who's responsible for this boundary wall?

(14 Posts)
WhatsForYeWontGoByYe Mon 10-Oct-16 14:04:04

I live at the 'top' end of a 1930s terrace that slopes downhill. So, imagine my neighbour's garden is at a lower level to ours. There is a short wall in between our garden and my neighbours', which extends upwards from the level of their patio (so, at a level below our garden) to about ankle height on our side. On top of the wall is a fence, with the posts facing the neighbours' side. My neighbour, who is in her 90s, has been hinting to me that she'd like to repair this wall and expects us to pay 50 per cent.

I feel fairly sure that, given the wall has been built up from her level, it must be on her property and therefore we're not responsible for it.

I've checked our title plans on Land Registry but they don't help.

Not sure how to proceed - any thoughts? We don't want to fall out with our neighbour, but equally don't want to pay for something which isn't our responsibility (and potentially set a precedent).

tictactoad Mon 10-Oct-16 14:11:37

I always understood that fence posts face the owners side and if that's the case the wall and all costs for it must be hers too.

As she's only hinting at the moment keep it vague and refuse to be drawn.

HereIAm20 Mon 10-Oct-16 16:05:12

When you say the title plans don't help are you looking for the right thing. It is usual to see a "T" marking the boundary you are responsible for. The T will be on the boundary facing in towards the property that is responsible for it.

From how you have described then it sounds as though it is her wall in the absence of anything else.

H1ghw4y61Revisited Mon 10-Oct-16 16:05:42

If you have a copy of the original lease from when the properties were built it will tell you if the boundaries are shared (in which case you may be liable for a proportion of the cost, or at least for the "maintenance/ repair of your "side"."Alternately if you can determine from your maps that the fence has been built inside her boundary then it is up to her, but as you may derive a benefit (ie a newer fence) you might want to offer to contribute a proportion of the cost as a gesture of goodwill and to maintain good neighbour relations. There are no legal rules about the side fence posts are on, the polite thing if it is your fence is to build so the "nice side" faces your neighbour, and also as a fence is supposedly a security thing it makes more sense to have the structural side facing your own property so that it can't be climbed from neighbouring properties, but otherwise I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from what way it faces.

SoupDragon Mon 10-Oct-16 16:09:50

Every house I have lived in has been responsible for the boundary to the left (standing on the pavement looking at your house). This is not always the case but it does seem very common. It should be on your deeds - if it's not on the plan, is it written in somewhere?

SoupDragon Mon 10-Oct-16 16:11:35

My boundary is coloured red on my plan I think - if you have a copy there is a chance this hasn't been coloured, is there a thicker line or one that looks like two lines?

akkakk Mon 10-Oct-16 16:13:04

on the basis that if they removed their wall / fence, your garden might collapse, I suspect it benefits both of you, so it is worth considering a shared maintenance...

FlamingoSnuffle Mon 10-Oct-16 16:29:07

I wish people would stop saying it is the boundary on your left. This is not correct and the only way to tell who is liable for the boundary is either marked on the title plan or the additional documents held by land registry that you can apply for which lay out covenants like not keeping pigs, and not hanging your washing out in your front garden.

The fence post thing is also not true, maybe in the 1950s where neighbours were nice to each other and everyone washed a car and cut their lawns like a synchronised event. But not now, if you are paying for the fence then surely you would want the nice side facing you.

Usually with sloping sites, and I say usually, the onus is on the person higher to stop their garden/house collapsing into or onto their neighbour's property.

You need to see if land registry hold any other documents, the title plan usually just has the building and the plot outlined in red. If there are no T markings or any written information then the responsibility is shared.

H1ghw4y61Revisited Mon 10-Oct-16 17:18:00

Yea, probably it's nicer to look at the boards but security wise it's harder to climb the board side of a fence. Just a thought though :D the point about the onus being on the property "on top" makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

wowfudge Mon 10-Oct-16 19:24:56

Flamingo is correct. If there is nothing on either title register or title planto indicate who owns the wall and fence or who is responsible for maintenance then the presumption is that it is shared and it is a party wall.

WhatsForYeWontGoByYe Mon 10-Oct-16 19:38:02

Ok, thanks teamsmile

The deeds are too old to show 'T' and 'H's or anything helpful, so looks like we'll have to pay half. Annoying given the wall must clearly be on her land (given it's at her level, not mine) but I take the point about not wanting our garden to encroach on hers. Still, the wall is basically holding up the weight of the hill - we may be at the top end of our terrace, but there's a whole other terrace going further uphill beyond us.

I'm just reluctant I guess because she has form for 'expecting' us to do what the previous owners of our house did (they re-fenced the end part of her garden when they were doing theirs, for example, so when we replaced our fence recently she was really put out when we didn't do hers too confused). She also took it really personally when we extended our loft, wanted her house surveyed and got annoyed when the builders couldn't coordinate their work with her holiday dates. We've tried really hard to be accommodating because she's elderly and not always well, but it's not always straightforward.

FlamingoSnuffle Mon 10-Oct-16 20:00:40

One of my previous houses was on a slope (hence some knowledge on the matter) except I was in the middle of a run, so each person was responsible for keeping their land from falling onto the land lower down.

It doesn't matter that the wall is built from her level, it is holding your garden up. Whoever is higher up than you is responsible for that land not sliding down into yours.

There can be issues with this to do with fence heights, ie my back garden fence was 6ft on one side and only 4ft on the other because it was 6ft from the neighbour's side.

If we wanted to increase the height we would have needed planning permission and the neighbour would have felt like their garden was a prison yard with 8ft high walls grin

It is shit when you have to pay for this sort of stuff but if it needs doing, it needs doing.

Toottoot22 Mon 10-Oct-16 20:16:26

Usually if the boundaries are walls, rather than fences, then the responsibility is shared. We live in a 1930s street with walls and all are shared.

SoupDragon Mon 10-Oct-16 22:06:07

I wish people would stop saying it is the boundary on your left

I wish people would learn to read properly.

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