Property Disputes

If you are having difficulties, perhaps with a neighbour over a boundary, an issue with trespassing, or access you are entitled to is being restricted, the dedicated team at Pickering & Butters can help.

Why not let us put our extensive experience to work to help you resolve your access and right of way issues? We can help with all manner of issues, including:

  • Claims to adverse possession, whether over your land or the land of another
  • Access to neighbouring land claims and / or Party Walls Act claims
  • Nuisance, trespass and neighbour disputes
  • Boundary and right of way disputes
  • Claims in respect of property damage
  • Claims in respect of breach of covenant
  • Planning and environmental disputes

For tailored legal advice on resolving any access or right of way dispute, please get in touch with our Staffordshire solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley.

Our property dispute solicitors’ expertise

We are property litigation specialists with years of experience providing advice in relation to any kind of dispute, from right of way issues, to noise complaints, to adverse possession claims.

We have a wide range of expertise advising clients from a variety of backgrounds and sectors, including landlords, tenants, property management companies and agents, and developers (and their surveyors and architects where necessary).

In the vast majority of situations, we’re able to help clients resolve property disputes amicably without having to go to court, saving valuable time, money, and stress. Where necessary, we’ll help you access methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation and arbitration to cooperatively come to an agreement. That being said, if court proceedings are your best option, for example, to obtain a Possession Order to evict a tenant or squatter, we’ll provide robust advice and representation throughout the proceedings.

Our specialist property litigation expertise includes:

Adverse possession

Adverse possession (sometimes referred to as “squatter’s rights”) is the process of obtaining a legal claim to the ownership of someone else’s land by occupying it for a long period of time (10-12 years depending on whether the land is registered or unregistered).

Obtaining land via adverse possession is challenging; claims are typically easy to defeat as most land is registered nowadays and require the registered owner not to object to their displacement. However, there are still significant circumstances in which a person may successfully claim adverse possession. It’s therefore vital to obtain the advice of a specialist solicitor.

We provide advice to people making and defending adverse possession claims. As well as advising on the merits of your case, we can handle all the necessary paperwork and HM Land Registry applications efficiently and professionally on your behalf.

Possession claims

We provide advice to landowners, including landlords, in relation to reclaiming possession of a property or piece of land. Our expertise includes claiming possession at the end of a tenancy, seeking possession using section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, and evicting squatters, trespassers, and travellers.

We also advise tenants and people claiming adverse possession in relation to their rights against possession claims.

Party Wall Act

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 can be used to prevent and resolve disputes concerning boundary walls.

We can advise in relation to providing notice to your neighbours under the Act prior to undertaking work on the boundary or party wall between your properties. We can also advise in relation to objections and negotiations under the Act, including obtaining injunctions to stop building work on a party wall.

Boundary disputes

A boundary dispute may arise in a number of situations, including where two neighbours disagree over the location of the boundary between their land or where one neighbour is infringing upon the other’s land.

These disputes can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved as a boundary dispute cannot be solved simply by pointing to where the fence or party wall lies. Often, the true boundary to a property is invisible; it’s likely to have varied and changed over time and can only be established through a careful examination of the historical deeds to the land and consultation with expert surveyors.

With our assistance, we can make your boundary dispute matter as straightforward as possible. In many situations it’s possible to come to an amicable agreement between neighbours without having to resort to an extensive investigation. We will provide detailed advice about your options as well as providing robust representation throughout any proceedings.

Neighbour disputes

We can provide support and guidance in relation to a wide range of neighbour disputes including noise nuisance, access restrictions, antisocial behaviour, parking issues, trespass, and high hedges or trees.

In the vast majority of situations, we are able to help our clients resolve the matter informally through cooperative negotiation and compromise. We’ll offer advice in relation to your homeowner rights as well as your options for taking action against your neighbour, such as obtaining an injunction. We can also help you access methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation and arbitration if necessary.

Right of way disputes

Rights of way (also known as easements) can arise in a number of ways, including:

  • Express grant – the neighbours create a Deed of Grant which sets out the terms of the right of way
  • Necessity – if a route is the only way to access a plot of land from the public highway, a right of way can arise
  • Prescription – where someone repeatedly and openly uses a route on another’s land without the permission of the landowner for at least 20 years, a right of way can arise

Rights of way commonly cause issues between neighbours, especially where no right has expressly been granted, causing confusion about its extent or whether it exists in the first place. Disputes also often arise where a right of way is poorly maintained.

Our right of way solicitors will deliver practical, realistic advice about how to resolve the dispute with your neighbour. We’ll aim to achieve the best and most cost-effective result possible in the circumstances, using our years of experience to guide our advice.

 Property damage disputes

If someone has caused damage to your property, we can provide robust advice and representation, including obtaining an injunction to stop the cause of the damage, seeking an order of abatement requiring the person responsible to stop the damage-causing activity in the future, and seeking compensation to correct the damage caused.

If you have a home insurance policy, this may include Legal Expenses Insurance to cover some or all of your legal costs associated with claiming for property damage.

Breach of covenant

In property law, covenants are agreements between neighbours or landlords and tenants which are contained in Deeds to Land. A covenant can bestow a right or restrict a landowner or occupier in some way, for example, by preventing farm animals being kept on land, or disallowing any construction without the consent of the person with the benefit of the covenant. Covenants can also require some action, for example, to compel one neighbour to build a boundary fence or to require a tenant to take out insurance.

Because of the burdensome nature of covenants on a person’s use of their own land, lengthy disputes frequently arise. In all cases, it’s essential to instruct a solicitor with specialist experience to investigate the full extent of the covenant in dispute and provide clear, practical advice on your options. We have particular expertise helping clients resolve covenant issues peacefully, avoiding any unnecessary escalation of the dispute.

Why choose Pickering & Butters’ property litigation solicitors?

At Pickering & Butters, we pride ourselves on our modern approach to age-old legal problems. From the moment system of land ownership was established in this country, property and neighbour disputes have arisen. We use innovative thinking and strategic negotiation to help clients resolve disputes as efficiently and painlessly as possible whilst protecting their interests and legal rights.

We achieve positive results even in highly challenging circumstances and have a wide range of expertise across all neighbour, boundary, access, and right of way matters.

We are Lexcel Accredited by the Law Society for our excellent client care and legal practice management. We are also independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Get in touch with our property dispute solicitors today

For tailored legal advice on resolving any access or right of way dispute, please get in touch with our Staffordshire solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley.