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Finding out who owns a boundary fence

(16 Posts)
GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 12:50:46

Our one conversation with next door after buying the house they wanted the fence replaced and claimed it was our though they had replaced some panels they didn?t want us touching.

The fence seemed in o.k nick and we were flat broke and politely explained this ? no more conversations and lots of petty acts which we ignore.

We caught her recently deliberately causing minor damage to the fence. She has now cut down climbers from our side which had grown above the 4ft fence reducing our privacy by a surprising amount.

We probably don?t have the money for a new fence but need something immediate to give us some privacy.

How do we find out if the fence is ours? And how much is this likely to cost? Do they have to know we are trying to do this?

If it is ours what responsibilities do we have ? if we?re happy with it do we have to replace it to please them?

If we could scrap together money ? could we replace fence with taller one ? 6ft without their permission?

Would we need access to their property ? (we think this is unlikely to be given even if it was in their best interests ) to put fence in ? and how would we ensued things didn?t turn nasty ? withdrawing permission mid fitting or claiming that things have been damaged when they haven?t ect.

We think the best plan ? ie cheapest one giving instant privacy back would be a screen ? 2 meters - but it needs attaching to a fence.

If we can establish the fence belongs to us can we just get and do this to existing posts?

If we can?t establish this are we better off trying to put in fence posts in our garden ? this pushes up costs -

I?d appreciate any suggestions of how to find this stuff out ? thanks.

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 12:53:58

sorry about question marks - first time posting doesn't seem to like my keyboard.

helyg Wed 26-May-10 12:57:36

In every house we have lived in our fence has been the one on the left hand side of the house (if you were standing on the front doorstep looking out).

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Wed 26-May-10 13:00:28

Do you have your propertys land registry deeds? If you do it will show on there what boundries are yours.

If the fence is yours then you can attach a screen to it. I don't know what the legal position is if it's theirs.

If it is yours and you want to replace it and by doing that you need to stand/work on their property then you should ask their permission. They can't have their cake and eat it. If they want it properly replaced then they will have to accept you will need access on their property.

They're obviously a bit odd so I would probably just bite my tongue about the damage. It will just cause more ill feeling.

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 13:22:45

Thanks for the replies

hely - if that's true it might well be ours.

We do not have the deeds - they are with the Mortgage company and DH thinks we'd be charged to get a copy. He thinks we should use the money in a solution - which he's leaving me to find and cost out and figure out how to pay for.

He's annoyed but busy with work and away alot at minute - and alot of the odd behavior (not all) happens when I am by myself with kids.

We haven't said anything about damage but made sure she knew we were in the garden - she stopped and went in. I know why its happening she dislike us using our garden and our cat derrants are working at the moment and her cat is messing in her garden.

We just want to be left alone.

Pootles2010 Wed 26-May-10 13:52:28

When you bought the house and your solicitor did the searches, didn't he give you a copy? I'd ring and ask him for a copy if not.

If he won't do it or is chargeing you, try ringing mortgage company. It can't hurt to ask - they may well send you a copy for free.

Alternatively, you could ask the people on the other side of you if they know which fence is theres, then you can work it out.

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 14:06:08

Thanks Pootles2010 - I'll check through the docs we got - DH did say it was not in there - but how well he looked.

You right - if we at least ring the mortgage company we'll know if they do charge and what the cost would be.

and thank you for the suggestion about asking other neighbours - they do talk to us and if they don't know I do know a few other mothers down this street so one of them should know - I just hadn't thought of that confused.

Pootles2010 Wed 26-May-10 14:13:24

We had similar issue, my fil swore blind it was always the right hand side you owned - we own the left hand side, so no hard and fast rule i don't think.

whimsy Wed 26-May-10 14:20:03

I always thought it was the left, if you were looking out into your back garden confused

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 14:21:42

Given their attitude we probably do need to chase down any paper work before we attempt to do anything to the current fence rather than make assumptions.

I think DH would like to put another fence - even if we own the current one - so she can't damage the new screen - but it might prove to expensive and I know what ever we do it will be wrong with them.

Still a better idea where we stand can't hurt.


prh47bridge Wed 26-May-10 14:29:01

If your property is registered with the Land Registry, you can get the title plan from their website ( for £4. That should show you which fences belong to you. To get it, go to the website, click on Find a Property at the top of the page and fill in the details of your property. You will then be able to purchase a number of documents including the title plan.

If the fence is yours you can do pretty much what you like to it, although you need their permission if you go on their land. They can't force you to leave the panels they've replaced. Indeed, if it is yours they shouldn't have replaced the panels without permission (although they may have got permission from the previous owner).

If the fence is theirs you should leave it alone unless you get their permission for the work you want to do. You can't even paint the side facing your garden and you certainly can't attach a screen to the fence.

Your neighbours are only entitled to cut down plants that have strayed onto their side of the boundary. Even then, they can only cut the plants back to the boundary. Anything that is on your side of the boundary can't be touched. They may therefore have overstepped the mark by cutting down the climbers.

I hope you can sort this out but it sounds to me like you may have problems with these people.

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 14:30:16

Given whimsy answer I'm now wondering if it is worth asking the three differnt neigbours we know- maybe I'll get three different answers.

Also just read on a web site that not all title deeds state who owns which fence - hmm.

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 14:40:38

Thanks prh47bridge - that is great I'll check that website out.

The plants are ours and I suspect they have over stept the mark there - but there is little to be done now and I don't want to escalate any issues into a full blown dispute though they seem to keep trying to provoke one.

They have also painted the fence their side - all the fences looking into their garden are painted the same - so they may not know what they can and can't do.

The've already been up on our flat roof without our permission - worrying for us as its not the most stable of structures and they had no call to be there.

Thank you for the information.

Pootles2010 Wed 26-May-10 14:48:46

God they sound like a nightmare. I'm assuming that if it is their fence, and you want a new one - there's nothing to stop you erecting another one in your land, iyswim? We have this at the bottom of our garden - the fence at the bottom of garden is ugly, just cheap one i think, so we put another one up to make it look better.

LunaticFringe Wed 26-May-10 14:49:22

Message withdrawn

GardeningNovice Wed 26-May-10 14:58:44

The first time the property changed hands was when we bought it coming up to two years ago - build 1960 ish.

They leave us alone during winter but as soon as we start using the garden she starts up.

Once we moved in there were signs that dispite being a keen gardner the previous owner had stoped using the garden or tending to it - and had certaintly admitted defeat with the cats.

Looking more likely what ever happens with ownership we'll have to put fence posts up and attach screens to that.

Great. Thanks for all the input. smile

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