Dream tenants threatened by Housing Trust shared fencing issue

Dream tenants threatened by Housing Trust shared fencing issue

9:00 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago 13

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Since my husbands recent death I am sole owner of a three bed terrace rental house in an estate in a northern town. The tenants one could only dream of having, they are excellent.

The left side fence has been falling down over a period of weeks, my tenants have made numerous calls to the housing trust which have been ignored. I believe their tenant has at last reported this problem and today the trust contacted my tenants.

1. Who say we I have to pay half of the costs.
2. The old rule of which side belonged to the property has been changed by this govt. No longer counts…..
3. We have replaced the right side of the fence at our expense. This is of no concern to the trust.
4. My tenants have a large and very unfriendly dog, the trust know this, but say if he animal bites it’s my tenants fault, but do nothing.
5. The fence in question is build on the other side of a low garden brick wall. Built by the previous property owner in this garden with the smooth side of the fence facing our side.

I hate to ask, but do need an opinion or two on this new law and where I stand.

Very many thanks.



by Neil Patterson

9:08 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

I found Citizens Advice >> https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/problems-where-you-live/if-you-disagree-with-your-neighbour-about-a-wall-or-fence/

If you’re not sure where the boundary is
Before you can solve the problem, you need to know where the boundary between your homes is. This will help you to understand whose property the wall or fence is on or whether it’s shared between you.

The best way to find out is to check the legal documents you got when you bought your home.

You can buy the documents from the Land Registry if you don’t have them - it doesn't cost a lot. It might be a good idea to buy the documents for your neighbour’s home too - they might give information that’s not covered in yours.

If you’re disagreeing with your neighbour about where the boundary is, you can get help from RICS - they work with surveyors who can help with property problems.

Try to find a solution with your neighbour
If you know where the boundary is and you don’t need to follow the process for party walls, the best approach is to talk to your neighbour.

Talk to them face to face if you can - make a note of what you agreed. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to them, write to them or ask someone to contact them for you. Keep copies of any letters or emails you send or receive.

It’s often best to find a compromise, for example sharing the cost of a new fence panel. It could help you to keep a good relationship and will probably be cheaper than paying a solicitor to resolve the disagreement.

If your neighbour owns the wall or fence
Your neighbour doesn’t have to change a wall or fence just because you want them to, for example making it higher for privacy. You can’t make changes to your side without their permission, such as painting it.

If the wall or fence seems dangerous, point this out because your neighbour might not be aware.

If they don’t repair it, you can report a dangerous wall or structure to your council on GOV.UK.

If you own the wall or fence
Look at the legal documents for your home. They might say you have to keep the wall or fence that you’re disagreeing about in a good state of repair.

You should also check if the wall or fence is safe - if it isn’t, your neighbour or the council could take action against you.

If the wall or fence is safe and there’s nothing about repairing it in your legal documents, it’s up to you whether you do what your neighbour’s asking.

Get help with your dispute
If you’re not sure what to do, you can get help at your nearest Citizens Advice.

Get help from a mediator
If you still can’t agree, you can get help from a mediator - this is someone who doesn’t know either of you and is trained to help people resolve disagreements.

It’s a good idea to ask your council if they can help you find a mediator.

You can find your council on GOV.UK

If you still need help, you can look for a mediator on GOV.UK.

You might have to pay for a mediator.

Get help from a solicitor
If the problem continues, you’ll need to get help from a solicitor who specialises in neighbour disputes - but this will be expensive.

Check our advice on how to choose a solicitor. You can also check if you can get help with costs.

by yew tree

9:53 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

1) you do not have too have a fence
2) it is your tenant's responsibly to keep their dog under control
3) paying half the cost of a new fence will be far cheaper than a solicitor
4) ask your tenant for half the money you have to pay

by Mick Roberts

10:22 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

Dont' want to preach to u here.
But yes, u could say Look tenants it's your dog, I ain't paying for your dog.
Or what I do is, jump for joy if someone is going halves with me on a fence.
I don't get all this rammel, Oh that's your boundary u must pay bo__ocks.
I've paid for many when the boundary ain't mine just to keep my tenants happy. Even if a boundary ain't mine, I offer to go halves with neighbours. And I ask the same, but maybe 70% of neighbours or neighbours landlords say Ooh no your boundary, as they being tight & don't know how to keep tenants happy.
You've said your tenants are excellent. And I know you've paid one side already. Bite the bullet, appreciate they going halves with u, & in a few months you will forget about it & hopefully the rent would have paid for it by end of the year.

