Boundary Dispute

24 Oct 2018
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United Kingdom
Hi all, after a spot of advice.

bear with me, let me go to the start. Grab a cuppa, might be a long one.

So, wife and I moved into our house December 2017. Once we were in, we thought it a little odd that the neighbour seemed to be using a bit of driveway we thought to be ours. Now, it was only a small bit, and keen to not rock the boat of the little cul-de-sac we decided to leave it for a few months and see if it was just a mistake, and have a little search our side in terms of boundary lines.

Fast forward a few months, and sadly the neighbour has passed away. Once of her children is now in the property and I believe will be selling in a few months - perhaps of course, haven't really spoken a massive amount about it being absolutely none of my business.

I approached her a few months back in as polite way as I could, suggesting that the space between our two driveways is in fact ours.


the black triangle above is the area in question.


We had our neighbour round last month, to have a friendly chat about it, they agreed that it appears to be ours and would move their car. Happy days.

Fast forward to now and yes some of the car collection they had have indeed been moved but they seem to be making a point of parking directly on this area again. When questioned by the wife she was met with "oh it's not as simple as we thought but can't speak about it"

That's the last we've spoken about it for the last few weeks as we've had a load of other work going on at home so we thought we'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

Now, we're at the point where it now feels like they're taking the ****.

I'm intending to get myself round there this weekend to get a firm understanding of what's going on i.e. "yes sorry, we'll move" or "no, bugger off we're keeping it, get yourself a lawyer"

if the latter, how is best to proceed? I mean they perhaps had an agreement with the previous owner of our house - although this was not mentioned on the bill of sale and there is nothing listed on the land registry in terms of an agreement of any kind. So even if an agreement was in place, I see no need for me to honour it.

I of course will utilise legal professionals should I need to but would prefer not to have to spend a bloody fortune to be told what we are already fairly sure of. It's ours!

Annoyingly i'd be quite happy to meet in the middle somewhere and suggest that if they wanted part of it to make parking a little more convenient then so be it we can live with that to make things easy all round, but being as this is a cul-de-sac and parking is at a premium that extra space is the difference between 2 parking spaces infront of my house and 3, So whilst it's not a huge space in itself it does make a huge difference to the practicalities of our house.

any thoughts? we've been told an initial visit from a local solicitor would be £200+vat and then £100 per hour thereafter... Can easily see this spiralling out of control purely because they are being a pain. Now, of course if they put it up for sale this becomes very simple - i'll contact the agent and let them know of the dispute. But I'd really rather an amicable result. Shame they don't appear to be on side.
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doesn't list it as anything separate. Purely what is on that attached image really. So down to interpretation of that red line (the red line is on the deeds)
So it's a case of deciding where that red line applies in real life.

Their Deed Plan:

Our Deed plan:

Surely the red line is clear and that denotes the boundary? You cant dispute that as that is what the deeds say and that is what you purchased.

For clarity, referencing the photo, are you saying that
the red line is effectively from the corner of that flower bed bedind the dark car to the rock in front of the red car?
along the edge of the light colour slabs that the red car is parked on?
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It would be useful to know where the flower bed is on the plan.

But looking at the plan, there is a [porch?] projection on the front of the house nr 2, and the point where the boundary line meets the public footpath seems to align with the edge of that. Is that the case in reality?
It's not far off.

The trouble is, the point where it meets the path isn't really the issue, it's the angle it takes coming toward our house. This angle determines how much of that triangle is ours or theirs.

for example, on the image attached, the orange line is pretty much where the driveway should start angling toward the footpath. Giving them a short flat section infront of the garage. Whereas as you can see from the photo, they have quite a large flat section (allowing them to park the little black car) so therefore they are

SO, they seem to be working to the green line shown below, whereas I believe we should be working to the orange line.

The best fixed point I can give is the wall line highlighted within the blue circle, this line gives the point at which the driveway changes from horizontal across the houses to the 45 degree line up to the path (yes I've drawn it a bit inaccurately, I'm using paint sadly)

so to answer your question, the flower bed position is up for debate as where that comes to would also define the edge of the driveway. But the best actual fixed point I can give is the orange line shown running from the wall at the rear of our house. This line running vertically meets the point at which the space infront of their garage ends. Sure this is within a few 100mm and again, I'm happy to be flexible on the position of that within a few hundred mill but not 2.5m that's currently been nabbed.

