Neighbours boundary dispute!

(99 Posts)
Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 19:49:11

We're set to complete on a house we're buying next week.

The elderly neighbours have tended the garden for 40 years and there was no fence when in first went on the market. We explained a fenc ewould need to go up before we bought it, there were only to obliging and offered to do it themselves.... Only problem is it is about 8 inches over the boundary.... I have put pics on my profile.

I spoke to them today and they are adamant that is where the boundary was, I don't believe them. They have built over their whole garden with sun houses and want a bit of flowerbed.

They got pretty shirty with me so I have now left it to the solicitor. DH says I am being ridicuous and we should let them have it but it works out as a bout 3k of garden! AIBU?

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 19:55:04

can't see pics . Was it you who raised the issue before as ndn had effectively commandeered 3 gardens ? If so why on earth did you trust them to put a fence where it should go ?

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 19:56:11

Yes, that was us. They promised to put it along the boundary line... Pics on now

Trifle Tue 09-Jul-13 19:57:42

I'm astonished that they agreed to put a fence up, they are not legally obliged to do so.

BellaVita Tue 09-Jul-13 19:58:17

You need to make your profile public first. Cannot see the pics.

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 19:58:47

Can't click on your name !

TeamEdward Tue 09-Jul-13 19:59:25

Can't access your profile.

YANBU to want all of your garden. I would ask your solicitor to get it sorted before exchanging. Their prob if they have no garden. But, I'd accept that you may need to pay for the new fence, and place it on your side of the boundary.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:00:05

I've set it to public now blush

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:01:04

We'd be happy to pay and put fence up as long as we had our garden. DH thinks I'm over reacting

Goodadvice1980 Tue 09-Jul-13 20:01:31

Defo sticks to your guns on this one!!

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 20:03:07

looks a pretty ropey fence anyway ! Do the deeds mark it more clearly ?

annh Tue 09-Jul-13 20:04:52

Why are you dealing with this? You don't own the house yet so surely it is up to the current owners to sort this out with the neighbours before completion? I'm also unclear why the neighbours agreed to put up a fence? Presumably the integrity of the boundary could have been maintained without them necessarily having to fence it? Although maybe they agreed so they could steal some ground at the same time?!

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:04:54

It's a horrible fence but it will do for the moment as they have a pond and we have DC.

manticlimactic Tue 09-Jul-13 20:05:42

That fence looks awful! Check the deeds and get a measuring tape out.

Do you really want to live next to these people. I sense future trouble

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:06:24

I am pretty sure it was so they could decide where it went, they seemed very keen to be the ones to put it up!

Our solicitor needs to contact their solicitor (deceased estate).

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:07:49

There is no land registry on the house which muddies the waters further.. There is a pretty clear boundary though!

TimeofChange Tue 09-Jul-13 20:07:54

I think it may cause problems in the future if you want to sell.

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 20:07:59

Agree the problem should be passed back to vendor's' solicitor to resolve, before exchange. You need secure and definitive boundary fences. They can't just claim it and hope no one realises !

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 20:08:54

There must be some LR documents or covenants demarking the plots.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:09:59

Our solicitor is going to check the neighbours land registry.

Do you think they are way over, judging by the photos?

ImNotBloody14 Tue 09-Jul-13 20:10:34

if I remember correctly you were warned on your last thread that this would happen. why are you going ahead with this house buy? it has recipe for disaster written all over it- as you are now finding out.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:12:13

They seem to thikn it is where the original fence was hmm and DH thinks I'm overreacting which is why I'm a bit unsure whether this is ok or not.

HansieMom Tue 09-Jul-13 20:15:42

Get it surveyed! Get corners marked! It is not expensive at all here in the States. I think it cost us less than $300 and we have five acres.

I want every square inch of my land. I treasure it.

HansieMom Tue 09-Jul-13 20:17:17

So they want a bit of flower bed? Tough shit. Should have thought of that when they built all over their land.

