To not offer to pay for the fence?

(25 Posts)
cameronspieface Fri 01-Jul-16 12:40:49

Yes, that's right, it's a thread about my FENCE.

We are 2nd in a row of 5 terraced houses. When we moved in a few years ago we replaced the left fence in our garden (so bordering house 1), as it was dying a death. According to the deeds/land registry, the left and rear fence belong to us, and the right to our neighbour (house 3). Right hand fence was also sagging into our garden near the bottom, so as we were replacing the left anyway, we paid for a concrete post to shore up the right hand fence at its weak point as well.

We didn't bother asking H3 for a contribution as a) it only cost about £40 and b) we didn't want to be the arsey new neighbours demanding thing as soon as we moved in. The only odd thing at the time of the fence replacing was when H3 said to me "Oh, that's good of you to replace their (H1's) fence for them". confused It should be noted that occupant of H3 is a very nice woman who's been a good neighbour over the last few years. I assumed she'd got confused about who owned which fence, and was confident as I'd just checked the deeds, so I thought no more of it.

ARE YOU STILL WITH ME ON THIS THRILLING RIDE?

Fast forward to this year. We put the house up for sale. A few months ago some high winds bought the right hand fence sagging into our garden again, this time near the house (our super amazing concrete post held the fort further down).

We left it a week or so, and then (as H3 hadn't mentioned the fence) DH went round to ask whether she wanted any help with fixing it or finding a reputable company to do so.

HEREIN LIES THE ISSUE. H3 lady gave a tinkly laugh and said something like "Oh, a few years ago all the neighbours in the row agreed to maintain the right fences on their properties." shock

She then went on to say that the guy who sold to us had said he was going to inform us of this, and leave us some money to fix the (then sagging) fence. Suffice to say he did neither. H3 doesn't seem to understand that an informal agreement between the houses no longer exists, because the occupants of two of the houses (us and H1) have changed and neither are aware of the agreement. We've checked with H1 and they confirmed this, plus it would make them responsible for all three of their fences so why would they agree to that?

We are a few days from exchanging and now I'm struggling with my usual anxiety over the issue hmm. We need to make it clear to H3 that we didn't agree to this arrangement, and that we're in no position to agree on behalf of our buyers either - especially as it would make them responsible for a damaged fence as soon as they moved in.

We don't want to not mention it to H3 as she seems to be weirdly naive about the situation and we don't want her blithely telling our buyers once they move in, making it look like we lied on our seller's form.

I honestly don't know how best to phrase it without sounding pissy. We could offer to help pay for the repair I guess, but why should we? And I also wouldn't want that setting a precedent that H3 could then use in the future against our buyers.

So bloody annoying, we've basically been sucked into an agreement that we didn't have any involvement in. WWYD?

Mouikey Fri 01-Jul-16 12:46:28

If its in your deeds / on land registry documentations then that is the legal position. You could ask your solicitor for some advice, but at the end of the day, if there is nothing signed and its on your deeds, the deeds should prevail.

Where you have the issue is that the neighbour thinks that some form of verbal agreement between previous owners top trumps the deeds. I guess she isn't going to fix it anytime soon, but that does not mean you have to either. Discuss with your solicitor!

Creampastry Fri 01-Jul-16 12:47:43

Is there anything in writing?

tootyflooty Fri 01-Jul-16 12:48:13

if you have access to a copy of the deeds I would show these to her, also maybe mention as well, that your buyers are aware that this is not their fence to maintain. I guess you have nothing to lose as you will be moving, as you say, a verbal agreement between previous owners is not legally binding.

OutToGetYou Fri 01-Jul-16 12:49:39

Deeds don't show who owns fences.

BombadierFritz Fri 01-Jul-16 12:53:02

She just wants either you (so you can sell house) to pay or new neighbours (wanting nice garden) to pay thats all. So she is lying/bending the truth. Have the new buyers mentioned it as an issue? If not i wouldnt worry.

Wonkydonkey44 Fri 01-Jul-16 12:59:59

I think she's telling porkie pies! Tell her to sort the fence out!

mirime Fri 01-Jul-16 13:00:19

"Deeds don't show who owns fences."

Ours showed which side we were responsible for.

cameronspieface - it's possible the actual physical fence itself is yours (as in it was put up by the previous owner of your house and is on your side of the boundary) and your neighbour doesn't have one at all - in which case I suppose you could just remove it grin

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 01-Jul-16 13:02:04

out deeds often do in fact show just that - either by words in a conveyance or t marks on a plan. Hey show who must maintain each fence. It isn't always set out in the deeds but ours certainly is.

cameronspieface Fri 01-Jul-16 13:07:47

mirime true! grin

Nothing in writing as far as I'm aware.

I'm annoyed with myself for not nipping it in the bud as soon as she said it, but it was DH who had the conversation with her and he's absolutely useless with legalities etc, he now says he "can't remember" what his response was hmm . We were having a manic time with work, family and DD and it sort of slipped under the radar.

The left and back boundary are marked on the deeds as belonging to us, but other than fences what can that possibly relate to? How else would you assign ownership of the fences? Not being goady - that's a genuine question!

