Your property is often the largest expense and most important purchase you will make, and it’s not just bricks and mortar; it’s your home. When something happens to it, you need to have the right guidance and advice from the start and know that the advice and help you are getting comes from a specialist with experience.
It is always advisable to seek legal help as soon as possible when a disagreement over property arises. This can prevent the situation from worsening and relationships becoming more acrimonious. Early intervention by experts in property dispute resolution can save time and money by finding a solution that is acceptable to both parties.
At Heringtons, we have experience across the full range of property issues, including the following:
- Boundary and party wall disputes
- Restrictive covenant disputes
- Easements and rights of way disputes
- Right to light disputes
- Possession proceedings
- Adverse possession (‘squatters’ rights’)
- Nuisance and anti-social behaviour claims
- Landlord and tenant disputes
For more information about our services, see our dispute resolution page.
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Our property dispute resolution services
Boundary and party wall disputes
Disagreements over boundaries often arise because the plans that exist are not accurate enough to show exactly where the boundary line lies.
Our boundary disputes experts can advise you of your rights and discuss the best course of action with you. Initially, communication with the other party, setting out your position and trying to resolve matters amicably, is generally the best approach.
Party wall disputes can occur if one party fails to notify the other of work to a wall that divides two properties, or where work damages the party wall or neighbouring property. We can negotiate on your behalf to try and resolve the matter without the need for litigation.
Restrictive covenant disputes
Most land is subject to restrictive covenants, which set out limitations on what can be done on the land. Examples include restrictions on the purpose for which land can be used or prohibition of buildings such as sheds or garages.
Where a restrictive covenant has been breached, the person with the benefit of the covenant can seek to enforce it against the other party. Where necessary, we can ask the court to issue an injunction prohibiting the continuing breach of the covenant.
Easements and rights of way disputes
Disagreements regularly arise over easements, to include rights of way, particularly where neighbours are uncertain of the exact rights that have been granted.
An easement gives someone the right to use part of someone’s property in a particular way, for example, to park or to run pipes or cables over it. The right can be expressly granted by a written deed, or it can arise from implied consent or through long-term use. Where the agreement is not in writing, disputes can arise over what is permitted.
It is always advisable to try and resolve matters without court action wherever possible. Our team have extensive experience in negotiating difficult property issues and can work with you to try and find an acceptable solution and ensure that it is properly documented for the future.
Right to light disputes
Disputes over the right to receive light into a property can be complex. They usually arise when someone proposes to build or extend in front of the windows of a property, reducing the amount of light that is received.
More than half of the room in question should receive adequate natural light, which can be measured by a light expert. Where the room has received light without interruption for twenty years or more, then a right to continue receiving it may exist.
If you have a right to light that is being threatened, we may be able to apply for an injunction or compensation on your behalf.
If you have been offered money by a developer to waive your right to light, we can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the best deal.
If you own a property and your tenant has breached the terms of the lease, for example, by failing to pay rent, you may be able to take possession proceedings to reclaim the property.
It is important to follow the correct procedure, serving legal notices in the proper format, to avoid a claim for illegal eviction. We can represent you in writing to the tenant to try and obtain the arrears of rent. Often, a solicitor’s letter can be enough to prompt payment. Where the difficulty persists, we can advise you of your options, and where appropriate, commence possession proceedings on your behalf.
Trespass is when someone is unlawfully present on another’s land, including by walking or driving over it, by destroying something on the land or fixing something on the land or by occupying it, such as by squatting.
Our property disputes team can represent you in contacting the trespasser and demanding that they leave. Where they refuse to leave voluntarily, we can ask the court to issue a possession notice.
Adverse possession (‘squatters’ rights’)
Where someone has occupied land that is not theirs for a period of time, they may be able to acquire ownership. Their occupation will need to be without the consent of the landowner, to be used as if they owned it and also used by them exclusively. Where they can show this for a period of ten or twelve years, depending on whether the land is registered or unregistered, they may be able to claim adverse possession.
We can advise you of your rights in relation to land you own or wish to claim and suggest the best course of action open to you.
Nuisance and anti-social behaviour claims
Poor behaviour by neighbours can be extremely stressful and upsetting and mean that you are not able to quietly enjoy your home.
At Heringtons, we understand how difficult this type of dispute can be, and we will step in on your behalf to try and find a solution. Issues can include noise, dumping of rubbish, harassment and intimidation.
Our dispute resolution solicitors have experience of dealing with difficult neighbours and a track record of finding acceptable solutions. We can intervene on your behalf to try and resolve issues amicably wherever possible. Where this is not possible, we can look to the courts for an order preventing the behaviour from continuing.
Landlord and tenant disputes
Disputes often arise between landlords and tenants where misunderstandings have arisen, or one party has breached the terms of the lease. It is often possible to deal with disagreements without the need for litigation, and we can represent you in trying to reach an agreement.
Where you wish to end the lease, we can advise you of the correct process to follow so that you can exit the agreement without liability for breaching its terms.
How our property disputes solicitors work
Our property disputes team will always look for the most efficient way of resolving difficulties. We are often able to do this without the need for a court hearing, which is generally quicker and more cost-effective.
We can issue a letter before action setting out your position. Once the other party realises that you have taken legal advice and that solicitors are involved, it is often enough to encourage them to settle the problem.
We can also negotiate on your behalf and represent you through mediation, which is frequently an effective way of dealing with neighbour disputes.
While we prioritise finding a solution without litigation, where this is not possible, we will prepare a robust case for court on your behalf and ensure that you are represented by an expert.
Our property dispute resolution fees
We will provide you with a clear estimate of the likely costs at the outset. We always try to keep our fees to a minimum, and we will review these at each stage of your case so that you are aware of how much the costs will be.
Fixed fee property dispute resolution
In some cases, we are able to offer fixed fee pricing for certain matters, including drafting and issuing a letter before action or representing you at a meeting with the other party involved.
Hourly rates for our legal advice
For other work, we will charge on a competitive hourly rate. We will ensure you have a realistic idea of the costs from the start, with regular updates throughout so that you stay in control.
Get in touch with our proactive property dispute resolution solicitors in East Sussex
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