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 20:19:22

Can you be sure the fence you are comparing it to is actually correct though. Really, make it not your problem , that is why you pay a solicitor to resolve such issues. However, given the houses are attached and you may need to get along with the neighbours is it really worth either the anxiety of trying to do so in the wake of raising this or angst of an argument and delays before purchase.

Plomino Tue 09-Jul-13 20:20:20

Do you really really need to buy THIS house ? Surely there must be others just as good , bearing in mind the property market at the moment . I really think if you plough on and carry this purchase through , you are setting yourselves up for years and YEARS of aggravation , that will eventually sour the enjoyment of your home, no matter how convenient for schools , or work , no matter how lovely it is . Because it might be just a fence , but I guarantee there will be other issues that come to light , when its too late to back out . And if you do have a dispute with them , and you decide to sell because you can't stand it any more , you'll have to declare it , which won't exactly enamour the place to other buyers .

Find somewhere else , while,you can, if you can .

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 20:21:55

The vendor should pay for a surveyor if needs be to ensure the plot they are selling is as described in the deeds. They could agree to move it , you exchange only to discover it has shifted back again on completion . Then where does that leave you ? Ill feeling all round.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:29:27

I may contact one of the vendors directly (I have his number) and ask him to go and talk to them as he is friendly with them.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:30:19

I am surprised that they could be so cheeky actually, I feel a bit odd about the whole thing.

LIZS Tue 09-Jul-13 20:31:42

No don't get involved . They have a vested interest in getting the property sold and without a legal intermediary whatever they say to you means very little.

HansieMom Tue 09-Jul-13 20:32:16

Lunatic, the survey TELLS where the line is. Legally. I do not understand what the 'agreement' thing is.

Comfyseat Tue 09-Jul-13 20:32:37

Don't touch with a barge pole. They are clearly mad and you don't want to be living next door to them

Consider yourself lucky that you found out now!!
Sorry!!

Squitten Tue 09-Jul-13 20:36:34

If you REALLY want this house (and do bear in mind that you have advance warning about your neighbours now!), then you should avoid making this your problem.

Simply contact their solicitor via yours or the estate agent and tell them what's happened. Tell them that you won't be exchanging until it's sorted out. End of. Boundary disputes like this could come back to bite you when you are selling it later on!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greenfolder Tue 09-Jul-13 20:50:19

It looks like a terraced house? Surely it just runs from between the windows ie the position of the internal wall in a straight line down the garden. Eight inches of garden is a lot in this sort of garden

starfishmummy Tue 09-Jul-13 20:56:00

I think you need expert advice. I am sure that I have read that if the (neighbours) havee been using that land for a certain number of years and it has never been questioned, they may have acquired rights over it.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 20:56:26

Yes it is a Victorian terrace and to me the boundary is pretty clear. DH have decided I may have a point and that he will just move the fence, he is ruder braver than I am when it come to neighbourly disputes

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 21:04:38

Well that, or put up a new one in the correct position.

Bingooo Tue 09-Jul-13 21:06:39

If there is no way of enforcing a boundary line, then we may as well put it where it should be, in line with the original concrete divider. What can they do apart from take us to court?

HansieMom Tue 09-Jul-13 21:16:06

Wow, Lunatic, very interesting. And unsettling! Thanks for clarification.

Not that our laws here are any guarantee. When we moved in, neighbor had just completed a barn. He calls it a barn, it is just a shed like a long garage. We were told he had gotten permission to place it five feet way rather than the required ten feet. We had land surveyed. It is 19.5 inches away! But nothing could be done as a year had passed.

And furthermore, it is bright red! We planted big conifers. And installed a fence.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JackNoneReacher Tue 09-Jul-13 21:44:22

YANBU to make sure this is done properly and I think its important to get it done properly from the start and make it clear you will be having your garden no matter what strange set up they've had until now.

