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Neighbour dispute over boundary wall

(19 Posts)
redwineattheweekend Sun 23-Feb-14 13:17:27

Our wall blew over in the storms last week. It's our boundary and we weren't sure if it was a party wall or not. Neighbour insisted it wasn't but we obviously wanted to check. It's not a party wall, it's ours, but on our deeds it's not mentioned so we want to replace it with a fence. Neighbour is not happy with this suggestion. Neighbour has also got our deeds from the council, but they appear to be different and do mention the wall and that it needs to be maintained.

We've said that we will replace the boundary, but she wants us to do this immediately. The rest of the fence is awful and we want to replace the whole lot in one go. It will be a bit of work so DH needs to get time off work and the weather needs to get a bit better.

We offered to put up something temporary but she wasn't happy with that either and I'm not sure if financially that makes sense as we found out it's quite expensive and seems pointless for a few weeks.

So, my questions if anyone can help are:

1) are we unreasonable to ask her to wait for a few weeks until the weather is better to get it all repaired so it's done properly?

2) If she has the correct deeds would we have to repair the wall instead of replacing it with a fence?

KarenBrockman Sun 23-Feb-14 13:19:32

I would wait until the weather is better.

FryOneFatManic Sun 23-Feb-14 21:07:02

I may be wrong, but I thought it was the deeds on the Land Registry that count, not the deeds held by anyone else (eg council). May be worth seeing what Land Registry have.

fiverabbits Sun 23-Feb-14 21:13:00

Has the neighbour shown you the deeds ?

silverfingersandtoes Sun 23-Feb-14 21:25:04

FWIW I think your neighbours are the ones BVVU - nobody with any sense would do the work until these storms are over. I have just had to sort out the boundary walls of a house I am selling; my buyer's survey showed that it was unstable and the buyer was afraid of a long-drawn out expensive legal dispute over liability, as it was all party walls. In fact I know none of the adjoining neighbours are in a position to contribute so I had to just get the work done (after consulting them, obviously). It is not cheap. To demolish and remove the wall and put up a good strong fence to withstand the winds we get here cost me £4500. To rebuild it as a wall would have been more. This is an ordinary suburban bungalow not a country estate. Your neighbours could stamp their feet and shout as much as they like but I can't imagine that anyone would back them in insisting that you embark upon such costly work until there is no risk that you'll just have it to do again. Mad to even think of it shock

2plus1 Sun 23-Feb-14 21:27:48

Ask to see the deeds to confirm. It is very unusual to have a copy of someone else deeds and they don't usually come from the council. Get a copy of your own deeds and this will show what is stated for the boundary as well as provide useful info in the future. Def wait til better weather, cannot see she has any case against you for waiting.

FryOneFatManic Sun 23-Feb-14 21:35:24

That's the thing I was thinking about. If you own your house, why would the council have your deeds? Are you certain that the papers your neighbours has are actually genuine? Have you seen them?

breatheslowly Sun 23-Feb-14 21:48:02

Are you actually obliged to have a fence or wall, even if it is your boundary?

PigletJohn Sun 23-Feb-14 22:06:43

you can get a copy from the Land Registry, not the council. You can order and pay online. You can order your own, or your neighbour's or anyone else's if you feel like it.

Why not order it today?
be sure to use the GOV.UK website, not a scammer

PigletJohn Sun 23-Feb-14 22:09:19


nobody is under a legal obligation to maintain their garden wall or fence if they don't feel like it. Your neighbour can't make you. Old houses might have a covenant, but it can usually only be enforced by the landowner or developer, who is probably long dead and wouldn't care anyway.

Collaborate Sun 23-Feb-14 22:26:06

If in the past the owner of your home had to maintain a wall, that is called a positive covenant. The burden of such a covenant doesn't automatically pass when the property is sold. To get round this, a deed of transfer will usually contain a promise from the buyer to indemnify the seller in the event of a claim. Check your deeds again, and see if the transfer to you contained an indemnity re the positive covenant. If it contains no such provision, you can't be made to do anything. Your wall, your land. Even if it does contain an indemnity you'd be best seeking some advice from a property lawyer, as it may still be unenforceable by your neighbour.

redwineattheweekend Sun 23-Feb-14 22:34:13

Thanks for all the replies. Our deeds are from the land registry and don't mention the wall at all. There is a covenent stating that fences have to be maintained, which we've agreed to do, just on our time scale, not NDN! I'm going to see what council say this week. We only brought house a few months ago, so I would have thought we'd have more up to date info.

DH only saw her paperwork briefly and didn't want to let on that we had something different.

We're going to put in writing that we're fixing the boundary when the weather is better and she'll have to wait.

PigletJohn Sun 23-Feb-14 22:46:55

does your covenant say who has the right to enforce it?

redwineattheweekend Mon 24-Feb-14 21:11:55

Thanks piglet, no, we can't see who has the right to enforce any covenant.

Thanks Collaborate there is no reference to any positive covenant

We've been to the council and as people said they don't have deeds. She only showed my husband one paragraph which said about the wall. I really want to know what document she's got, but she's not exactly being friendly at the moment!

Are title deeds the only type of deed you can get for your house? DH seems to think that we only have deeds for the land and there are other deeds that relate to the house, but I think that there are only one set and they are from land registry.

greenfolder Mon 24-Feb-14 21:40:05

Is it an estate? Is there a residents association, committe or the like? We live on a 70s estate and the association deal with rules about keeping boudaries clear, no caravans etc? Could that make sense with regards to the paperwork she had? I think ours makes reference to keeping all walls, fences and hedges in good order, but would not dictate which you had.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Feb-14 23:23:46

was the ink still wet on your neighbour's document? perhaps she typed it herself.

Collaborate Mon 24-Feb-14 23:56:16

Is the property held under a long lease? Covenants in the lease won't necessarily be set out in the LR deeds but you're still bound by them.
A covenant to do something, like maintain a wall, is a positive covenant. The other type of covenants are restrictive ones, that prevent you doing things.
You need to check the deed of transfer you signed when you bought the property (if freehold). If it contained an indemnity given by you to the previous owner, you're effectively bound by it. If it's leasehold, you're bound by whatever the lease tells you to do, though it will also say who can enforce it.

ContentedSidewinder Tue 25-Feb-14 20:51:34

Agree with PigletJohn get a copy of her title deeds from Land Reg.

When we bought this house a few years ago we were given a copy of the title plan which literally indicated which house we were buying, we then had to get all the covenant stuff from land registry as a separate document.

Wall/fence wise, I wouldn't rely on anything someone else produced for me as I would want the official legal document from Land Registry re any instruction making you responsible for the wall/fence boundary <I may have had experience of this in the past where I ordered my neighbour's deeds to see if they matched mine because of a dispute>

Even if you are responsible for a fence or a wall there would be nothing in your deeds that would specify a time frame that it had to be repaired. We only had our fence repaired very quickly and jointly with our lovely new neighbours because they have dogs that got out when the fence came down unexpectedly.

ContentedSidewinder Tue 25-Feb-14 20:53:51

Also, scare yourself witless with the crazy that is the human race and have a look at the forums on gardenlaw I lived on this site for a while grin

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