Bullied over fence repairing responsibilities – READERS QUESTION

Bullied over fence repairing responsibilities – READERS QUESTION

21:15 PM, 25th November 2012, About 11 years ago 8

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Readers QuestionI own the left hand half of a semi detached property. In the row all right hand properties own the right hand fence, the middle fence is jointly owned and the left hand fence is then the right hand fence of the next property if you see what I mean.

All ownerships are clearly marked with a T, or with 2 Ts for joint ownership. I have a very long left hand fence because the house is at the end of a cul-de-sac.  The first third of the fence backs onto a detached property the owner says it is his fence and has replaced it twice since he has lived there. The next two sections are behind a pair of semis. The middle section is adamantly owned by the half of the semi in front of it and a previous owner replaced it and there was some issue of a few inches (prior to my purchase of my property), so he also knows he owns this Third.  The owner of the last section is adamant that the final third is jointly owned and is demanding I pay for replacement fencing of his choice. I have shown him my deeds, showing lack of ownership T all along the length. He says these marks are meaningless and in discussions he has had with his solicitor and land surveyor – who is a legal witness, the courts would consider that we were owners in common.  The problem is that my deeds diagram ends at the fence and thus do not show his ownership marks.

He has a property maintenance company so his men will do the work and I will pay for the materials.  His  property is rented out but according to my tenant they have no contract and pays in cash. I am feeling bullied. I have asked him to down load his deeds but he says they are not detailed enough and is refusing to replace the fence which has collapsed.

A diagram is definitely worth a thousand words!

The sum he is demanding is not great, cheaper than going to court but that is not the point.

Suggestions please.

Miss Anderson

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

21:33 PM, 25th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Why would you need to take legal action? What do you think will happen if you don't pay up? Your neighbour could take you to Court if he believes he is in the right but if he does all you need to do is turn up with your title deeds. He will need to prove that you have an obligation to pay to repair the fence and from what you said he's not going to be able to do that. You don't need legal representation if he takes you to Court.

If you genuinely feel bullied and at risk then you should contact the Police. The fact that you've heard this landlord has no contract and get's paid in cash is a complete red herring - he's not breaking any laws by doing that. He may be breaking other laws, not paying tax for example, but I wouldn't go looking for trouble by digging into those things if I were you. I'm guessing that all you want is a new fence?

Battles like this can come back to haunt you as they must be declared when you eventually sell your property so please bear this in mind before a storm in a teacup becomes a full blown war of attrition.

9:33 AM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Thanks for your speedy reply.
I have not paid, but a year has passed and now my tenant is withholding her rent short fall, and I do not blame her.
Is it now just easier to pay and just reclaim the money in court. I do feel for my tenant.
His tenant feels too vulnerable to complain.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:46 AM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

If you pay up front, how do you know he will put it right?

With regards to your tenant, I suggest you go and have a chat with her and explain that you need her to pay the rent so that you can pay your bills. If she insists on retaining the rent that's fine but how do you know she will not just spend it on Christmas presents. Put this question to her and see what she says. If you don't get a satisfactory answer, such as she will pay it over to a solicitor who will release is when the fence is fixed, explain that reluctantly you will need to serve her with a section 21 notice.

Mary Latham

16:24 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

One of the first things that I do when I buy a new property is to replace ALL the fences. I am not interested in who should pay I just want my gardens to look smart and my tenants to feel safe.
As Mark has said you do not want a dispute with a neighbour because this can cause problems when you have to declare it on the sale of a property. I would not replace the panels with his choice I would choose my own. He who pays the piper calls the tune. We cannot be talking about much money for a couple of fence panels - life is very short.
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19:52 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

that is very odd, I have a similar problem with one of my neighbours. I just ignore her. I know I can prove that A. it's not my fence and B, her fence is not on my land. I just let her go on and on.
if there is an argument ....I'm not aware of it.

let your neighbour spend his/her energy chasing their self grow argument and buy a big dog.
and when he fixes the fence get rid of the dog.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

21:00 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Cosmo

If both properties were owner occupied your strategy MIGHT just work. However, given that this dispute is between two landlords and unhappy tenants living in their properties I'm not sure I'm follow you on this one.

Lynne Davis

21:44 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

It only costs £3 to download the title plan from the Land Registry, and as far as I'm aware, there's no restriction on who can download the information. Why don't you get a copy of the plan so that you can see for yourself whether the marks are visible or not?


9:18 AM, 27th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Firstly, Mary Latham - well said, agree entirely.
You could repair the fence, send them a bill and then put a caution on the other property for the cost. You can do this from the Land Registry website but it will cost you £50. Then when the property is sold this is flagged up - you will have to defend your position and claim back your costs as well but by then you will have got the necessary documents in place.
If you're paying, you get to choose absolutely but how much is there to choose about a fence panel? I would get a replacement for what was there before, you don't say whether the one your neighbour wants is different, more expensive etc. As he is in property maintenance, I'm a bit surprised he hasn't just done it himself, tell him you'll put a review of his work on the net (make sure it is true): either that he doesn't fulfil his obligations, or if he does it then you can give him a good one.
The fact that the property is let is irrelevant. I have a house where all such things (fencing for communal parking area etc.) are supposed to be shared between about 10 properties. You can guess how often that happens!
I don't understand why your tenant is witholding rent, though. Does it affect him/her/them?

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