Hoping that H3 lady will just accept it when we discuss it with her. She really doesn't seem the type to be overly manipulative or sneaky. She's been a really nice neighbour, we never hear her and she's very forgiving of DD's loudness!

cameronspieface Fri 01-Jul-16 13:08:16

Oh yes and "T" on the documents as well, we have those!

tigermoll Fri 01-Jul-16 13:11:51

How much will it cost to fix the fence?

Factor in how much easier it will make it to sell the house, how much time you will save not fannying around with deeds and arguing the toss, how much trouble/annoyance a pissed off neighbour is, etc and ask yourself:

Is this a hill worth dying on?

Your neighbour will not mend the fence. Once you've sold the house, you never have to see her again.

cameronspieface Fri 01-Jul-16 13:15:45

tiger - yes I'm sort of swaying towards that at the moment. I don't think it would be ruinous to fix the fence. I just don't want that as an "admission" that House 2 is responsible for it. I'm probably overthinking!

The buyers actually haven't mentioned the fence. It's possible they haven't noticed the sagging, as we've currently got a trellis braced against a plant pot holding it up grin but how they could fail to notice that I'm not sure!

Hackedabove Fri 01-Jul-16 13:17:12

We had this sort of situation with our neighbours, we thought it was theirs and offered to go halves, a few years later when it had really died (and quotes to replace had gone up) they wanted us to prove it was theirs. Solicitor had destroyed our documents to do with the house and the deeds don't show it. We got some money out of them but we paid more than half.

Loads of people said just pay for it all, but it was the principle.

Would you be prepared to go halves?

rosiecam Fri 01-Jul-16 13:25:56

I've had a similar thing where custom in the road turned out to be different from the deeds. I ended up paying for one side and then splitting the cost on the other. Decided it was not worth falling out with otherwise good neighbours in my case.

TBH in your situation as you are selling I would go ahead and pay 100% myself. But you might want to tell H3 that this is the only reason you have done it, so you don't land your buyers in the same position that the previous owner put you into.

rosiecam Fri 01-Jul-16 13:28:08

Oh OTOH if the buyers haven't mentioned the fence I would leave it! Just saw that.

applecart09 Fri 01-Jul-16 13:35:14

I had/have the same issue. Previous owners had assumed we were responsible for the right side, but upon checking the deeds, I found that we were responsible for the left.

I contacted the council who also confirmed, but my next door neighbour has refused to fix her fallen fence - which she claims is mine.

Three years down the line, I have not come to a resolution, but the gap through her garden means my DC is easily able to run over to collect any balls/toys that have accidentally been thrown over (which she does not mind - saves a ring at the door)...

sorry no solution, but just to say that it is a pretty common problem!

nannybeach Fri 01-Jul-16 13:51:02

Our deeds dont say which fence, other houses have, our last was the left, a=AND we ended up doing the right as well! Same in our previous house! Frankly, if its not going to cost too much I would do the side to no;3 make sure you keep any invoices, presumably by now new owners are aware which side is their responsibility, you dont want to put new owners off at this stage. Our neighbours have taken responsibility for our left side, but its all bodged and falling to bits, and different heights, so, funnily enough, OH is having a week a/l and doing the top part next to our house, because we have dug out the awfull soil, and plants, are putting in new top soil, (and lots of new plants!) so he said it made sense to replace the rotten fence beforehand.

GabsAlot Fri 01-Jul-16 14:13:26

i wouldnt do it -sorry but an agreement made years ago that u werent told of isnt worht anything

my right fence was coming down which im responsible for so i fixed it if the left came down up to the neighbour but i wouldnt fix it just because they think they shouldnt

why should u pay

toldmywrath Fri 01-Jul-16 14:19:07

Good fences make good neighbours- or so the saying goes. This helps you not a jot OP- I'd just leave it to the new owner to sort out.

cameronspieface Fri 01-Jul-16 16:30:49

Thanks for the advice everyone - shall discuss with DH this evening! We're planning on talking to her about it once we've exchanged, so if anything juicy happens at the beginning of the week I'll let you know grin

OutToGetYou Fri 01-Jul-16 18:33:32

No, the deeds show the boundary, not the fences. You can take the fence down if you want.

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 01-Jul-16 18:54:27

Out I'm a property lawyer ffs. The deeds will often say who is responsible for maintaining the fences, and if the plans show t marks they are specifically to show who has to maintain which boundary feature.

user1467101855 Fri 01-Jul-16 19:05:36

Why do you need to do or say anything about it? You aren't responsible for the fence, and you're selling the house. Just do nothing.

Sunshineonacloudyday Fri 01-Jul-16 23:29:56

She is trying to hustle you she don't want to pay for the fence. She is talking Bollocks. I had my fence done and he told me that its the left and the bottom of the fence. He is not allowed to touch the right fence because it doesn't belong to us. Contact the council and make them aware that you're neighbour is neglecting her fence. Get a solicitor involved or leave it up to the new house owner. Don't let her mug you off.

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