Property disputes - an overview
If you are the owner of a property it is essential to understand the extent of your rights and obligations.
Property disputes are sometimes inevitable and can be frustrating and expensive to resolve. We have prepared a basic guide on the types of disputes we regularly advise clients and ways in which we can help you.
The most common types of disputes are listed below and should a dispute arise, our experienced property litigation experts are well placed to advise you in a swift and cost-effective manner. We have a team of lawyers who advise both people and businesses on all types of disputes.
This type of dispute commonly arises between owners or occupiers of neighbouring properties. This is typically, but not always, a boundary dispute where one party errects a fence, wall or a building in a position where neighbours have different views as to where the boundary lies.
Buying a new home is one of the most stressful things you are likely to do in your life and is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. It goes without saying that when buying a property, you will want to make sure that there is nothing wrong with it before you buy.
The well known phrase, caveat emptor or ‘buyer beware’, essentially means that it is your responsibility as a purchaser, to make all of the necessary checks and enquiries on a property, before you buy it. You will be advised, usually by your conveyancer, to invest in a building survey of the property before you purchase.
So, what happens if a seller lies on the property information form or in response to specific enquiries?
This can result in a claim for misrepresentation against the seller. The seller’s property information form and replies to enquiries form part of the contract between you and the seller.
It is therefore a breach of that contract if they knowingly misrepresent any of the answers on the form and you rely on those representations in purchasing the property.
Broadly speaking nuisance claims can be divided into two categories:
- Private nuisance
This refers to an interference with the use or enjoyment of land, usually by noise, smell or any physical damage made to property.
- Public nuisance
This is an unlawful act or omission, which is so widespread that it obstructs, damages or inconveniences the rights of the community as a whole.
Rights of way issues
These are another frequent source of disputes between neighbours and may commonly involve the use of a shared driveway, problems with parking, building works which interfere with light enjoyed by your property, or the need to travel over neighbour’s land to reach a piece of your land.
Breach of convenants
Covenants are rules affecting the way a property can be used and are usually written in to the title deeds when a property is constructed. Restrictive covenants, as the name suggests, restrict you from doing or allowing certain things on your property and should be flagged by your conveyancer so you are aware of any convenants before you purchase the property. Typically their purpose is to maintain the character of an area. You may find them imposed by developers, for example, to ensure uniformity.
Party Wall Act claims
Under the Party Wall Act, a party wishing to carry out works on, or adjacent to, a party wall must serve
a notice in accordance with the Act. Where a party carrying out the works does not comply with the provisions of the Act this can give rise to claims in trespass and/or breach of statutory duty which in turn can lead to orders for injunctive relief and damages.
Adverse possession or ‘squatters rights’
Adverse possession, or ‘squatters’ rights’ as it is more commonly known, is where a person seeks to claim title to registered land by virtue of their having been in possession of the same land for more than 10 years. Acquiring title to land by adverse possession is far from straightforward and our experienced team can provide guidance to a party who is either subject to, or seeking to, advance a claim.
We’re here to help
We understand the stress of being involved in a dispute and we are experienced in resolving them for you or your business.
Our approach is to find the best possible outcome for our clients in resolving the dispute whether in court, through alternative dispute resolution or by corresponding with the other party.
We can advise you on the different ways of funding a claim and we are always mindful of assessing the costs of bringing a claim against the value of the land or property involved.
Speak to us to find out how we can help you.Email Nick
Disclaimer: Please note that this fact sheet is for guidance only and is not intended to replace legal advice.