Landlord boundary fence – HELP!

by Readers Question

10:00 AM, 4th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Landlord boundary fence – HELP!

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Landlord boundary fence – HELP!

Hello, we live next door to a rented property. We have contacted the agent to report their boundary fence. It is falling apart and has holes in it. It is a simple picket fence about 4 foot high. The bush half way along the bottom of their garden is pushing over on to our garden. The tenant doesn’t want the green bush taking down so they are not doing anything. At Christmas a visiting dog run into our garden and worried our chickens, but they don’t have a dog themselves. Landlord boundary fence

We have sent photos to the agent but they are not replacing the fence. It is coming away from the post as the other end of the fence.

I thought that the landlord is legally responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of boundary fences. Is that correct?

If they refuse to replace the fence can we replace it and charge them for the cost of doing it if we give them some warning in writing?

Thank you.

Angela



Comments

Michael Barnes

14:06 PM, 4th April 2015
About 4 years ago

I have some recollection (but no evidence) that if you make a repair to the fence, then you are taking a share of the responsibility for the upkeep of fence in the future, so be careful.

Colin Dartnell

18:02 PM, 4th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Are you sure the landlord knows about it, maybe the agent isn't telling them, try to find out who they are and send them a letter with pictures.

If the bush is coming into your garden you are within your rights to cut it back to the boundary, so long as you have given them notice and you give the cuttings back to them.

Angela Anson

18:43 PM, 4th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Colin

Good point. We are landlords in Sheffield and our agent was as much use as a chocolate fireguard. We ended up managing the property ourselves.

I will try to find out where the owner is and write a letter and photos as you suggested.

Thank you.

Alan Bromley

16:38 PM, 5th April 2015
About 4 years ago

My understanding (but I'm not a lawyer) is that unless the deeds clearly show who owns the fence, or the fence is clearly within the boundary line on one side or the other, then it's the responsiblity of both parties. The idea that one party owns the wall/fence/hedge to the left/right all along a row of properties is, I believe, an urban myth.

I think that you may be right in that if you start to repair it you may, in theory, be held responsible for future repairs. But you could write to the other party to make it clear that you are doing the repairs without prejudice, blah blah.

Bill Williams

16:56 PM, 5th April 2015
About 4 years ago

is it really worth arguing about, just cut the bush back to the boundary and repair the fence. I just had to do the same with 40' high Leylandii which the neighbour refused to cut back. Much cheaper than going to court.

Joe Bloggs

18:43 PM, 5th April 2015
About 4 years ago

the LL has no responsibility under s.11 landlord and tenant act 1985 to the tenants. your neighbour may have wider responsibility under a covenant.

my recollection is that if your RENEW a fence you assume future maintenance responsibility.

Gary Nock

20:02 PM, 5th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Check your deeds.

On the deeds for the property the boundary will be marked by a series of "T" marks.

But. Boundary and garden disputes are a nightmare. Neither the landlord or the tenant has any enforceable obligation to repair the fence or cut down the tree. Unless the deeds have covenants contained within them. But even then enforcing a breach of covenant is a costly process.

Check the Land Registry. For £6 you can getba copy of the entry telling you who the owner is. Write to them to see if you get a response. If you dont.....

Far cheaper to cut down the tree and stick a fence panel or two in. And for those who worry about taking on a future maintainence obligation - well that's something again whuch is a) debateable b) very difficult to enforce. So don't worry about it.

Paul Thomas

10:17 AM, 6th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Basically, you don't like the fence or boundary. Now, if this were a privately owned property you might be able to speak to the owner. But some people just plain are not interested in the garden or the fence for that matter. In the case of a landlord, be makes no more (or less) money if he fixes the fence. In the case of a private owner he/she may have no inclination to do so. If I was in your situation, I would would just get put a fence up on your boundary and forget about it. You then end up solving your problem, getting a nice secure garden that you are happy with and that you own. No more dogs, no more privacy issues... Sure, you are going to have to pay for it. But, you get the benefit. The people next door also derive some benefit, but it's a benefit they never wanted nor were bothered about. That's life some times.

I've fixed other peoples fences onto my rented property before because it adds value and looks nice. I've not even bothered talking to the neighbours as I know they are not willing to help financially - you can tell by their garden !

Suck the cost up, get a nice secure garden for yourself and get on with life...

David Dougan

20:40 PM, 8th April 2015
About 4 years ago

If it bothers you I would repair it yourself, even if you check the deeds and you find it is the other person's responsibility if they don't want to repair it I don't believe there is a lot you can do about it. - Try and look at the wider picture, even if you repaired the whole fence and then paid for it yourself to keep your side of the garden looking good then workout how much this would cost of the life of the fence itself, a good fence treated and looked after could last 15 to 20 years and if you do come to sell at least the issue will not raise its ugly head again. In fact an astute buyer could actually make it a condition of the purchase of the property that the fence be repaired! so you may end up having to do this anyway.

Paul Thomas

21:23 PM, 8th April 2015
About 4 years ago

If you do decided to do the fence yourself. Don't get fence panels. Go and get quotes for "Close Board Fencing", it lasts several times the length of panels, looks better is A LOT stronger and will be noticed by a purchaser.

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