Advanced search

Boundary/fence dispute

(23 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 16:45:29

We've just purchased a house. It's on the outskirts of a town, in a development from the 60's or so. (so, not out in the countryside; quite clearly defined fence borders between fences. supposedly)

When we were viewing the house, we could see that the end of the garden was obscured by foliage/ bushes because the elderly couple who had lived here before hadn't been able to maintain it any longer so had only had the lawn mowed. Fair enough. But, we weren't really able to see the back fence well, we could only see the fences of the neighbours to the right and left, which seemed approximately along the same line, and assumed our back fence was along this line. It wasn't entirely clear, but this week after having moved in last week, we've been doing some clearing back there.

Land registry which we have copies of shows that is where our fence should be as well- all of our back gardens should be divided from the houses behind us by essentially one long fence, like this:


Well, our neighbours behind us evidently took the time between the elderly couple passing away and the children sorting out the property to erect a new fence. The back fences now look like this:

---- --

If that makes sense.

The back fence is at least a metre into our (admittedly large) back garden, probably more. The difference is a section of garden large enough that our neighbours use theirs for an allotment type area, then have their lawn in front.

To top it off, the people who have put this fence up are a semi-detached house, so their garden isn't as wide as ours. So, not only do we have fence in our garden, but there is a little alley area on one side of it full of foliage we can't reach to prune anything, including a small tree which appears to be ours as well. There appears to be some bodged chicken wire or something leading from this new fence to the next fence which is the one the real fence should be aligned with, if that makes sense.

So. Where do we start with this? I realise we're meant to man up and approach them over it, and I will once I get some ideas for it, but I'm sure it won't end well. Someone who budges their fence that far into someone else's garden isn't going to be the type to say 'oh oops, we didn't mean to do that! We'll put that right quick smart!'

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 16:47:31

darn my clever fence illustration didn't come out well. Ignore that! smile

LIZS Tue 19-Mar-13 16:52:46

Have you spoken to the people over the back ? Maybe they have moved inr recently too and inherited it, how new is the fence ?

georgedawes Tue 19-Mar-13 17:01:56

I'd talk to your solicitor for advice.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 17:07:25

LIZ it's definitely brand spanking new fence (wood is fresh etc) and that house hasn't changed hands recently.

george I'm starting to think that'll be the way forward. It's a shame because I wish the previous owner had sorted it because the bad blood would have left with them, if that makes sense. Now we're new here and starting fresh drama, just because we want our property back.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 17:10:13

I would send them a copy of the title plan and request that they move their fence within X amount of time.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 17:10:44

First check with the vendors that they never sold some garden to the neighbours though.

georgedawes Tue 19-Mar-13 17:24:16

It would show on the title if the land had been officially sold though. I would definitely check with your solicitor, you've paid them enough money, I'm sure they'll advise what to do initially, even if that's just to have a quiet word first.

jammybean Tue 19-Mar-13 17:25:08

Op this should have been spotted before exchange and completion. They might be trying to pull a fast one. Use google maps to try and ascertain if the fence is a recent thing. But unless you have sensible neighbours (they don't strike me as such if they have indeed nicked a bit of our garden) prepare for "drama". And definitely get some legal advice.

lalalonglegs Tue 19-Mar-13 18:04:30

I'm just selling somewhere and one of the standard questions is: have the boundaries of your properties changed during your ownership (or words to that effect) so your solicitor will be able to tell you what box was ticked on that enquiry.

Good luck, boundary disputes are a pita - even ones where the land grabber has little or no justification seem to cost a lot of time and take a lot of time if they want to dig their heels in.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 18:07:42

yes lala and I thought it would be on the questionnaire the seller had to fill out, but I've looked through all of the forms and I don't see it mentioned. Only questions regarding public right of way, etc. Unless there's a legalese version of the question that I'm missing.

I'll have to contact our solicitor to see how to resolve it. sigh.

BehindLockNumberNine Tue 19-Mar-13 18:10:05

When the survey was done this should have been picked up? Or the land registry searches?
Did you get a copy of the map / plan of the plot (garden and house) you were buying. This should have your garden highlighted - if the fence matches up with the neighbours then the surveyor should have noticed it had been moved?