Not sure if I would be brave enough to move there though. They sound like trouble. No wonder they were so keen to get a fence up!!

Inertia Tue 09-Jul-13 21:44:59

When you say you are set to complete, does that mean you've already exchanged contracts?

If you haven't exchanged contracts, I'd strongly suggest (disclaimer: not a solicitor!) that your solicitor and their solicitor work together to get a cast-iron agreement in place and in the contract about exactly where the boundary is. The problem is that it's very difficult to enforce boundaries anyway, so any dispute will ending up costing thousands.

I think you either accept the fence or buy a different house.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 09-Jul-13 21:45:25

I'd avoid this house like a prossie with the clap.

Armadale Tue 09-Jul-13 22:08:08

I can not for the life of me see why you are involved in this when you don't yet own the property???

This issue needs to be resolved between the existing owners before you buy the house

OR

they need to give you a massive discount if they can't sort it out...

{Incidentally, if there hasn't been a fence there and they have been tending/enjoying the flowerbed uninterrupted for enough years without anyone stopping them then legally now they WILL own the land regardless of where the boundary is on the registered plans/deeds. (google the law of 'adverse possession')

Speaking as someone who has had a ten year boundary dispute going on against their will (property developer bought disused land behind us with no access to a road and then has spent ten years trying to make us give up land so he can get planning permission by literally making up stuff and sending is hysterical letters threating to sue and cost us thousands but never actually does so, meaning their is no ending in sight..)

Why you are choosing to volunteer yourself for one I have no idea, but I guarantee it won't be the easy resolution you might think it is.

ImNotBloody14 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:08:09

hmm

Hissy Tue 09-Jul-13 22:16:38

What is the precedent in thé rest of the street? There will be your 'evidence'.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sorry, but I seriously wouldn't touch this house with a barge pole :S

Out of interest, is there a reason you are so set on a house that is so problematic? It just seems like so much trouble when there are so many houses out there to choose from!

MidniteScribbler Wed 10-Jul-13 00:03:26

I foresee years of aibu threads ahad if you buy this house. You are just asking for trouble.

If you're buying it because it is cheap, then you need to ask yourself why.

pinkhalf Wed 10-Jul-13 00:21:50

Yes, you need to love this house beyond all reason to buy it with a boundary dispute in progress. It's like buying years of stress. It never gets resolved.

These disputes take tens of years to resolve in court. Costs a fortune in legal fees. You can't go out into the garden at the same time because they are out and making comments about you. Then shirty letters from their lawyers to yours. Snarling at each other in the street. You can't sell the property because you have a boundary dispute officially and have to declare you have an ongoing dispute with the neighbours. You pray for the neighbours to die but curiously the conflict seems to sustain them and their cheeks grow rosy.

Eventually the cat dies in mysterious circumstances and you find yourself burning their effigies on Bonfire Night.

At one point your husband participates in a wrestling match with a pensioner in front of the rest of the neighbours.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 10-Jul-13 00:30:23

pink if that's based on personal experience, hmm
If not, gringringringrin

Nanny0gg Wed 10-Jul-13 08:31:45

This house purchase was never going to end well.

OP, in light of your previous thread, why on earth did you let them put up the fence? Or rather, why were they given permission by the current owners to put up the fence?

You are clearly going to have on-going problems with them.

CookieLady Wed 10-Jul-13 08:57:03

Op, as stated on your previous thread, do not buy this house. It's not going to end well. As pointed out earlier y others it will only cause untold stress and possibly you'll incur ridiculous legal costs to rectify this boundary dispute. Is this house really worth all that aggro?

fluffyraggies Wed 10-Jul-13 09:01:29

Tell them that you won't be exchanging until it's sorted out. End of. Boundary disputes like this could come back to bite you when you are selling it later on!

This with bells on.

Please please please don't be so blinkered by the determination to aquire this house that you blunder on into this.

