Boundary – No clue on the title deeds?

by Readers Question

13:20 PM, 14th August 2018
About 2 months ago

Boundary – No clue on the title deeds?

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Boundary – No clue on the title deeds?

I have a Victoria semi detached rental property that has been in the family for 100 years and we are trying to establish who is responsible for the boundaries of the property as there is no clue on the title deeds.

There is currently 4ft walls between us and each of our neighbours, but in each case, the neighbours have erected 6ft fences to give more privacy rather than do anything about the walls which are now falling apart.

If the pillars of the wall are on the neighbours side, would this mean it is their responsibility or would the walls be considered as party walls and therefore joint responsibility? Perhaps someone could point me in the direction of who to ask (apart from the neighbours themselves).

There does not seem to be any standard rules about it always being on the left or right so quite difficult with an inherited property.

Many thanks

Pam



Comments

Liam Strid

17:09 PM, 14th August 2018
About 2 months ago

This is always tricky when you cannot come to an agreement with the neighbours. This is a major cause of disputes. First try HM Land Registry if you cannot come to a neighbourly arrangement. You might then have to go to the Royal Chartered Surveyors. There is no easy answer to this. You may have to fork out and go down the legal route but could get nowhere.

Adam Withford

10:40 AM, 15th August 2018
About 2 months ago

Hi Pam,
This is a very good resource
http://www.boundary-problems.co.uk/boundary-problems/walls.html
Effectively, the 'boundary' is a theoretical line and anything either side of that is that owner's responsibility unless the same construction is spread over both sides. With fences it is just up to each owner to erect their own, and as they wish so long as it is on their side of the boundary (and within council regs), with walls you may find that you are both liable if it straddles the boundary.

Mike Amapola

13:29 PM, 15th August 2018
About 2 months ago

It would seem to me that if the neighbours have erected fences (close to the walls ?) that may be taken as an indication that they have accepted/assumed responsibility for that boundary. I would suggest that you get a photographic record of it so you have something to refer to if a dispute should arise in the future. It could be taken that they have defined the boundary so the 'falling down' wall that you are left with could ultimately be removed - perhaps I would only do that if it posed a danger and that some time had passed since the fences had been erected. Of course a professional opinion would be a safe way to go. Good luck.

Adam Withford

13:43 PM, 15th August 2018
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike Amapola at 15/08/2018 - 13:29
There is no responsibility for a boundary if the title deeds show none. You can only deal with your side of the boundary. Party walls are different. It is a myth that "we take our left/right/rear boundary and the neighbour does accordingly to the next etc etc". Read the link I posted above.

Andy Morgan

22:53 PM, 15th August 2018
About 2 months ago

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules. But, from what you describe, what I am picturing and standard convention, I'd suggest the continuous smooth outer side of the wall marks the exact boundary. The wall itself will be built on the land of the person responsible for the wall's maintenance - with side interspaced with strengthening pillars facing their land.

Mike Amapola

21:13 PM, 16th August 2018
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Adam Withford at 15/08/2018 - 13:43
In this case it seems that the boundary is not disputed but the responsibility for the wall built on it is not known. The neighbours, having erected their own 6 foot high fencing are suggesting that they do not think it is their responsibility - perhaps they have the information that is lacking from Pam's deeds. Asking them may be a good idea unless you have reasons for not asking (?)
Alternatively, if the old wall is unsightly, perhaps erecting your own 4 foot high fencing to hide it may be an idea. Your fence would enjoy the shelter of the neighbouring 6 foot fences and may be less expensive than getting a builder to repair the old wall . Perhaps get quotes for both before deciding. Good luck.
By the way I agree with Adam regarding the 'Myth' . You must firstly go by the deeds, yours in the first instance and then the deeds of the neighbouring owners if they are available..

D

8:07 AM, 18th August 2018
About 2 months ago

Hi,
Boundary's can change over time. Although a fixed boundary existed at the point of creation of the plot, which may then have been defined by a face, or the center of the wall, if one neighbour has done all the maintainence on a wall for a period of 12 years, the boundary could be claimed as being up to the remote side of the wall.
If your neighbour has not maintained the wall for such time, and has no intention of doing so, it may be an option to ask him to confirm his opinion as to where the boundary lies, bearing in mind historic maintainence, and noting that if it is down the middle of the wall he has a joint legal responsibility (I believe) to maintain the wall.
It is no bad thing to have sole responsibility for the wall (boundary on the remote side) as it would make any future extension much easier (incorporating the wall into the extension rather than requiring a pw notice for changes to the wall).
Regards,
D


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