Selling your house is one way to resolve a boundary dispute, although it’s probably not the outcome you’d expect. We kick off the New Year with another warning about the dangers that lie over the garden fence…
Following last month’s discussion about the emotional and financial costs of boundary disputes, I thought I would continue the theme and highlight the issues arising from court action.
The Times and a number of other national newspapers, covered the story of Yvette and Herman Constantine recently. They took their neighbours, Sardar Ali, his wife Haliman and son Tajammul to court after they knocked down a fence and built an extension to their property.
Mr and Mrs Constantine alleged that, whilst they were away, the extension was built on three inches of their land and therefore, the Alis were trespassing.
The Constantines represented themselves during all proceedings and lost both in the first instance and at the Court of Appeal. They were not granted further leave to overturn the decision and as a result, they have been ordered to pay a huge sum in legal costs, amounting to £132,544.
There is little information available about the decision and the courts’ reasoning, but it would appear the couple was destined to fail. As they cannot pay the substantial legal fees required, the Ali family applied successfully to the court for an order to sell the Constantines’ family home of 31 years, allowing money to be released to cover the outstanding costs.
Mr and Mrs Constantine have expressed disbelief at the position they find themselves in and have complained about the injustice they feel has been done. Unfortunately, and as I focused on previously, this is an all too familiar story.
I am sure that with professional advice from a solicitor and a surveyor, who would have prepared a detailed plan of property’s boundaries, this matter could have been settled way back in 2009 when it began.
It is vitally important that anyone considering legal action over a boundary dispute gathers evidence and seeks help from specialists. As this case demonstrates, failure to do so can result in serious costs and could well lead to your house being the subject of an Order of Sale, over which you have no control, effectively leaving you homeless.
We are experts in dealing with these matters and have contacts throughout the region that can provide plans to help settle disagreements before they reach the point of no return. If you would like to discuss your specific circumstances, don’t hesitate to give me a call on 0114 218 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.