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Neighbour burnt fence

(17 Posts)
Jujo2011 Tue 02-Apr-13 22:10:10

So am sat watching tv, interrupted by a HAMMERING on front door, bloke from two doors down, my garden is on fire!!! Fire engine outside and everything!!! Basically after speaking to firemen seems my neighbour has been burning "stuff in a burn barrel" and thought it was out, gone in the house, seems it wasn't out and the fence adjoining our property has caught fire.

The fire is now out and fire crew disappeared, but have not seen neighbours... They stayed in house!? While fire crew and everyone was there, I just wanted to check, who is legally responsible for replacing this fence? (Not to mention my two year olds sand pit, which is also destroyed!) to be honest I would've thought they would've been out and said something without me having to go round, am giving them the benefit of doubt - maybe their shook up? But think will go round after work tomorrow.... Surely their responsible for replacement?

Please can anyone advise? This fence needs replacing as soon as really, as I have a dog and a two year old. And don't have the money to replace the fence.... I own my house, whereas I believe next door is council, will council replace fence? Any help appreciated.

montage Tue 02-Apr-13 22:29:19

I can't legally advise you but who does the fence belong to? If you paid for it or it came with the house it would seem to be your neighbour's responsibility to replace it.

If they paid for it I guess it's their choice (I reckon they would still owe you a sandpit!)

If the council, it may depend on their policy.

Our council told us that if a window broke they would board it up but not replace the glass for example - that would be up to us. Basically they would things safe that were damaged not replace them.

It does seem poor that they have not come to talk to you but perhaps as you said they are in shock (/embarrassed!)

Collaborate Tue 02-Apr-13 22:31:44

If you set afire in your garden you owe a duty of card to your neighbours not to let it get out if control. If they won't remedy what's been damaged you can take them to (small claims) court. Look at your household insurance to see if it covers legal fees.

queenofthepirates Tue 02-Apr-13 22:50:44

Maybe a card through their door explaining your sandpit's been trashed and would they consider replacing it please? Just friendly perhaps but opens the door for them to resolve the situation in a non confrontational manner.

Jujo2011 Wed 03-Apr-13 05:51:00

Morning all, thank you for your replies, I will check my house insurance policy see if covers legal aid, but am reluctant to speak to my house insurance in case it affects my premiums, which I really don't want to happen!

The fireman I spoke to last night said it was their fault, and as they have been called out, I assume they must keep record? Therefore we know was there fault? Maybe this will have bearing on it....

May well be embarrassment why they haven't been round, they also stayed in house while fire crews etc were there putting fire out!!! Don't know if relevant, but they are an older couple who live in the house. So think will call round after work

Longdistance Wed 03-Apr-13 06:09:39

You need to find out who's fence it is first.
Years ago you could get hold of a copy of your deeds, and it would say,the left or right fence was our fence and responsibility.
I reckon your neighbours were embarrassed that it went that far, and was cowering inside.
He should replace the sandpit, and I have a feeling the fence will be fixed by the council quickly if it is theirs.
Wait til tomorrow to find out what happens.

Longdistance Wed 03-Apr-13 06:11:08

Also, make sure you take plenty of pictures as evidence of the damage, incase it goes to court.

Eskino Wed 03-Apr-13 06:14:50

They should replace the fence, of course! ask them if theyre insurance will cover it as it needs doing straight away.
If it is council owned property, the likelihood is that the council will replace the fence and bill the tenants as it was started deliberately.

The 10yo ds of someone I know started a small fire in her council house which got out of hand and burned most of the house down. The council rehoused them and fixed up the damage, then billed her, she doesn't have household insurance shock it was 1000's.

Jujo2011 Wed 03-Apr-13 07:06:49

When we brought the house the deeds say everything to the left is our responsibility, this fence is on the left? So is mine I guess? Ive always just maintained the fence all way round, painting etc. As needed a secure fence with little one and the dog. Never expected it to be burnt down!

Am a little annoyed they didnt have decency to pop their head out of door last night, embarrassed or not. I dont really know them, polite but dont chat, but they must know ive got a toddler and the dog. Hopefully they will speak to council today (if is a council house, am sure is tho, as seen council van outside when they were having windows replaced last year) so hopefully by time I go round after work (little after 6) they will have already put wheels in motion for a replacement.

Collaborate Wed 03-Apr-13 09:10:00

It's not the councils responsibility to replace. As you say, you own the fence. If they'd set fire to your car you wouldn't expect the LA to get you a new one.

Jujo2011 Wed 03-Apr-13 09:52:01

I'm not saying it is the council's responsibility to replace, if it is a council house, and as Eskino said, councils sometime repair damage and bill the tenant, so the neighbours may be waiting to speak to me until they have spoken to whomever they need to speak to - be it the council or B&Q to buy replacement fence.

But surely it isn't mine responsibility to replace fence when it was the neighbour being negligent which caused the fence to be damaged in the first place. no if my car had of been burnt I wouldn't expect LA to replace, but I would expect a decent human being who caused the damage to sort it out.... if someone crashes into you on road, and the fault is theirs you would claim on their insurance surely!

I simply came on here to find out where I stood before going to see neighbours after work to ask them to replace the fence that has been damaged by their negligence.

LIZS Wed 03-Apr-13 09:58:30

Speak to your insurer - they can advise whether they can reclaim form culprit.

Collaborate Wed 03-Apr-13 11:43:00

If I were you I'd want to replace the fence myself and get them to pay. That way you retain control of the process and won't be fobbed off by them getting the cheapest materials in.

WestieMamma Wed 03-Apr-13 15:13:25

I'm not saying it is the council's responsibility to replace, if it is a council house, and as Eskino said, councils sometime repair damage and bill the tenant, so the neighbours may be waiting to speak to me until they have spoken to whomever they need to speak to - be it the council or B&Q to buy replacement fence.

I don't believe this is correct. The council may well repair damage done to their property and bill the tenant but I doubt they'll repair damage done yours as, unfortunately for you, it's nothing to do with them.

Good luck with talking to them later.

greenfolder Wed 03-Apr-13 19:41:40

They are responsible as they have been negligent. If they have insurance this should be covered under their public liability section on their contents policy. They will need to instigate the claim though. I dealt with a similar claim where the neighbours managed to burn down not just the fence but a summer house and most of their beautiful mature garden.

LandRegistryRep Thu 04-Apr-13 11:47:54

There are no hard and fast rules as to who is responsible for maintaining boundary features such as fences, hedges etc. People often think it is always the left or right when you look at the front of the property and/or it all depends on which side the fence posts are but this is not the case.

The registsred title may or may not refer to such matters but where they do it will often provide some specific indication. Our online FAQs helps to explain this in more detail

Understanding such matters and reaching an agreement is often the recommendation when replacing or repairing fences and may still apply even though in this case the fire issue comes into play.

Other posters have already given you their views and it is not something Land Registry can advise on I'm afraid. Trying to resolve it amicably though still applies as any other route can be costly, stressful and lead to future issues should you wish to sell the property and have to reveal 'the dispute' for example.

Hope that helps in some small way

Jujo2011 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:52:46

Thanks for the replies. We spoke to him last night, and his son was there, who has offered to replace/repair the fence this weekend, and replace the sandpit! So all sorted, hopefully! He seems genuine, and wants to do a good job, so we shall see.

I think he just panicked Tues night when the fire was happening, and didn't know what to do, or want to face anyone.

Thanks for all the replies.

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