How do I go about buying my neighbour's garden?

I have agreed to buy my neighbour’s garden but how should we value it fairly and make sure the deal is done properly?
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Question: My neighbour and I have long gardens. I love mine, but she finds hers a burden and it is now very overgrown. Recently she said, jokingly, that I could have it if I wanted it. Since then we have agreed to a sale — and I will insist on paying a sensible price. But how do I go about valuing it? Neither of us has a mortgage and there is no question of using her garden to build on. What should my next move be? I would be grateful for your advice.
Answer: Obtain a valuation from a chartered surveyor to ensure a fair price for the land. You should each instruct independent solicitors and a Land Registry compliant plan will also be required, which the surveyor can prepare.
Your solicitor should check your neighbour’s title and should ensure there are no restrictive covenants preventing part of the land being sold. Your neighbour is likely to be advised to impose covenants in the transfer of the land to you, to prevent the plot being used at any time for anything other than a garden, so not for building or a development.
Access to the land and ownership of the boundary between your land and your neighbour’s should be considered and also whether any rights should be reserved for services, such as electricity.
As part of the deal your neighbour may ask you to pay her legal costs, as well as the agreed price for the land.
Your title to the land must be registered at the Land Registry after your completion of the purchase.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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