Oh OK it's clearer now, and it is clear why they would want that extra land as it appears to help with using the garage.

You are on the right track with using existing buildings as reference points to guage where the boundary should be. The deciding thing may be interpolting distances from scaling - the line seems to come out the front of the garage by about the same distance as 1/3 of of the garage's length say.

Other maps may help - an OS plan or CAD file or a past planning application.

In your favour would be a potential dispute if the house goes up for sale. So the current owner may not want the inheritance windfall put in jeopardy if you mention that you will have no alternative but to raise a property dispute with any conveyance. And then if agreed, get the paving altered before the house goes on the market.
hmm that's a good shout, whilst it does say on the drawings to not scale them, if it supports other assumptions then it must all be considered.
I'll measure the garage tonight and use the 1/3 of the length to see where that sits.

Oh it definitely helps their garage access. But then even without it, they can still easily access the garage - and again, i'd be happy to be a bit flexible in where the line is drawn - even if that meant they kept some of "our" drive.

Yes, the plan is to take up the slabs and put in a mid height hedge (with lots of plants to ensure it takes ASAP rather than the odd 2cm tall conifer!)

Think that's the plan. GO over tonight/tomorrow and ask purely what the plan is. I'll just suggest we want to do the work now as discussed. If they throw up any issues i'll go with your line and suggest that i'll now have to officially raise a dispute and pass it onto conveyance.

Pain in the arse! this could be handled very simply, I could get my third parking space and they could still retain enough room to have the car parked easily. People are a pain!
Have you tried looking on Google Street views history to see if you can see back to when the driveway may have been changed as it looks like the section you think is yours behind the little Micra has been paved separately from both your driveway and your neighbours.

Also, is the little wooden stake in the ground anything to do with the boundary lines?
I believe our driveway was resurfaced the year before we moved in. The neighbour had the same train of thought as you i.e. if it's ours why wasn't it paved at the same time? Which I can appreciate however being black and white about it, all I can say is who knows. They may have had an agreement with the owner (the lady that has now passed) that she could use it and as such didn't bother to resurface it - but even then, I've nothing to state this agreement in terms of either the deeds nor the bill of sale so certainly nothing official is in place.

The little wooden stake is something we've put down - that area was covered in shingle which we've dug up in preparation of changing the drive area as we'd like a hedge to mark the boundary. The stake is merely there for us to mark out where we want the hedge. I put the stake at the back of her wheel, so if we were being friendly i'd be happy to say "you use upto here, so by all means keep that bit"
Do you know when they bought their house? Could be worth finding out via land registry along with Google street view images just to find out if it was them that paved the bit you think is yours? What they tell you verses what they actually think/did might be different?
they purchased it back in 1970s. Lived their ever since.

Every image I can see is that their side hasn't ever been changed (not on images anyway)

The middle area would appear to be different to their paving which would could point to it matching our original drive. Their driveway is multi-coloured, the mid section in question is all a single pale colour.

There are others in the road who may know but I would imagine their loyalties are closer to them than us.

From the other direction.
Makes the triangle clearer.

Now, as you can see, our current driveway, runs toward the small window, which as you can see it on the section of house that's flat roof. This indeed ties up with the image on the deeds - the older version of the same deeds is shown below:


as you can see, our drive line, comes to the same place as shown on the deeds. The issue arises in the fact that there is paving between the two driveways. This paving is on - what I believe to be - our property.

Now, there is a difference between their deeds and ours i.e. there's shows a straight line coming from the garage, and then tapering as per the orange line on my sketch, whereas the current portion I'm referring to runs upto the driveway line as shown on the deeds plan.

The slabs don't match either drive. Although they have been cut to match the corners of theirs.

I'd like to make a compromise with them i.e. "look it's clearly our driveway, but rather than making life hard let's meet somewhere in the middle i.e. perhaps the rearmost part of the red slab - run the line from there and grind the slabs. That way at least they'd still have enough room to park a car on that side of the garage and keep access fairly decent.

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