Either way, do not contact the garden-stealers yourselves, go via the solicitor you used to purchase the house.

MrsJREwing Tue 19-Mar-13 18:17:03

Get your hubby to move the chicken wire back, plant a load of spikey plants then set up a spy cam, cheaper than solicitor fee's then send spy cam foitage of neighbour trespassing on to solicitor, as he will tresspass, like to see him prove he wasn't trespassing.

WhoWhatWhereWhen Tue 19-Mar-13 18:21:38

Your household insurance policy may include legal cover for just this type of problem, if required they would pay for solicitors

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 18:24:00

Behind yes the solicitor spent a lot of time showing us the highlighted garden area. Not only should our back fence align with all of the other back fences, but technically we own a wee sliver of the next door neighbour's back garden. Now as far as that goes, it's just silly, there's no other garden that does that (it would make an L shape, and give us almost nothing in return except the headache of having to fence that in, too). So we aren't interested in claiming that wee bit of the L shape, as I suspect no one has bothered with that technicality in decades.

We would, however, like the very obvious last bit of our garden back. It's very clear that all other fences line up; why would this one be any different? Why would they think this is okay? confused

Short version: yes, it's clear by the land registry document that we own the garden all the way back to where the side neighbours' back fences are, and not just until where our back fence is.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 18:25:23

I looked at our house survey and it says back property line obscured by foliage/ bushes (forget which term they used but I know it said 'obscured by.' Would the survey for the house be expected to make detailed notes of property lines? I'm sorry if this sounds naive; this is our first house.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Mar-13 18:27:17

Genuinely appreciate all of the responses, by the way. I'm letting this cause me stress, and I know I shouldn't...

lalalonglegs Tue 19-Mar-13 18:34:20

OK, I've just looked and it's property form TA6, second part of the first question: Has the boundary feature been changed in the past 20 years?

I'd be surprised if the solicitor doesn't have a copy of this somewhere.

LIZS Tue 19-Mar-13 18:35:19

No it wouldn't unless something was obviously amiss. Title deeds and any suggestion of previous boundary disputes should be in the legal pack form your solicitor.

nannylove Mon 08-Apr-13 09:18:08

Hi. First time I've used this site but I'm at my wits end! A young couple moved in next door to us just over a year ago with 3 children and a dog. They had to gut the house but we were quite happy to hear the noise they had to make and it's nice to hear children playing. When they moved in they invited me in to see the work they had been doing and I told them that we were aware that the back fence needed replacing (although from our side it doesn't look TOO bad) but we could not afford it until my husband retires in 2 years and we get a lump sum. They seemed O.K. with this. The couple are foul mouthed and aggresive, we suffer constant shouting, effing and blinding and rowing, all of which can be heard word for word through our wall. I'm only telling you this so you can see the bigger picture. Last week I heard the husband on the phone in the garden threatening to rip our fence down if we don't replace it straight away before they put decking down in their garden. I politely knocked on the door and once more explained that we could not afford it straight away but were aware that it needed replacing as I had said before. Later the wife brought a pile of broken wood round and threw it in my front garden. I politely explained to her that she was quite entitled to return any wood off our fence, no problem, and received a load of verbal abuse. After which she made several trips round to me hammering on my door obviously looking for a fight. That is not my way of dealing with things so I asked her, again politely, to go home, but eventually had to threaten to call the police to have her removed. She couln't have cared less! Now they are saying that our fence is on their property, which I am almost certain that it is not, but would be interested in what any of you have to say.

flow4 Mon 08-Apr-13 09:32:46

nannylove, that sounds very stressful and I'm sure people will be happy to advise. You need to start your own thread, not squeeze into someone else's (here, you divert from her problem and won't get much attention yourself) smile If you go back to the 'property' board, you'll see a link to start new thread at the top, and you can just cut and paste what you've written here, and give it a title. Good luck!

nannylove Mon 08-Apr-13 10:06:45

Thanks for your help flow4, sorry I butted in, first time I've used the site so wasn't quite sure what I was doing!

flow4 Mon 08-Apr-13 10:55:14

No problem. smile

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: