Renewal of boarder fence and neighbour approval

by Readers Question

14:08 PM, 18th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Renewal of boarder fence and neighbour approval

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Renewal of boarder fence and neighbour approval

I have a mid terraced property the rear of which has a garden. The two sides of the garden are brick walls and the rear is a wooden lattice fence. fence panel

The wooden fence requires replacing as it is coming loose from its concrete pillars. I have obtained costs for fully replacing the fence and supports and wish the builder to proceed. However, as the fence is built in sections, approximately a quarter of the section crosses the boundary wall into the adjacent property.

I have no problem in paying for the whole cost, but obviously don’t want to start or get myself into a dispute with the neighbour.

Little history: My previous tenant was good friends with this neighbour, but after 11 months of non-payment of rent and damage to the property I ended up going through a lengthy court case to have them evicted. That was back in 2014, and the new tenants tell me they don’t have a relationship with their neighbour. So I don’t want to give the neighbour any opportunity to air any grievance she may be holding, as I’m sure she is still in contact with the previous tenant.

My approach is to write to the neighbour explaining my intention to replace the fence, and that there would be no cost to her or her landlord. If she has any objections or concern’s, then to get back to me by a certain date.

If I don’t hear from her or her landlord, again by a certain date, then I will take their silence as approval to proceed.

Is this the best approach or is there something else I should do or take into consideration?

Ian



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:12 PM, 18th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Ian,

I hardly think you can be blamed for evicting someone after 11 months of arrears even if they were your best friend.

I personally would pop round for a friendly chat to let them know as a letter might give someone time to think about things and wrongly get angry all over again.

If it comes up they might not have even know their friend was not paying the rent and who would house someone for free!

Neil Patterson

14:14 PM, 18th May 2016
About 3 years ago

PS I am not indemnifying my own advice as people can be irrational, so go on your gut feeling.

Paul Franklin

10:02 AM, 19th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Sounds like a sensible approach to me. As Neil has said you should gauge the situation as to whether it would be best to knock on the door first. But I would always say it's best to follow that up with something in writing so that it's clear what you have agreed.

Sharon Betton

11:28 AM, 19th May 2016
About 3 years ago

If you pursue the course of action of writing a letter (though a visit is always good practice), make sure you state in the letter that failure to respond by the given date will be taken as agreement, rather than accepting silence as agreement. You need to cover your back!

Stephen Smith

11:30 AM, 19th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi,

You have a duty of care to your tenant and a duty to keep the boundary fences in good order.

You are also able to access neighbouring land for this purpose. Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992. Consent can not be refused.

A quick letter explaining the position would be all that is required.

Ian Brand

11:54 AM, 19th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks Stephen - very interesting. I was unaware of this act so could be something to fall back on if they do wish to try and create problems.

Thanks for all other advice - I understand what you are saying about having a chat with the neighbour, but, without going in to too much detail, they were extremely active when I was trying to get my property back from the previous tenant. Obviously I don't know what the previous tenant was telling them about me, probably what a terrible landlord I was. No doubt they left out the bit about being in receipt of full housing benefit but not paying any rent.

John Frith

15:53 PM, 19th May 2016
About 3 years ago

I would recommend that you look at the deeds to find out who's responsibility it is to maintain that particular fence. If on the plans there is a "T" sticking out from the fence on your side then it's you.

I know you are willing to pay any way, but if it's your responsibility, then they don't have any grounds to stop you. If it's their responsibility, then you need to get their agreement, as (if they want to be difficult) they could claim you were interfering with their property.

Paul Tarry

22:52 PM, 19th May 2016
About 3 years ago

When I did a basic law course one of the fundamentals is you can not use silence or a lack of response as agreement tp proceed, only an actual agreement will siffice

Stephen Smith

8:46 AM, 20th May 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi,

Further to the "Access to Neighbouring Land Act, it was brought in for this very reason. Neighbours were preventing reasonable access for essential works, gutter clearance, remedial brickwork repairs, and fences. Consent being unreasonably withheld.
Simply send a letter stating your intention. The contractor concerned etc. The contractor should exercise due diligence, clear up mess, don't trample the plants and so on.
.
If access is denied, apply to the courts and ask for costs.

Stephen

Nick Pope

12:12 PM, 21st May 2016
About 3 years ago

There is a difference between responsibility for the boundary (indicated by the "T" marks on a plan already mentioned) and the ownership of the actual fence. Even if the boundary is your responsibility it is possible that the fence itself was erected by the neighbours and it is therefore theirs and you can't just replace it without their consent, even if you are paying. If it is however yours you don't actually need their consent to replace.

You do have a right to go onto their land to do works of repair and maintenance but again you need to give proper notice, to protect their property and to ensure that pets, children etc. don't escape.

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