Agricultural Boundary disputes can be complex and emotionally charged, often causing tension between farmers, neighbours and landowners alike. Agricultural land is not immune to the challenges of defining and protecting property lines and given the rise in planning and land diversification in areas such as West Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, boundary disputes are becoming more prevalent than ever.
Poorly defined or undocumented boundaries can lead to disputes between neighbouring farmers and landowners, especially in regions where, historically, property lines may be ambiguous. The Cotswolds is a prime example where traditionally land has been held by families and passed down informally between generations but has invariably missed the compulsory first registration requirement. Furthermore, survey discrepancies, errors in mapping and issues with conveyancing can of course contribute to disagreements over the exact location of property lines.
From my experience in dealing with neighbour and boundary disputes, here are my top tips to avoid and mitigate against becoming embroiled in a potentially costly boundary dispute:
- Professional Surveys: I would strongly advise instructing licensed surveyors to accurately demarcate property lines.
- Clear Communication: I would also recommend establishing open lines of communication with neighbouring landowners and farmers as this can help address potential issues before they escalate into disputes.
- Determined Boundary Agreements: A determined boundary agreement is a legally binding contract entered into by neighbouring owners to establish and confirm the precise location of their boundary lines. An agreement is typically reached when boundaries are in dispute and the parties reach an agreement either via mediation or alternative dispute resolution. This is an effective way for landowners to mitigate against ongoing disputes and avoid expensive litigation.
- Get legal advice: Seeking expert legal advice and mediation services from those with legal experience in this area is crucial to resolving disputes amicably and ensuring that the rights and interests of all parties are considered.
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By taking proactive measures, such as professional surveys, clear communication, and legal advice, landowners can navigate these challenges and cultivate relationships within their communities.
If you require any advice or assistance in relation to a boundary dispute, boundary discrepancy or would like to discuss how best to resolve a dispute with a neighbouring landowner, contact our property dispute resolution team and they will work with you to resolve the dispute in the most efficient and effective way possible.