Dealing with neighbourhood boundary woes

Wednesday January 30 2019

Involve a legal officer if boundary issues with

Involve a legal officer if boundary issues with your neighbour get out of hand. photos by Ismail Kezaala 

By SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA

Land disputes are very rampart across the country and government has tried to intervene by constituting a Land commission to resolve the matter. However, many are still developing and land boundaries are one of the main issues involved.
Adnaan Mpuuga, says currently, very few people are buying property without a land title showing the boundaries because people are fed up of fraud and boundary disputes. He explains ways how you can deal with boundary issues with a neighbour:

Hire experts
Mpuuga says the first thing you can do is to hire a surveyor before making any payment to make sure the land is worth the money you are going to pay.

The surveyor will let you know whether the land is equivalent or not to the size they indicated in the agreement. “It is better to sort out issues before you go any further with developments and payments, you may find that the selling is encroaching on someone’s land so it has to be sorted out before you buy, you have to sort it out before,” he says.

Mpuuga adds that the surveyor will help both parties to know their boundaries clearly without creating any tension and if there is any encroachment, it can be resolved there and then especially when the clients are willing to sort it out.

Use local authorities
Mpuuga says if it is difficult to talk to your neighbours, you can opt to use the local authorities to intervene in the matter since they are the local leaders they will be able to invite both parties on a round table.
“Authorities can write letters, or use verbal communication to inform both parties that there will be a meeting and what is expected of them,” he says.

Mpuuga adds that there might be a situation where you cannot handle the matter on the local council basis and the authorities will give you a referral to court or lands office (zonal offices) to resolve the matter especially when the issue is recurring.
“Normally, local authorities resolve matters when both parties have intent to settle the matter in person, however there are some people who refuse to be rational and they insist that they are right when they are totally in the wrong ,” he says.

Living with the difficult neighbour
Sheilah Namwanje, a property manager Smart House Real Estates, Lubowa, says there is a scenario where you have to learn to live with that difficult neighbour who is not able to accept his or her problem. She however, advises that you always get legal advice before engaging them.

Present yourself
Namwanje says the moment you start the process of acquiring a property, you have to present yourself on the ground for the neighbours to notice that there is a new member in the area with your documents well detailed.
“You have to start introducing yourself as the new neighbour. This also helps you to know what is going on in the area. After presenting yourself, it will be easier to ask about their boundaries putting up any development,” she says.

Namwanje adds that through several interactions, you will get to know the kind of people you are going to stay with the rest of your life unless otherwise.
“It’s advisable to erect a fence immediately after clearing your boundaries to avoid future disputes especially when there is a plan for any development like a road or any form of service delivery,” she adds.

Use legal officer
Muhammed Kizito, a property agent, says if things are out of hand bring in a legal officer, who will be able to advise on the best and most effective way to resolve the matter without prolonging it.
“No one is above the law and if your neighbour is not ready to settle the matter, the legal officer will force him or her to face the law,” he says.

The long court process
Kizito says normally court issues take time due to backlog in the courts and inadequacy of lawyers that’s why people prefer using local authorities to resolve the matter in time and avoid more costs.

Things which make up a good neighbourhood

Check on neighbours
Always get time to check on you neighbour no matter how bad they are make sure you know how they have been. You can do it once in a week or over the weekend.

Relate with children
If you have children, allow them to relate with the neighbour. This creates a bond between both families and also helps you to know the behaviour of your neighbour without snooping around.

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