Boundary Determination

Two neighbours in dispute over a boundary position can jointly appoint Dorian Burt to resolve the dispute by independently determining the boundary. This is the simplest, quickest and cheapest method to resolve the problem.

There are few disputes which stir emotions as much as those over property boundaries. Neighbours at odds over the position of the boundary can quickly become embroiled in a legal battle, often over relatively small pieces of land. There have been many instances of neighbours racking up huge legal bills with solicitors and court costs. Press reports highlight cases from time to time where people lose their savings or even have to remortgage their house over it. Add to this the stress involved and the need to disclose a dispute to any prospective buyer, damaging saleability and value of the property. The matter is put to court to decide; the court will usually request an expert surveyor to make a report on where the boundary should be. The two owners could have done that for themselves in the first place, without the need for solicitors or court.

Obtaining a boundary determination from a single independent surveyor such as Dorian Burt is the simplest solution. This is better than having two surveyors, each appointed by opposing owners, which only doubles the cost, shifts the conflict onward between the surveyors and ultimately to solicitors and court. A determination brings a “judgement” forward into the hands of the single independent surveyor – avoiding the legal costs, time and stress.

How a Boundary Determination works

Before a determination starts, both owners need to sign up to our engagement terms which, in summary, say they agree to;

  • share the fees
  • provide information, evidence and make representations while acting properly and honestly throughout
  • accept the determined boundary position
  • if directed by the surveyor, register the determined boundary position at Land Registry
  • if directed by the surveyor, accordingly move fences, structures and landscaping etc.
  • if directed by the surveyor, enter into mediation for alternative resolution options (such as a land swap or market-rate purchase to redress inequity)

We will presently only take on disputes on this joint appointment basis. Owners appointing Dorian Burt should be aware that one of them or sometimes both of them will be unhappy with the boundary determined, if the evidence and decision does not go in their favour, or on occaision shows that the boundary is actually somewhere in between. We will always act openly and honestly, giving an objective determination based on the available evidence. In some instances, there is not enough evidence to make a determination, in which case we make a recommendation which is non-binding or give other options for resolution.

We use a combination of methods to try to establish the boundary position;

  1. Considering representations and evidence from the owners
  2. Site survey and measurement
  3. Site reconnaissance for physical evidence
  4. Records searches
  5. Map searches
  6. Aerial photography review
  7. Current, contemporary and historical photography review
  8. Local history searches
  9. Neighbour and community enquiries

There are many misconceptions about boundaries, what plans show, who is responsible for which fence or ‘owns’ a boundary. Read our Boundaries Questions and Answers page for more details.

Dorian Burt can be appointed for a boundary determination, please contact us to discuss your situation.