Disputes between neighbours can blight the lives of all involved – but a good lawyer can provide the neutral voice needed to achieve peace and a sensible resolution.
Lawyers are trained to defuse ill-feeling and encourage pragmatic compromise, which is why seeking expert legal advice is so important.
It’s a fact that was emphasised in one recent court case, where a feud between the owners of two rural homes had serious financial consequences when the sale of one of the properties fell through.
Couple A owned a country house and adjoining parkland. Couple B were freeholders of a nearby stable block and also owned a boundary wall, a meadow and a stretch of woodland. Following an earlier boundary dispute, the neighbours entered into a settlement agreement which claimed to grant couple A pre-emptive rights to purchase the meadow and woodland if couple B decided to sell them.
Couple B wished to sell their property so they could relocate to New Zealand and had received an offer at the asking price. However, when they got wind of the sale, couple A sought to register notices and a restriction to protect their claimed pre-emptive rights. As a result, Couple B’s intended purchaser withdrew.
The matter was ultimately referred to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) by the Chief Land Registrar. In ruling in couple B’s favour, the FTT described couple A’s stubborn approach as ‘extraordinary’ and said that they appeared determined to scupper any attempt by their neighbours to sell their property.
Couple A’s purported pre-emptive rights were not capable of being protected by a restriction on the register and were so ambiguous and lacking in any mechanism or process for enforcement as to be void.
Taking early legal advice could have saved both parties a fortune, not to mention sparing them of the stress and disruption that came with the dispute.
A lawyer would also have ensured any settlement was clearly set out in writing so as to be enforceable.
How can our Dispute Resolution lawyers help?
Sometimes disputes can’t be avoided. But before embarking on any course of action, you should in the first instance contact our Dispute Resolution Team, who can advise on how best to resolve the matter – thus saving time, and reducing costs and stress.
For more information or a no-obligation discussion about how our Dispute Resolution solicitors in Ipswich can help, contact Rachel Cronin on 01394 458007 or at [email protected] or Holly Sadler on 01473 298193 or at [email protected]