An 80-year-old widow is facing eviction after a boundary dispute spanning more than a decade over 3 inches of land.
Milica Markos of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, took her former neighbour, Alan Goodfellow, to court in 1999 because he had encroached on her land.
He had knocked down her fence and built a concrete drive which came onto her property by three inches.
A judge ruled in her favour at the initial hearing, but she was not happy with the damages awarded. She appealed to the High Court who, whilst agreeing with her, ordered her to pay Mr Goodfellow’s legal costs of £10,000.
Mrs Markos then pursued a further 30 legal appeals, which substantially increased the level of costs she owed.
She could not afford to pay the costs and it led to her home being repossessed. The property was sold at auction in 2010 for £170,000 despite being valued at £280,000. The buyer is now seeking to evict her and her son from the property. She is now a squatter in what was her own home.
This is a tragic example of neighbour disputes getting out of hand. These types of dispute are often described as being worse than divorce because on most occasions you have to continue living next to your neighbour even after the dispute is finished.
It is often the case that neighbours get very bitter in these types of dispute and it can lead to appeals and cross appeals of Court decisions and very substantial legal costs.
It is important to seek legal advice from a specialist in the area and from someone who will give you objective advice. I stress to my clients the costs risks of pursuing these cases. You at a substantial risk of losing your home if you pursue cases in an unreasonable way.