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Property/DIY

shared garden what would you do?

25 replies

Linnet · 03/02/2008 21:36

We're looking into buying our ground floor flat. We'd get all of the land at the front of our flat and the back garden/drying green would be shared in common with the flat up the stairs. According to the solicitor we wouldn't get a specific half share of the back garden, it's just in common.

Does anybody know if we would be able to put a fence up the middle of the garden splitting it into two making half for us and half for upstairs even though we don't own a specific half or would it have to stay open?
There are two whirlie gigs and space in between them to put a fence and still have a sizeable garden each. I'm not sure if we could just go ahead and do this or if we would need permission.

At the moment it's not a problem with the upstairs neighbour but she is elderly and won't be there forever. I have this mad hypothetical concern that if whoever moves in above us in the future has a dog that they might let it out in the back garden and it would be free to roam the back garden and they might not clean up after it. and since we have children it would be a health concern.

Has anybody done this in a shared garden? do you need permission to put up a fence or can you just divide it?

OP posts:
morningpaper · 03/02/2008 21:39

shared garden is shared - you can't divide it

spicemonster · 03/02/2008 21:46

Yep - mp is right. If it's shared, it's shared. I suppose you could agree between you to divide it but you'd have to do it via solicitors and might not be easy if you don't have the freehold (freeholder might not want to)

bran · 03/02/2008 21:48

If you buy the flat will you buy the freehold? Does the woman who lives upstairs own her flat or rent it?

I think if you own the freehold and the other leaseholder/joint freeholder agrees, then I think it would be possible to change the garden agreement. It would probably cost a bit though as you would have to have the garden surveyed and get a solicitor to make the new boundries official.

If you would be buying a leasehold on your flat then I imagine you wouldn't be able to change anything.

Millarkie · 03/02/2008 21:50

I'm sure you can't divide it - but see if you can check the leases, it is likely that the upstairs flat owner won't be able to have a dog in the flat (that was the case in the last flat we owned - cats were allowed but no dogs).

Linnet · 03/02/2008 21:53

I'm in Scotland I don't know what a freehold is or a leasehold, sorry.

The upstairs neighbour rents her flat from a Housing Assoc.

I thought we'd get a specific half of the back garden but the plans came back saying shared.

OP posts:
spicemonster · 03/02/2008 22:15

I would think if the upstairs flat is via a housing association, they wouldn't sell 1/2 the garden (which is effectively what you want them to do). Good idea about checking the lease re dogs.

LordCopper · 04/02/2008 09:34

We are in same position at moment - own flat which we rent out, council tenant upstairs, shared back garden. Upstairs tenant, who moved in in the summer after elderly tenants moved out, put fence across back of our flat as soon as she moved in and it has taken six months to get council even to acknowledge that this is illegal and now they say they don't have money to remove it . Be very careful with this one.

LordCopper · 04/02/2008 09:34

Should have said, the fence prevents our tenants even getting into the garden never mind sharing it.

kaz33 · 04/02/2008 09:40

In Scotland all property is freehold, a lot of the flats have large shared gardens with drying whirlygigs. I think it is shared and you cannot divide it, but if you come to an agreement with the other flat owner then you might be able change agreement. You need to see a solicitor to see if it can be done.

Flibbertyjibbet · 04/02/2008 10:03

If you are not happy with a shared back garden then don't touch this property. When much younger (25) exp and I bought a house with shared back yard. Endless trouble and bad feeling on all sides.
If it bothers you that much to fence it off then look for a property that already has its own defined garden.

Linnet · 04/02/2008 10:32

Hmm. The way I would have put the fence would have allowed access for the other person to get to their garden and us to get to ours, it would just provide our own space and their own space iykwim.

I guess I'll just have to hope for good tenants in the future.

OP posts:
morningpaper · 04/02/2008 11:19

Lots of people ENJOY having a shared garden and see it is a plus. I would avoid this property TBH, it doesn't sound right for you.

