Do you have issues with your neighbour encroaching on your property boundary or people walking over your land without your permission? If so, then it maybe you have a legal way to stop them under the law of trespass writes Frances Cromwell from Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors LLP in Malton.

Trespass can take various forms such as;

• a neighbour encroaching over a boundary with a fence or building;

• someone parking a vehicle on your land without your consent; or

• someone exceeding the permission you gave them for the use of your land.

Although not an exhaustive list, if you believe there is someone trespassing on your property, these are the steps you should consider taking;

1. Approach the trespassers, inform them they are on private property and politely ask them to leave.

2. If this is unsuccessful, you may wish to send a formal (but non aggressive) letter to the other side, drafted by a solicitor, setting out your concerns and giving them a reasonable period of time to stop trespassing. Sending a formal letter explaining your legal position usually assists in resolving matters as it makes clear both the seriousness of the situation and the potential legal costs should they not comply.

3. If a formal letter doesn’t resolve the issues, then it is now commonplace to seek to agree to proceed by way of Mediation. The process is voluntary, informal and involves a third party (the Mediator), who will assist the parties to resolve their differences.

4. If matters are still not resolved, you may want to consider seeking an interim injunction from the court. This is a court order that can require a party to do a specific act or refrain them from doing something. The ramifications of an injunction can also be serious because if the trespasser was to breach an injunction, they will be deemed in contempt of court and can be imprisoned. Such a remedy can be highly effective, but it should be noted that obtaining an injunction can itself be problematic. It is therefore important to consult a solicitor experienced in dispute resolution law to help provide legal advice based on the circumstances of your case.

Ultimately, every case is unique, and it is impossible to provide a catch all solution. If you believe someone is trespassing on your property, but unsure of where you stand, then it may benefit you seeking legal advice before approaching the trespasser. This could give you both the reassurance about your legal position, as well as the knowledge of what you can do about your situation before potentially escalating matters unnecessarily. We know first-hand that dealing with any land dispute can be both complex and emotionally challenging. If you believe there are individuals trespassing on your property, then we would be more than happy for you to contact our Dispute Resolution team on 01904 624185 to see whether we can assist you.