Our Neighbour Disputes Service (NDS) is designed to help neighbours resolve property disputes and maintain harmony without the need for intervention by the courts. It deals with often sensitive issues such as boundary disputes, ownership of land and relocating boundary markings (such as fences).

Houses in Bulwark Garden City

NDS focusses where differences of opinion clearly exist. Like any other dispute resolution procedure it requires co-operation of the parties, in that each must agree to use it. 

The benefits of using NDS

The main benefits include:

  • Informality
  • Privacy
  • A significant quicker and cheaper alternative to the courts

The NDS Process

The service falls into three stages, parties will aim to reach a settlement at each stage. However, if agreement cannot be reached they will move onto the next stage:

Stage 1 – Expert evaluation

This involves the appointment of a chartered surveyor whose independence is assured. The surveyor is employed by both parties and RICS DRS will appoint them by making careful checks to ensure the surveyor has no personal or other interest in the outcome of the dispute. The surveyor will produce an expert valuation with brief reasons in a written report based written statements from both parties and an inspection of the disputed issue if the survey feels it is required. The parties may settle at this stage if the dispute continues they move to stage two.

Stage 2 – Negotiation and compromise

This is not intended to be full blown mediation, although surveyors appointed under the NDS have undone training in conciliation techniques. The surveyor will act as a facilitator in their attempts to obtain a settlement. Before any meeting is conducted both parties are invited to provide written statements giving individual perspectives on the current position. The objective is to identify the different needs of the neighbours and look at ways to break any deadlocks. If no comprise is reached they move to stage three. 

Stage 3 – Expert witness report

Stages one and two are intended to resolve disputes and prevent escalation to the courts. However, in some matters the dispute may require referral to court. This stage is intended to help courts decide disputes and speed up the litigation process, and using the expert valuation report previously undertaken by a professional in the field should help prevent the dispute escalating to higher courts

Costs

One or more of the three stages can be used to resolve the dispute. The costs of using these stages are:

  • Stage 1: Expert Evaluation - £1,500 +VAT
  • Stage 2: Negotiation and Compromise - Stage 1 & 2 - £1,950 +VAT
  • Stage 3: Expert Witness Reporting - Stages 1, 2 & 3 - £2,200 +VAT

Applying for the appointment of a NDS dispute resolver

To apply for the appointment of dispute resolver, please complete and return the application form available for download on this page. There is an appointment fee of £240 including VAT.

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Contact DRS

RICS Dispute Resolution Service, Surveyor Court, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8JE