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Who owns the fence?

(18 Posts)
wonderwoo Tue 21-Mar-17 20:56:48

I rent our house, and the fence to the right side in the back garden needs replacing. The owner of the house next door says it belongs to this house, and (surprise, surprise) my landlord says it belongs to them. So no one has fixed it and now, a year later, I am fed up!

My landlord is going on the general premise that people tend to own the fence to the left. However, I know that although this is considered generally true, it is not always the case. Both my neighbours, each side of us, say that in our strip of house, we each own the fence to the right.

I have had a look on the land registry site, and I think sometimes that boundary ownership can be shown in the deeds, but not always. I am considering buying a copy to find out, but am reluctant to spend £20 (quite a lot of money to us), only to find its not specified, and I also don't know which document to order: title register (deeds), or title plans.

Does anyone have any experience of trying to find out boundary ownership through the deeds, or any other way of finding out please?

wowfudge Tue 21-Mar-17 21:26:33

£20 isn't correct if you are talking about the Land Registry in England and Wales - that must be a third party site, not the Land Registry site. The title register and title plan each cost £3 to download.

When you say it is 'generally accepted' - that is only the case in some areas. We're in the North West and the title documents for older properties often say nothing and there are no markings on the plans. In that case, the presumption is that the responsibility is shared. We owned a house where the fences between properties were explicitly described as party walls in the title register and a joint responsibility.

If the documents say nothing about the ownership I'm afraid you may not be able to get landlord or neighbour to do anything.

Villagernumber9 Tue 21-Mar-17 21:29:52

Normally, the rule of thumb is that, if the nicer side of the fence is on your side, you are responsible. When people pay to have a fence erected, they obviously want the nicer side of the fence.
Is your fence panels? If so, are the support battens on your side?

Frillyhorseyknickers Tue 21-Mar-17 21:31:34

Land registry title plans will show registered title but not necessarily the owned boundaries, just defines them. As the poster above has said, it is certainly not £20 to purchase a copy of the registered title.

Anyway - refer back to your landlord and ask him to prove the boundary is not his responsibility.

wowfudge Tue 21-Mar-17 21:47:18

Villager that is utter nonsense! People do all sorts of things without proper information. How many property owners accept the 'wrong' side of a fence just to get out of paying for or towards it?

PigletJohn Tue 21-Mar-17 22:15:58

Owning the pretty side of the fence is IMO a recent affectation.

If you look at a fence facing the road, the pretty side without rails always faces out.

the reason for having the rails facing the owner, is that it is very easy for an intruder or animals to climb over using the rails, or to stand on a rail and peer over. It is harder to climb up a flat sheer face.

It also makes a better boundary when you have the flat face of the fence exactly on the boundary, and the thickness of the posts and rails on the owners side

RandomMess Tue 21-Mar-17 22:20:38

TBH it doesn't matter who owns it, tell the LL you want a secure fence around the garden as it was when you moved in.

bojorojo Tue 21-Mar-17 23:32:19

I am a landlord and I have replaced fences that are not mine. I prefer my tenants to be happy and I don't like other people's broken down fences spoiling my property. I recently had a panel blow down and the actual "owner" refused to put it back as they said as I had put the fence up I was responsible for it. The fact that their original fence had fallen down in numerous places without them repairing anything appeared not to bother them. They don't now the grass either. I am glad I had a 2m high fence now!

Around here you do have the worst side facing your property - except if I am paying for a fence that is not my responsibility. I now have the nice side facing my property.

If you stand at the back of the property with your back to the house, the fence on the left is probably your landlord's.

Villagernumber9 Tue 21-Mar-17 23:37:44

Wowfudge. When I've paid for a fence, I've made damn sure that I have the nicer flat side facing my garden, and so does everyone else that I know.
Piglet John. Yes. The front fence normally faces the road so that, when people look at the front of your house, it looks nicer. Also, normally the battens or rails go from top to bottom. More expensive ones run across, to make a helpful ladder for scumbags.
At the end of the day, I was just offering my opinion. No need for any nasty shit.

wonderwoo Wed 22-Mar-17 07:22:35

Thank you for all your replies. I found the title deeds for £3 in the end, thank you. Didn't give me any information that I needed though.

I will get on to my landlord again and approach it from "please prove it's not yours". And "please reinstate it to how it was when I moved in". It really spoils the garden as it's falling down the whole length, and next door has dogs too, so not ideal. Cannot say I am hopeful though.

PigletJohn Wed 22-Mar-17 12:50:26

Keep calm.

It's an opinion.

Not an attack.

LIZS Wed 22-Mar-17 12:52:47

Regardless of whose fence it is ndn has a duty to contain their dogs.

user1486076969 Wed 22-Mar-17 12:54:47

I always thought that the fence to the right of your house (as you look out) was your responsibility.

DoubleR Wed 22-Mar-17 12:57:59

We own none of our boundary fences and all the 'nice' sides face us, I understood it was because the person putting the fence up needs to have the supports facing them in order to do the work without trespassing on the other persons land. ( I know no one is going to refuse permission for that in reality).

TwitterQueen1 Wed 22-Mar-17 13:07:00

No-one is being nasty here. And PigletJohn is correct.

Traditionally, the owner of the fence would erect it with the 'nice' side facing the neighbour. This has fallen out of practice now though, and people will generally take the 'nice' side themselves. So you can can't really go by that rule any more.

If you stand on the street and face my house, my fence is the right-hand one, and also the one adjoining the street. But elsewhere it could easily be different.

OP, ownership of fences should be marked on the deeds. If your landlord won't show you the deeds, will your neighbour?

Reow Wed 22-Mar-17 13:07:36

Our area are all the fence to the right is ours

TwitterQueen1 Wed 22-Mar-17 13:07:48

Ah sorry, just seen you've got the deeds and they don't help....

Spickle Wed 22-Mar-17 13:20:48

wonderwoo - did you also pay £3 for the title plan? Sometimes the plan shows "T" marks on the boundaries which indicate the responsibility of the owner of the property. Unfortunately, these are not always shown and if there is no indication of ownership on either the title register or plan, then Land Registry would declare the boundary a joint responsibility.

There is no legal requirement to have a fence on a boundary though, but your neighbour does have an obligation to keep his dogs contained within his property.

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