Property Disputes

Property disputes can be extremely unpleasant and stressful. At Thornton Jones, we understand how difficult it is to be involved in a disagreement relating to your home and we will do all we can to resolve the issue on your behalf as quickly as possible.

Our property team are highly experienced in dealing with all types of property disputes and have a strong track record of success in resolving issues without recourse to property litigation and court.

If you ask us to represent you, we will put together a strong case on your behalf and do all we can to press the other party for a resolution that you are happy with. We are often able to obtain this by sending a well-drafted letter before action or by representing you in an alternative dispute resolution process such as constructive negotiation or mediation.

If your issue cannot be settled amicably, you can be sure that we will provide robust representation in court.

Talk to us about property dispute resolution today

For expert advice on resolving a disagreement, please speak to our property disputes lawyers in WakefieldOssettGarforth or Sherburn in Elmet, West Yorkshire today.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.

Our expertise with property dispute resolution

We can assist with a full range of property issues, including the following:

  • Boundary disputes
  • Right to light disputes
  • Right of way and easement disputes
  • Antisocial behaviour disputes
  • Party wall disputes
  • Breach of restrictive covenants
  • Prescriptive rights
  • Adverse possession

Boundary disputes

Boundary disputes are one of the most common issues that arise between neighbours. Difficulties can arise because the plans included with the title deeds to a property are only general in scale and do not assist with identifying the exact location of the boundary on the ground.

A chartered surveyor will be able to draw up an accurate plan and if you are able to come to an agreement with your neighbour as to the position of the boundary, it is recommended that you put this in writing together with an accurate electronic plan. If agreement cannot be reached, then it is advisable to try to negotiate a compromise to avoid stressful and time-consuming legal action.

Right to light disputes

If you have enjoyed uninterrupted light through an opening for over twenty years, then you are deemed to have a right to light. This can also exist where it has been granted, meaning even a new building can have a right to light.

Objects such as new construction or trees or hedges can potentially obscure light and cause disputes between neighbours.

In determining a right to light case, the courts will look at the amount of light your home receives and whether it is sufficient for comfortable enjoyment of the property. The light level is generally assessed by a chartered surveyor.

We can represent you if you believe your right to light has been breached or if you have received notice that you are obstructing someone else’s light. We will work to resolve the issue without the need for litigation wherever possible.

Right of way or easement disputes

A dispute can arise when someone assumes that they have a right of way over another’s land, quite often when this assumed right has been exercised for some time. A right of way is a type of easement, where one person grants another the right to do something in relation to land they own.

An easement may be set out within the title deeds to a property or it could arise because the so-called right has been exercised for more than twenty years.

As ever, it is best to try to resolve any difficulty or allegation of trespass without legal proceedings. We can advise you on the best course of action to enforce your rights or protect your property.

Antisocial behaviour disputes

Antisocial behaviour can be one of the most upsetting and stressful forms of neighbour dispute. Excessive noise is one of the main causes of this type of dispute, but it could also include rubbish being left lying around, overgrowing trees and hedges, parking in the wrong place, harassment and nuisance.

It is advisable to deal with the situation without delay before the behaviour becomes a habit and also before relationships degenerate. We can step in early on your behalf to explain to your neighbour why they cannot continue to behave in this way and hopefully resolve the issue before the situation escalates.

Party wall disputes

A party wall is a wall that sits along the boundary of two properties. It may be on the land of one person and it could also be a horizontal boundary, such as the floor/ceiling of a flat.

Where work is going to be done to a party wall, notice should be served on the neighbour advising them of this. If the neighbour objects and a dispute arises, a surveyor can be appointed to look at ways of resolving matters.

If you are involved in a party wall dispute, we can advise you of your options and work on your behalf to try to negotiate a compromise with your neighbour.

Our property dispute resolution fees

For some types of dispute resolution work, we can offer fixed fees. This will normally cover a specified piece of work, such as drafting and sending a letter before action or attending an individual mediation session.

Hourly rates for our dispute resolution solicitors

Our dispute resolution solicitors’ fees are between £190 and £250 per hour plus VAT depending on the work involved and the level of expertise that you need.

Our legal assistants’ fees are between £100 to £145 per hour plus VAT. Fees for our Trainee Solicitors & Paralegals are £150 and £190 plus VAT per hour.

