Legal expenses insurer DAS has warned that boundary disputes between neighbours could dramatically increase if the new government proposals to significantly extend permitted development rights are adopted.
DAS currently gets in excess of 1,400 disputes a year regarding boundaries between neighbours, and it believes this could easily escalate if the new regulations come into force.
Neighbour dispute legal documents are also the third most popular download from the DAS household law website, representing 10% of downloads.
The top five household legal documents downloaded from the DAS website are:
1. Possession proceedings – 12%
2. Consumer – buying goods – 11%
3. Neighbour disputes – 10%
4. Household building work – 8%
5. Debts & Debt Recovery (2.59%) + Debt and arrears (1.62%) + Identity theft and credit improvement (1.62%) – Total – 5.83%
“The philosophy behind the government’s proposals to relax planning laws will continue to cause debate with differing views as to the benefits it will bring,” said Richard Harris, head of claims at DAS.
“However, as one of the UK’s leading providers of access to justice, it is our duty to point out from our experience that some are unintended consequences. Neighbour disputes are a common issue and these will undoubtedly rise if planning regulations are relaxed allowing owners to build bigger extensions to their homes. This type of dispute is often a very emotive subject for all involved, with arguments amongst communities becoming a real drain on a family’s well-being and creating long lasting rifts in the local community.
“These disputes could go some way to upsetting the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘Big Society’.”