Once you legally own the house OP, this problem will be all down to you and the neighbours to sort out. It could well make the house unsellable if there is unresolved dipute. YOU could end up being the vendor needing to deal with the neighbours and their damn fence before you can sell the house. Think about it!

right now you are in the wonderful position of being able to tell the vendor that you wont complete until it's sorted. And you can mutter about the fact that no other potential buyer would take it on as it stand either (if they are in their right mind) - so they need to do it asap before you pull out.

annh Wed 10-Jul-13 09:18:38

The OP still hasn't explained why she feels the need to get involved in this dispute over a house which she doesn't yet own. And I'm not sure she has confirmed whether contracts have been exchanged? Also, where is the previous thread people are referring to - which presumably has more information? I can't find anything else under this user name.

StanleyLambchop Wed 10-Jul-13 09:29:19

I think the OP said in the other thread that this house was the only one they could afford- it appears they are now finding out the reason why it was cheap.................

limitedperiodonly Wed 10-Jul-13 09:29:45

Agree with all the people who are telling you to walk away.

We had a boundary dispute with a neighbour who not only wanted our property because of money, but believed she also had a moral right to it because it wasn't fair that we had more room than she did and she'd have done so much more with it than we were doing. And she was nicer than us. Yes, there was a strong element of childishness to go with the obvious greed.

These people sound the same. They've been tending the garden, they were there before you, so in their heads, that makes it theirs.

They probably don't have squatters' rights. Briefly, you have to be using a piece of land, knowing it's not yours, for about 10 years, excluding everyone else, including the owner.

It doesn't count if you enter only at the invitation of the owner. Or, as my nutty neighbour believed, you manage to trick your way on like a vampire whose been invited over the threshold by the dupes next door on the pretext of wanting to look at her guttering, and has taken pictures of herself by their water feature, proving it m'lud hmm.

I know that because it formed part, but not the only part, of the dispute. Because of a solicitor's balls-up when we bought, our garden didn't belong to us - or anybody. We found it out but because the garden was entirely enclosed by high walls and the only access was through our house, stupidly didn't get around to doing anything about it.

She discovered that through poring over the Land Registry and thought it was a legal magic bullet which would result in us handing over the keys not only to the garden but to the entire fucking house. Yes, she's that mad.

She sold up after it was settled in our favour at a property tribunal. If I'd have been a stranger her behaviour at the tribunal would have been funny. But it was me and it was four days of worry plus two week's nervous wait for the decision. That was on top of six years of expense and stress. Oh and trespass, malicious calls to the police, damage and petty theft.

There was a period of about two years where DH and I talked about that mad fucking bitch every day. I didn't want to meet her in the street and I'm not a wimp. It's four years on and if I see someone who looks like her it makes me look twice.

Of course, your neighbours might be entirely different to mine. But the signs are there wink

You can see by the length of my post that I'm still working through my issues grin

quoteunquote Wed 10-Jul-13 09:33:25

this will save you a lot of time, stress and money

If you put the situation on there then you will get the correct advice, if you have a read under boundaries and fences you will get an idea of what the issues are in correct the problem.

LIZS Wed 10-Jul-13 09:52:55

Can't find original thread - maybe it was in Chat and has been removed ? But basically gardens of 3 adjacent properties seem to have been without separation for a long time and middle owner has used all 3 as if their own for hanging out washing etc. OP wants to buy and has children/dog so needs fence. Whose responsibility it is seems very vague but solicitor should be able to find out from Vendor and ensure the demarkation is clear. OP cannot put fence on the "correct" position without either destroying ndn's one or trespassing ! And even then not until she has completed .

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 10:08:28

a) which property does that boundary belong to ...it will either be in the ownership of your property or theirs?
b) why are you even contemplating moving a fence that is in the wrong place. Boundaries are a legal matter, not arbitrary, and the solicitor should not be allowing the purchase to go ahead with a question hanging over exactly what you are buying. Any decision to move the fence (if you do go ahead with purchase) would need to be backed by formal identification of the actual boundary, plus a letter from solicitor advising that the fence will be moved.... and why. Otherwise you are escalating a neighbour war.
c) why are you engaging with the neighbours at this stage - full stop. Until you own, any discussions of this kind should be between existing owners or legals.