We bill in regular instalments and can agree a monthly payment plan in which interest is charged at 8% on outstanding balances.

All fees are subject to VAT.

Conditional fee agreements

For some types of disputes, we may be able to offer conditional fee agreements covering all or part of our fees. This means that part or all of our fees would only be applied if and when we secure a favourable outcome for you.

Learn more about our fees and funding.

Contact our property disputes solicitors in West Yorkshire

For expert advice on resolving a dispute, please speak to our dispute resolution solicitors in WakefieldOssettGarforth or Sherburn in Elmet, West Yorkshire today.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.

Frequently asked questions

How long will the whole process of buying a property take?

The length of time it takes to purchase a property is completely dependent on each individual transaction. For example, if there is a chain involved, it is likely that matters may take a little longer as there are a lot of people who need to coordinate so that all parties complete on the same day.

A standard transaction typically completes within about 6 to 8 weeks. It may take somewhat longer if there are unforeseen complications or delays in the chain. It can also be completed somewhat faster than this with the cooperation of all parties involved, or if there is no chain.

If you need to complete your purchase particularly quickly, please do contact us and we can discuss your options and timescales.

What is exchange of contracts?

When you purchase or sell a property, the buyer and seller each sign a copy of the contract which details the terms of the agreement. Once both parties are happy to proceed and have signed the contract to say so, the contracts are ‘exchanged’ between the parties’ solicitors. At this point the sale/purchase is legally binding on the parties. The contract will also state the completion date that has been agreed.

Before exchange of contracts, no contract exists between the buyer and seller, either is free to change his or her mind about the transaction ie withdraw from it.

What is a Transfer of Equity?

A transfer of equity is when someone is added or removed from ownership of a property. This could be one sole owner adding a husband or wife, a parent, a son or daughter, or a separating couple removing one of them from ownership of the property.

How much stamp duty will I have to pay?

The amount of stamp duty that you will have to pay is dependent on whether you own other properties or whether you qualify for the first time buyers relief. Please see our online conveyancing calculator at which provides a further explanation regarding this. If you have not owned any other property before, and are purchasing for the first time in your sole name but your spouse owns a residential property(s) then you will not qualify for the first time buyer relief.

What are searches and do I need to do them?

Property searches are enquiries which provide further, additional information about a property that you are purchasing, The most common searches are Local Authority searches, Water & Drainage and Coal mining searches. In deciding whether you need property searches, it is best to discuss your options with a Solicitor as to whether or not you need them. If you are purchasing with the aid of a mortgage, your mortgage lender will require that these are undertaken.

We are unmarried and buying a property. I am putting a bigger deposit into the property. Can I protect it in the event of separation?

Yes, there are various ways in which you can protect your share in a property in these circumstances. This can either be by way of a Declaration of Trust or you can protect your share by owning the legal title in a specific way.

My husband has passed away, can I take his name off my house deeds? If so, how?

Yes, but the process is different depending on whether you own the property as tenants in common or joint tenants. If you own the property as joint tenants, then it is a very simple application to HM Land Registry. However, if you own the property as tenants in common, then you will need to seek appropriate advice from a Solicitor.

Do I need a survey on the property I am buying?

If you are getting a mortgage then your lender will insist that a valuation is undertaken. You may opt for a more detailed survey to be undertaken in addition to this. However, if you are not using a mortgage then it is your choice as to whether or not you undertake one. However, as purchasing a property is a significant investment, it is advised to get one.

Covid-19 Frequently asked questions

Can I move house during the restrictions?

This depends upon a number of circumstances. The government guidance is that where possible house moves should be delayed until the restrictions are lifted. However there are circumstances when moves can continue, for example if the move is essential for a key worker or if the property is empty and therefore the risks of contamination are minimal. Please contact us to discuss your individual circumstances.

I am in a chain. Can we still complete?

This depends on the situation of the full chain. Some solicitors are simply refusing to complete any transactions during this period and therefore if one of these solicitors forms part of your chain then the chain will either collapse or more likely simply be put on hold until the restrictions are lifted.

My mortgage offer is due to expire. Can it be extended?

The government has asked lenders to agree to extend mortgage offers for another 3 months. You should contact your individual lender to establish whether this can be agreed in your case.