action which can be taken for not disclosing this?"
    Small country town perhaps? When we bought our property the vendors failed to disclose something. When I consulted the solicitor she more or less implied that these things happen in small towns where everybody knows everybody and what was I going to do about it now, especially as all the paperwork had now gone into storage!
    My thoughts were that there is no point in having this declaration if people are going to omit what they don't want known, therefore lying through their teeth!
    The same solicitor later got her come-uppance when she declared that a one and a half storey house did not have a significantly higher roofline than a bungalow. Land registry people involved in (our neighbours') later dispute with the *** over his back fence didn't agree!!
    The children of the solicitor and the *** over the fence were in the same primary school class. Ourselves and our neighbours were "incomers".
    Don't know if the same type of scenario might apply in your case, but in your shoes I would probably let the neighbour finish building his wall, wait to see what the title deeds throw up and if you lose a few inches of garden for the avoidance of a load of hassle, so be it. Presumably you are happy with your garden as it is. Potential purchasers in the future will also presumably be interested on the strength of what they see, not what they would see if a wall was knocked down. Your vendors are probably moving because their complaint was not upheld and relations were not good.
    On the council website you should be able to get details of planning applications, disputes etc, though if, as you say, there was no planning application, this would be hard!!
     
  14. piglet171

    piglet171 New commenter

    What is wrong with the word i d i o t?
     
  15. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    Thats annoying! Had contacted my friend who works in boundary dispute for advice too lol. Ce la vie! x

     
  16. I would love to know what happened OP being as three years have gone by! Hope you got it all sorted and have had a happy time in your now not so new home!

     

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