The whole thing is a tangled mess, and you would be well advised to walk away if you have not yet exchanged. If you have exchanged, I would be asking strong questions to your solicitor who allowed exchange to proceed before boundary queries were resolved.

annh Wed 10-Jul-13 10:15:31

MumnGran says wise things and asks all the questions I still want to know the answers to! Thank you to whomever clarified the background about the three gardens without fences etc.

quoteunquote Wed 10-Jul-13 13:39:30
Hissy Wed 10-Jul-13 15:25:21

If she's exchanged already, not that easy to walk away, is it?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LIZS Wed 10-Jul-13 15:31:44

No decent solicitor would have exchanged with this issue still rumbling, surely ? Maybe vendor agreed for the ndn to de-mark it as such.

ZenGardener Wed 10-Jul-13 15:44:39

I wondered how you were getting on <stalker alert>

I have your last thread on my watch list but OP has name-changed.

No advice though but I hope your solicitors can sort it out before you move.

thewizenedone Wed 10-Jul-13 16:35:27

Just a thought if you are buying with a mortgage may be wise to check it doesnt affect things? I too would avoid but assume you have exchanged which complicates issue. Trouble is as deceased estate owner -obviously- cant shed light on boundary

Hope you resolve soon

AnneTwacky Wed 10-Jul-13 17:16:38

I'd just say you want the boundary moving to where it should be before you exchange.

Although I agree I think this is a sign of future problems.

bobbywash Wed 10-Jul-13 17:28:01

People do buy houses and then start to claim that the neighbour has nicked their land. Whilst you may get legal expenses insurance with your house policy it will not cover this. However the mortgage co will want to be certain of the boundary of the property that they are lending money on.

If you take it on, knowing there is an issue with the boundary, then as has been said 3 things:-
(i) why would you do that
(ii) Boundary disputes are expensive and take years average cost (in this area - South) is in excess of £50K per side and loser pays other sides costs
(iii) Why would you do that

HansieMom Wed 10-Jul-13 18:01:27

I looked at fence pictures again. It is obvious where houses meet, siding is different. Cement divide is there.

But I too think there are other houses. Why buy a headache that will bother you for years?

I'd be tempted to let it lie. I know I'm a wimp. A similar thing happened to us when our neighbours found some people to put up a fence cheaply after it blew down in the wind. They had universally pissed off everyone else in the street and we were the only ones left who talked to them (they were appalling people! Hoists judgy pants). We decided to leave it in the end. After a weeks of quietly boiling internally we forgot about it. We lost about half a foot along the whole length of garden but it honestly wasn't worth it. They would have made our lives hell.

Please say you haven't exchanged.

culturemulcher Wed 10-Jul-13 19:29:45

Fully agree with everyone who says DO NOT GET INVOLVED. I've studied many boundary disputes over the years and they never, ever, end well.

I think you've gone too far already, especially considering that the house isn't actually yours yet. Take a deep breath and either give in gracefully or find another house to buy.

You do not want to start life in your new house already involved in a dispute with your new neighbours. Really.

BMW6 Wed 10-Jul-13 19:33:13

She says they are completing next week so have already exchanged?

culturemulcher Wed 10-Jul-13 19:34:45

Faint hope they're exchanging and completing on the same day?

SugarPasteGreyhound Wed 10-Jul-13 19:48:05

OP you were categorically told on the last thread that you would be a fool to buy this house. Sorry if this sounds harsh but I have no sympathy for you; you went into this KNOWING that the NDN had issues about the boundary. Despite lots of posters warning you that you'd be opening a huge can of worms and setting yourself up for a nightmare, you've gone ahead anyway.

