Renewal of boarder fence and neighbour approval

by Readers Question

14:08 PM, 18th May 2016
About 5 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

Stephen Smith

16:38 PM, 21st May 2016
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nick Pope" at "21/05/2016 - 12:12":

Hi Nick,

The "T" marks on the plan indicate the ownership, to be maintained in accordance with the covenants in the deeds. There will always be a covenant to maintain.
Since the fence is built on the owners land, it follows that ownership of the fence goes with the land. You cannot build a fence on somebody else's land. To do so would instigate a claim for adverse possession.
Your fence, you maintain it. The council can become involved and compel an owner to maintain his bounderies, invoking the covenants, which are there for this purpose.
Arguments about bounderies are all about these issues. I replaced the fence, therefore I own the land? If a fence has been replaced by a neighbour they have effectively gifted it to the owner.

Stephen

Nick Pope

16:52 PM, 21st May 2016
About 5 years ago

Technically I agree with all that you say but in the real world things can be different. Personally I have neighbours on one boundary who simply won't maintain. I replaced the fence and whilst it is on the original line the structure is actually mine. Ownership of the panels does not pass to the neighbours in my opinion. Granted I could go to law but as the original boundary fence 40 years ago was simple 3" high concrete post and wire I can't require them to put in a 6" timber fence to keep my dogs in and their children out.

As a surveyor and estate agent for many years I have often come across similar circumstances, original plans with no "T" marks, past verbal arrangements, arguments over exact positions of fences, paint colours ad infinitum.

In the end it comes down to what is possible or financvially viable.

I don't believe that the council can require maintenance of boundaries unless they abut a highway. I doubt they would become involved between neighbours.

Stephen Smith

17:14 PM, 21st May 2016
About 5 years ago

Hi Nick,

Residents always have the option to put an additional fence inside the old fence, thereby keeping the dogs in. Neighbours can be compelled to maintain their fences. You maintain your fence, the neighbour gets the benefit. He in turn maintains his other fence, the other neighbour gets the benefit. We all live happily ever after.
As an aside I witnessed a neighbour a few years ago, having an argument about where the boundary was? In the middle of the hedge, or one side or the other. The hedge now being a few feet wide, this could be meaningful re extensions.
After a meeting with 2 surveyors, 2 lawyers, and the residents concerned the answer was??? It seems she had deeds which stated her frontage was 41ft 6 ins and she was determined she would get satisfaction from one neighbour or another!!
£10k later?
Conventionally, the owner builds a fence, or hedge, or ditch, on his own land. Any variation on this should be documented and agreed and pass with the deeds of the house.
Many people come across the issue of boundaries when they have an extension built, the guttering now overhanging the neighbours property. Technically incorrect. My advice is to ask the builder to redo with a parapet wall or similar so that it doesn't overhang otherwise you will be buying a strip of land 6 inches wide, registration at the LR, call it £2k (happened to my brother)

Stephen

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