SoupDragon · 04/02/2008 11:22

LordCooper, why can't you just remove the fence yourself?

GooseyLoosey · 04/02/2008 11:29

Can I reiterate the advice to think carefully about what will happen if you cannot divide it.

My first flat had a shared garden and dh and I were the only ones who ever did anything in it. It cause no end of ill feeling - us as we thought the others were lazy feckers and the some of the others who claimed to like the au naturel look (admittedly dh's approach was a bit reminiscent of slash and burn).

Linnet · 04/02/2008 12:09

To be honest the neighbour upstairs doesn't use the garden at the moment. So we cut the grass and get rid of the weeds etc and we always have done while we've been here. I'd love to do a bit more to it put flowers in the flower beds, plant some hedging along the back fence for a bit more privacy etc. But the thought of doing all that then someone else moving in upstairs and wanting to change it all doesn't make it seem worth doing.
That was why I thought if we were able to divide it we'd be able to do all that to our own little bit and it woudn't bother anyone else.

This is our only chance to get our foot on the first step of the property ladder so I guess we'll have to hope for good neighbours or hope that the elderly neighbour doesn't move out before we plan to move on ourselves.

OP posts:
aberdeenhiker · 04/02/2008 12:42

If upstairs is a council flat then they might not be willing to divide it. However, if everyone's willing, you can talk to your solicitors and arrange for the garden to be legally divided. We're in the process right now and it's taking forever but will cost about £1000. Both sides have to pay solicitors fees though - maybe if you offered to pay her half your elderly neighbour would be willing to do this?

aberdeenhiker · 04/02/2008 12:43

(they being the council).

LordCopper · 05/02/2008 15:06

Because that would be seen as trespass

mumofflo · 10/07/2009 15:10

I am having a nightmare with my 'shared garden' - one of upstairs neighbours is a nightmare, young hoody type who brings his hoody mates round, uses our furniture etc smokes drugs, foul language. We approached council about putting up a fence to avoid further problems after last straw our bikes got stolen from the garden. They said it was fine as long as the other neighbour agrees! Obviously he won't agree as he is annoyed that we want to exclude him from our side of the garden (which is nice!) so is being stubborn. I am challening the decision under Human Rights Act 1998 as we should all have the right to quiet enjoyment of our property and to family life.

Basically I think a boundary can be established by agreement or by custom and practice. We were told that we could have a 'natural' boundary, plants, trees etc (but not layladei (sp?) after so many years this would become the boundary as established by custom and practice.

I'll let you know the outcome! Anyone fancy joining me in a high court battle?!! clearly we are not the only ones having a nightmare with this. It is obviously more of a worry with little ones running around.

lalalonglegs · 10/07/2009 19:14

Am very interested to see how this is resolved.

ChristieF · 14/07/2009 14:02

I'd be very careful about a shared garden. You don't know what sort of odd people and their relatives/friends get to be in the same place with you and your kids. Not likely to be able to split. Would you leave your child to play out with adult strangers?

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat · 14/07/2009 14:05

our shared garden was split up between the block years ago. you are not buying anything. the only cost is the lawyers and land registry fees. perfectly doable. can you approach ha to see if it is a goer.

where are you buyin?

rankin76 · 23/12/2016 21:01

I think its the kind of thing which maybe could have worked about 40 years ago, and neighbours all chipped in with maintaining the garden and were nice to each other and joined each other for the odd cup of tea and were nice to your cat (nice to the cat?! not sure about that, I think I'm getting carried away here) but that is not going to happen in modern times and what if you just want to laze in the garden and sun bathe, have friends round, or your have horrible neighbours?

ElizabethLondon78 · 25/08/2021 18:07

Linnette, im in the same situation you were years ago. Did you manage to split your garden? My neighbours are a nightmare and the housing association is not helping :(

ElizabethLondon78 · 25/08/2021 18:10

Did you managed to split the garden?

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