In view of the above, I'm struggling to understand why you are posting about it again. What's the point of asking for advice if you aren't going to listen to it?

flamingtoaster Wed 10-Jul-13 19:49:20

We pulled out of a house purchase having had the survey done when we discovered there was an unexercised right of way across the bottom of the garden. Rights of way issues and boundary disputes always end badly and cost a lot of money.

As others have said this must be cleared up before the legal process is completed otherwise it will fester for years.

SugarPasteGreyhound Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:13

Sorry, reading that back it does sound quite blunt! I'm not trying to be nasty, but neighbour disputes are horrific and can drag on for years. Why would you set yourself up for all this stress and hassle?

The house looks lovely BTW, but there are other lovely houses out there, with nice neighbours instead of bloody loons.

Bingooo Wed 10-Jul-13 19:51:28

No haven't exchanged, planning to do both on the same day, which is now Monday. Met up with vendors at house today and they have spoken to neighbours who say fine, put the fence back where it should be... Going to do this at w/e and then exchange & complete on Monday!

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 19:56:13

sugar ...I am just at a loss to understand why a solicitor would have allowed the exchange to go ahead with a boundary query in pace, so would love to hear if the previous thread explained that?

It seems so unlikely....unless OP specifically instructed them that they were not concerned by the issue. Even then .....

Just odd peculiar not a clear picture.

MumnGran Wed 10-Jul-13 19:57:13

Massive X post OP ...and apologies for thinking you had disappeared.
Does your solicitor expect to have clarified the boundary line by MOnday?

diddl Wed 10-Jul-13 20:08:05

I had no idea that you could put up a fence on a property that you don't even own yet!

BMW6 Wed 10-Jul-13 20:14:55

they have spoken to neighbours who say fine, put the fence back where it should be.

So the NDN admit trying to steal your land ....... does not bode well for future relations.

SybilRamkin Wed 10-Jul-13 20:21:32

Well done for getting it all sorted OP! Enjoy your new home.

SugarPasteGreyhound Wed 10-Jul-13 20:22:00

If you are determined to go ahead then fgs get it written into your house docs that the ndn have agreed to the fence going back up and where the boundary line for it is.

I think you are bonkers and would be very surprised if that's the end of it.

500internalerror Wed 10-Jul-13 20:24:07

I can't see the photos on phone, and I haven't read earlier thread. But my initial reaction is of surprise that anyone would be so bothered about 8 inches?! Unless it means the house 'overhanging' into next door & being inaccessible for maintenance? And why would the neighbours take a punt on gaining 8 inches; is it worth the hassle?!

HansieMom Thu 11-Jul-13 00:03:13

It is sounding better.

But the neighbor said, fine, put it back where it should be? Where it SHOULD BE?

How do you put a fence atop a concrete barrier? Seriously. Do you remove concrete where you need to plant a post? Can you get a fence company in to do it?

Possibly you could put post beside the concrete, then put the horizontal 2x4 on the concrete side. Then attach fence boards. If you got on neighbor's side you could nail to the horizontal boards and then fence would be atop the concrete. Good luck with that though.

Hissy Thu 11-Jul-13 07:26:16

DO NOT exchange without resolving this.

Get the land registered, the boundaries agreed NOW.

LIZS Thu 11-Jul-13 07:32:09

Are you going to physically check its position (and photograph) before the transaction goes through ? tbh their promises mean nothing.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 11-Jul-13 07:44:06

Even if you move it at the weekend, if the fence is that easily moved, what is to stop them moving it back again after you've left?

annh Thu 11-Jul-13 08:03:54

WHO is putting the fence back "where it should be"? Hopefully not you, in a house which you don't yet own, on a boundary which is not yet agreed. Honestly, this just gets worse.

diddl Thu 11-Jul-13 10:06:42

Why isn't the current owner sorting it out rather than the ndn?

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