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Boundary issue - we are losing our driveway to next door

(54 Posts)
MyLadyAnita Fri 28-Mar-14 22:30:59

Hi - The builder who is re-furbishing the property next door offered to erect new boundary fencing between our two properties if we bought the panels and posts, which we did.

It is our boundary fence so we bought the panels and posts and he put them up last week. It makes his refurbishment look good and our fence was pretty rotten so we were chuffed as he did not charge for his labour. The back garden fencing he did is fine and follows the boundary line of the old fencing.

However, he has not reinstated the "dog-leg" return at the front of our property (where the front fencing meets our front wall of our home) which should allow for the line of our boundary that the eaves take. He has fixed a wooden fence post straight onto the side wall of our home to fix the fencing to when there was approx 8inches of space between our old fence line and our home (to allow for chimney breasts and eaves overhang on our home). We have never had fencing along the side of our home but we had "dog-leg" returns at both the front and back walls so it could clearly be seen that about 8inches of driveway along the length of our home in the drive next door belonged to us to allow us access to drains etc.

He is doing a really excellent job on the property next door and has been very generous in putting up our fencing for no charge.

My question is.......... should we be concerned that we have lost some of our boundary. I am not sure that it really matters where fencing goes as the deeds and plans will state the boundary lines but could the builder changing the building line (and his intention is to sell the property next door to us as soon as it is finished) and sell some of our land to the new purchasers of next door? Anyone buying next door would naturally believe that they owned the whole driveway as things stand when, in fact, we own 8inches of their drive that runs the length of our home!

Any advice appreciated. What I did not want was to go on a crusade costing us thousand of £££'s if it really does not matter in reality.

Birdsighland Fri 28-Mar-14 23:23:08

Does part of your house now form part of the boundary, whereas before it was all fencing?

EthelDorothySusan Fri 28-Mar-14 23:26:04

There is no such thing as a free lunch as you are finding out.

HauntedNoddyCar Fri 28-Mar-14 23:57:32

It isn't something you should ignore.

You need to ask him to move it to follow the line you expected. If you leave the fence there your new neighbours may well think it's the boundary and could cause issues in years to come. Get it sorted straightaway by having a chat.

2plus1 Sat 29-Mar-14 08:15:47

Our neighbours had their drive block paved taking in about a foot width along side our house where the fence sections had been missing. We spoke to the contractor and had plans to hand which showed it was our land. The neighbour wasn't too happy but I had them put it right and I paid to have the fence line reinstated. My advice would be to discuss it with him to get it put right to save any issues later.

Pimpf Sat 29-Mar-14 08:18:16

Get it put right now, it could cause problems in years to come

eskinosekiss Sat 29-Mar-14 08:20:53

Of course you need to get this fixed now! Tell him he has put the boundary in wrong. Even if he thinks he is in the right and it starts to get nasty/legal, far better to have a dispute with the developer, who is going to move on, than it is to have a dispute with your new neighbours who you will have to live next to, and declare any disputes with when selling your house.

MyLadyAnita Sat 29-Mar-14 21:43:16

Birdsighland: There has only ever been fencing along the front and rear garden boundaries. There has never been fencing along the bricks and mortar part of the house as any fence would only be 8inches from our building. It would be difficult to fence it so it has never been fenced. There are 2 x jutting out chimney breasts and drains along the side of our house. There is just an imaginary line along the length of our property so if you imagine attaching a piece of string to the outer fence post (before it "dog-leg" returns back to our property wall) at the back end of our property, and attaching it to the fence post that (used to) does the same at the front it gives a line approx 8inches all along the length of our property. Our house does not form part of the boundary as the boundary is 8inches from our house wall along its length.
Ethel: good point well made! I see what you mean.
Haunted, 2plus, pimpf and eskino: Thanks for your advice. I think I will take photos of what the builder has done tomorrow (when the builders do not work) and run a string line along the side of the house to see where the boundary should run up to the pavement at the front.

What is our big concern is that any new purchaser will believe that they have bought the next door property with a wider drive which will now include the 8inches pinched from us now that our "dog-leg" return has been shaved away. The "dog-leg" also protected the corner of our home from being hit on the front corner by a poorly driven car. It would be the fence post about 8inches away from our home which got hit rather than our house front corner wall which would now be the case. I am sure that is why all the properties in our road have these strange dog-legged front boundary walls.

insancerre Sun 30-Mar-14 09:33:41

ask the builder to reinstate the dog legs
he has been very crafty hasn't he?
could you put a row of plant pots along the invisible boundary line to make it more visible?

Mumzy Sun 30-Mar-14 09:54:22

Sort it out now as it will cause problems especially when you come to sell. Blurring of property boundaries is a major issue and can cost you dear.

2plus1 Sun 30-Mar-14 10:28:58

Also if you don't have it specifically on plans try a screenshot from Google to demonstrate the existing boundary line. Hopefully the builder will be obliging as a dispute will affect his ability to sell.

burnishedsilver Sun 30-Mar-14 10:55:45

Definitely sort it now. It could be a major headache if you ever try to sell.

MrsTaraPlumbing Sun 30-Mar-14 10:57:55

Get it fixed, ASAP.
Don't assume it is on the deeds to the property it might not be. Boundary lines are often defined by what you can see and are not clearly measured and defined, esp for older properties.

