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Fencing/boundary issue, please help!

(13 Posts)
MrsHerculePoirot Thu 06-Nov-14 14:10:41

We are having our garden redone and as part of that new fencing all around. None of the boundaries belong to anybody, they are all joint responsibility I therefore assume. Our garden joins to our neighbours either side and we obviously spoke to both neighbours before replacing the fencing and they are both happy with this and the work. Our house backs onto two houses - one house is about three quarters of the way across us and the other house a quarter. When we looked at the fencing at the back, it appeared to all be double fenced so we (stupidly) assumed that the fence at the back of our garden was ours and on our property. This fence has now been replaced all the way across. However it turns out that it wasn't double fenced to he house that backs onto us a quarter, and it looks as if we have therefore replaced part of the fence that forms the boundary line and therefore a quarter of the fence in their back garden. They are not happy about this as their fence doesn't look the same all the way around. It doesn't make any difference, but at the back of their garden is all trees hiding the fencing from view.

I have apologised for not speaking to them and explained how the situation came about. Yesterday I suggested that we could perhaps ask our fencer to erect a fence across the back of their garden, immediately in front of the current fence/boundary line that would match the rest of their existing fences, and she seemed happy with this possible solution. Overnight however the lady has spoken to her husband and they don't want to do this and are suggesting that they just pull down the fence and put back up what they want, obviously this could end up going back and for forever which is ridiculous.

We can't rearly take up the whole fence and move it forward into our garden as there is a patio at the back of our garden and therefore not space for it to move forward. I don't know what w can do to resolve it, or whether legally they can force us to take that part of the nice back down and replace it with what was there (or similar to what was there)?

I feel such an idiot for not realising, we couldn't really see that part of the fence, bsck garden when we started hence us assuming it was the same as the majority of the fence/back of garden we could see.

Does anyone know the legalities of it, or where we could go from here to resolve it?

prettybird Thu 06-Nov-14 22:23:10

Which side were the boundary posts? I'm not an expert but I'm sure I've seen on similar previous "boundary" threads that that provides some guidance as to whom is responsible for a shared boundary fence.

Hope you manage to get it sorted.

Spickle Thu 06-Nov-14 23:41:27

Have you checked with Land Registry that neither you nor your neighbour is responsible for that boundary? If Land Registry confirm that nothing on the deeds indicate who is responsible, then you and your neighbour will have to come to a mutually agreeable decision, which may mean you will have to compromise for the sake of good relations.

MrsHerculePoirot Fri 07-Nov-14 11:18:13

I've looked at all the documents from the land registry and there is nothing there.

The fence posts were facing us - which would imply we were responsible, but from what I have read this isn't a law, more an etiquette!

Spickle Fri 07-Nov-14 22:36:27

Have you asked Land Registry to look at your neighbours documents? It sounds as though your neighbour thinks it is their responsibility. You do need to ascertain whether their deeds show the "t" on their side because if it does, they would be within their rights to ask you to take your fence down. Yes the fence post thing can be misleading, it is deemed considerate to have the "good" side facing the neighbour.

MrsHerculePoirot Sat 08-Nov-14 08:08:53

I have looked at all the documents there are no 't' markings on any of them. Our neighbour doesn't think it is their responsibility, they just are annoyed that we removed a fence panel and replaced with without talking to them (completely understandable), but as I said most of our fence at the back was double fenced and I thought that fence was on our property and they had their own fence behind ours (which it turns out they didn't).

From what I understand unless someone has proof of purchase/ownership then the fence isn't owned by anybody. The fence posts were facing into our garden so the suggestion would be that previous owners of our house put it up sometime.

The problem is we now have a patio that is right up to the fence, and the fence has concrete posts so moving the fence back into our garden a few inches isn't really easily feasible.

Fridayschild Sat 08-Nov-14 10:10:16

OP is right about the land registry. It won't necessarily show who owns the boundary. The boundaries shown on the Land registry maps are for guidance only, in the vast majority of cases.

There is a legal presumption about fence posts. At law you presume that you fence up to the edge of your land. This means the posts must be inside your land and hence the neighbour gets the smooth side. If the posts to your fence were on the neighbour's land they would be trespassing. However this is only a presumption which can be displaced by evidence. There's rarely any evidence... The Land Registry website has some useful information on boundaries and plans,which I think OP seems to have considered already.

Can the neighbours' old fencing be hung onto yours so that their fence looks the same? They will lose land and people can feel very strongly about this. If you can afford it I think you might need to pay them for the land. There's an infamous quote from an old House of Lords case that the parties in neighbour boundary disputes would be better off had they papered the disputed strip of land with £50 notes to settle the dispute than paid for legal fees. Still true today, sadly

MrsHerculePoirot Sat 08-Nov-14 19:30:37

The old panel has gone, it was rotting and falling apart at the bottom as our previous owners had a sort of compost pile up against it. We have offered to fence all the way across their back garden with new fencing that matches their old fencing directly in front of the (now mismatched) fencing that is there. We have also offered just to fence one panel in front of this new fence to match their old one so it will look the same across, but this new fence would come forward a couple inches so it wouldn't be entirely straight if that makes sense. We also offered to get some of that bamboo roll stuff for the width of their back garden instead so that everything was hidden, but from their point of view it looks the same. Tbh I don't actually think they can see much of their fence as they have all big holly and other evergreen trees and bushes all the way along the back, but those were three things I suggested that we would pay for in order to resolve the situation. They said they weren't interested in any of them, they just keep saying they want us not have changed the fence... They haven't yet contacted us again, so I am hoping they maybe have decided they aren't that bothered... <hopeful>

ImTheOneThatKnocks Sat 08-Nov-14 23:22:49

Have you had a really good read of your deeds. (Plus covenants etc) Sometimes they refer to boundaries. Also, there may be other plans in with them that may give some clues as to whom owns what. If they are newer houses Google Earth might help as might old aireal (sp?) photos or old planning applications.

Have you downloaded his land registry plans too? (You are allowed to) I would just so that you know your facts.

I can see why they don't want to concede any land even if it a small amount. It's the type of thing that they might not care about for themselves but may be worried about if they came to sell the house.

it may be awkward to reposition any new fence posts because of your patio but I'm sure it's possible. Taking up,a few slabs wouldn't be difficult. I think this would be the 'right' thing to do.

Even though it was a genuine mistake I wouldn't be suprised if he thought you did it on purpose so you shouldn't be suprised if he is a little arse'y with you. If he is the slightest bit reasonable he will see that your suggestions show that you are genuinely sorry.

What type of fences are involved.

MrsHerculePoirot Sun 09-Nov-14 09:17:00

Yes have read all deeds and there is nothing about boundaries at all. The thing is, they haven't conceded any land as far as I can see, we have just replaced the fence that was there with a different fence, but in exactly the same place. I don't think they are at all bothered about losing any land, just that the fence looks different if that makes sense. The thing is, to move the fence back we would have to cut out the end of a very new patio, then get all the concrete posts taken out and put back in a few inches this way.

ImTheOneThatKnocks Sun 09-Nov-14 09:38:58

How about offering to stain their side of the fence (both the new and old sections) so that they match up? The new fence will mellow to match theirs really quickly but I imagine it looks quite different at the moment.

MrsHerculePoirot Sun 09-Nov-14 11:06:32

Yes, would be happy to do that as well, will mention that if they come back to us.

Thanks for all your replies btw, it is appreciated!

ContentedSidewinder Sun 09-Nov-14 17:23:31

Quite frankly I think your neighbour is being an arse.

You have been nothing but apologetic and have offered to rectify the situation in so many ways. Do you think they like being victims?

If they haven't got responsibility for the boundary then the only reason for their over reaction is if they paid for the original fence.

The fact that you offered to fence their entire back garden and they turned you down proves they are being unreasonable. Losing 6-8 inches off a garden is nothing if they get a lovely fence out of it.

I think sometimes people don't think before they hoik their bossoms in outrage. Have a look on garden law forum at both fences and boundaries.

These days unless there are actual measurements on the land registry title plans then a red line on a drawing translates into a very wide "red pen" line in real life.

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