by Gary Nock

10:28 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

First of all the Housing Trust are not being very neighbourly. But they do not like private landlords! However even if the boundary is housing trusts boundary, then legally there is no way to enforce them to replace the fence. As long as there is a boundary marking
( post and line) then the erection of a fence is secondary to that. I have been here with this one many times. Ultimately you want to keep the tenants happy and their dog secure to ensure other tenants safety. Make no mistake. As a private landlord they know you have assets. If your tenants dog escapes and bites their tenant they will ultimately hold you responsible. Not your tenant. First of all offer to pay 50% of the cost with the disclaimer that this does not constitute an agreement, written or verbal to maintain the fence in the future. If they refuse that then get their consent and erect a new fence. I have just had 8 bays of 6 foot x 5 foot close edged panels replaced supplied and fitted
( concrete posts and godfathers already in) for £265. Hardly worth arguing over in the scheme of things. Alternatively you can erect a new fence inside your boundary without their consent but be sure it does not contravene any restrictive covenants in relation to fence height or type. But this may be more expensive than just replacing the existing fence.

by Lordship

10:32 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

I had this very problem.

My property had a shared boundary as determined by the deeds.
The boundary fence blew down and was not in the best of condition anyhow.
Contacted the landlord of the neighbouring property which was a housing association and they told me it was their tenants responsibility not there's. Their tenant had just moved in (single mum 2 kids and pregnant) and apparently signed her tenancy agreement which stated she would take responsibility for the upkeep of certain areas (the garden was such area). I challenged this stating this was an unfair term etc, but to cut along story short got nowhere. The tenant had no money and when I spoke with solicitor about taking action, was advised it would likely cost the same or more than replacing the fence myself.
Obviously I did not want to cause my tenants an elderly couple who had a dog any more stress than was possible, so after 6 months, just paid to have a new fence put up.

The time and hassle involved trying to sort this out was ridiculous, so I'd think through your options carefully especially if the cost to replace the fence is not to expensive (bearing in mind you maybe paying half anyhow). Tax deductible too!

by Jan Martin

10:44 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

Dont give yourself the hassle. You say you have "dream tenants"
That is worth a lot and could be costly if you were to loose them over this .
Even if you have to pay for the boundary it will be cheaper surely .

by Ian Cognito

11:24 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

One comment, one question:

The government has not changed any rules, Jo, regarding which side belongs to the property. It makes no difference which property the smooth side faces, nor whether the fence is on the left or right.

Are you saying, Gary, that the landlord IS responsible for his tenant's dog (because the landlord has allowed the tenant to keep a dog but failed to properly fence the garden) or that the Housing Trust will attempt to find him responsible?

by Gary Nock

11:43 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

Hi Ian,
If tenants dog bites someone, and the landlord (a) Authorised the keeping of said dog, and (b) Knew that the dog was potentially dangerous:
(4. "My tenants have a large and very unfriendly dog, the trust know this, but say if he animal bites it’s my tenants fault, but do nothing")
Then given the fact the fence is insecure, the landlord knows it, there is a possibility that a "no win no fee" ambulance chaser would argue the culpability of the landlord and try and claim off them if the tenant has no insurance of their own, and / or has no assets to pay compensation. I don't think it's worth taking the risk for a fence to be honest.

by terry sullivan

11:48 AM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

there is no power to make anyone replace a fence--i suggest your tenant fixes the fence to keep their dog under control!

by AJ

12:43 PM, 12th March 2019, About 3 years ago

To be honest I would pay the half to get it sorted, I have a house where the neighbour had a 50ft leylandi in the garden, which was pushing the fence over, damaging the shed and lifting the decking.
I offered to pay the full amount of removal and stump grinding as it was cheaper than the legal fees I would of paid to try and sue my neighbour for damages.
They paid nearly half once it had been removed (total cost was 1150), the only person who wins in a legal dispute is the solicitor, so avoid at all costs

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