HeyNonny Sun 30-Mar-14 17:40:46

Being highly cynical, I suspect this is a deliberate move by the builder. He will know very well where the boundary lies. Tell him to put it right. If he refuses, then tell him he needs to re-erect the old fencing and you'll pay for somebody else to put up the new fencing as and when you feel like it. If he still refuses, just take down the fencing yourself and peg a load of chicken wire in the right place to mark the boundary. He has more to lose than you do by doing so, if he wants to sell that house!

MILdesperandum Sun 30-Mar-14 18:15:12

Sounds a bit similar to the house we sold last year. The two houses were only about 3 foot apart so it would never have been in either side's interest to run a fence down the middle as it would just make it difficult to get to windows etc. It did get queried at survey so if the surveyor was on the ball you'd hope they might notice but best to get it sorted now. The builder has been cheeky but hopefully he'll be helpful... any disputes would have to be disclosed to the potential buyers

MillyMollyMama Sun 30-Mar-14 18:37:36

The land registry will have the plans and probably the boundary will be defined. Pay to download the plan of your house and next door and go armed with the info to get it reinstated if it in the wrong place. It is important to get it right.

MyLadyAnita Tue 01-Apr-14 21:57:05

I have plucked up courage to speak to the builder. He says he intends to tarmac the drive between our two properties from edge to edge. He has done the groundwork and laid the base already. I asked about the 8inches that demark our eaves overhang and which would incorporate the "dog-leg" at the front which we appear to have lost to him since he set new fence posts inside our boundary line.

I am still a bit worried and still not sure where I stand. He intends to tarmac from edge to edge but he says I will have the same rights to maintain my property regardless of how he does the drive. I wanted our 8inches against our property wall left clear of tarmac (to demark it as ours) but the builder will not do this as he says it will not be a good job done and will look a poor finish.

Grrrr! He says that the "dog-leg" at the front was not there when he fixed the new fence post against our property wall to fit the new front fencing.

I am thinking now that as long as I still have the right to access the side of my property to do any maintenance I may just drop this as it may cost me a fortune (and an ulcer!) for little gain.

RustyParker Tue 01-Apr-14 22:15:24

He sounds like a chancer.

He can't just decide to tarmac wherever he wants and fix posts to your wall shock

I know this is stressing you out but I suspect he has more to lose what with being a developer who presumably wants a quick sale so it might be worth consulting with a solicitor.

You could also post on this website - there are a lot of knowledgeable posters Garden Law

I have a feeling once you lose your boundary, you could find it hard to get reinstated.

2plus1 Tue 01-Apr-14 22:18:00

I would insist he puts it back to how it was. Do you have evidence of the boundary dogleg, if so keep these as evidence ie photos, plans etc. Do not let him tarmac your 8inches! He has no rights regardless of how lovely it may look from his side. Our neighbours block paved our side 12inches and I got them to remove the lot. I wanted a gravel drainage channel besides my house wall not their driveway.
From here I would write to him outlining what was there, what he has done wrong and what you want him to do within a set timeframe. Also add in about not wanting to enter a boundary dispute which may have impact on future sale of the property.
Alternatively I would be tempted to take down the fence trespassing on my land.............

Littlefish Tue 01-Apr-14 22:20:21

Refuse him permission to Tarmac your land. Put it in writing.
Put in writing that you expect your boundary fence to be returned to the correct line by xxxx date.

Buy a can of that chalk spray and spray the boundary line very clearly only the ground.

OddBoots Tue 01-Apr-14 22:25:03

I'm not sure I can picture what you describe but is there any chance google earth shots of your house would show your boundary? You need to get this sorted now or it will cause problems when you sell.

2plus1 Tue 01-Apr-14 22:33:23

Google street view may show the dogleg section in your favour?

HeartShapedStone Tue 01-Apr-14 22:36:23

He can't tarmac edge to edge just because he'd like to and it would make a nice finish, he needs to own the area he wants to tarmac!

Please, please pursue this, he has so much more to lose than you do, as a boundary dispute will prevent him selling and cashing in on the property development. You have nothing to lose by arguing,but major headaches ahead if you let him sell your access for maintenance. I don't know the ins and outs of adverse possession, but the concept exists and you might be affected by it.

eskinosekiss Wed 02-Apr-14 06:46:29

MyLadyAnita I understand that you feel you would like to bury your head in the dand (tarmac?) to avoid the hassle, but you really should get this sorted while you only have to deal with a developer, and not a neighbour from hell (who might decide in the future to store their logs/motorbike/boat/flagpole up against your house, cause believe me, if you start telling them they don't own the driveway they have just paid for, they will go out of their way to treat it as if they do).

Just go to the builder today and say, perfectly pleasantly "I'm afraid I am going to have to insist you reinstate the boundary between our houses. I can not give you permission to do any tarmacc'ing or fencing on any area beyond the boundary line. Obviously neither of us want to involve solicitors at this stage but if it comes to it, I will need to protect my property's title"

karron Wed 02-Apr-14 06:58:03

He is taking the micky and not being kind. He is not doing you any favours even if he said he his. What he is doing is stealing you drive and giving you years of stress to sort it out. He won't be bothered as he will of sold it and not have to sort out the mess.

As said before get it in writing that it is yours, you want it and you don't want it tarmacing.

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