RICS Consumer Guide: Boundary Disputes

RICS Consumer Guide: Boundary Disputes

When you move into the house you have bought, establishing the exact position of the boundaries for the plot it stands on is not high on your list of priorities. However, this is important – and not just for new developments, but also older properties. During the conveyancing process, your solicitor should identify any existing boundary issues, but there are still three simple steps you can take to avoid any problems.

Step one

Ask your solicitor for an official copy of the title plan from HM Land Registry. This shows the general boundaries of your property. Bear in mind that the title plan is based on large-scale Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping and may not show small changes in the boundary, or even what type of physical feature defines the boundary on the ground. The red line on the title plan only indicates the general position of the boundary, and does not define its exact legal course.

Step two

Compare this title plan to your property. You should do this before exchanging contracts, you can ask the seller to clarify any differences, whether they relate to hedges and walls, outhouses or any other feature. Clarification of any differences is important as these may delay your exchange process.

Step three

Talk to your new neighbours at an early stage to identify the position of, and responsibility for maintaining, the boundaries.


The Boundary Disputes Mediation Service (BDMS) has been established by RICS and the Property Litigation Association, with support from the Civil Justice Council, to help neighbours resolve disputes about boundary lines and related issues. BDMS provides a quicker, cheaper and more informal approach than litigation, while helping neighbours to deal with issues at the heart of their dispute in a positive and proactive way. Mediation allows the parties to take responsibility for dealing with their dispute and helps achieve an outcome satisfactory to all. The mediation process has several advantages. 


Consumer helplines

Contact one of our regulated firms for a 30-minute initial consultation. Surveying firms that are regulated by RICS are easy to spot as they use ‘Regulated by RICS’ on their stationery and promotional material.