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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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We replaced our neighbours fence some years ago in exactly

Customer Question

We replaced our neighbours fence some years ago in exactly the same position but higher.At the time they said they could see why we had done it.The contractors couldnt put the 'good side' their side due to the proximity of their brick pond having been built so close to our pergola.Subsequently after many years and the recent bad weather the fence has blown down.We are now being asked when WE are getting it fixed.It is their legal boundary.What should we do and where do we stand if we decline as its their boundary.Although its been acceptable for years they are saying we adopted the fence by replacing it.Please advise and help us.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
Hello, thank you for your question. My name is Tony.

Are you able to tell me whether the property deeds refer to any obligation to maintain the fence?

Tony
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would need to check the deeds and not easy at the moment.We had lots of covenants and believe we all have to maintain our legal boundary.

3rd Schedule

To keep in good and substantial repair and condition of walls, fences or hedges on tge sides of the land marked "T" within the boundary of the land hereby transferred on the said plan.

Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
Okay. You can access the deeds to your property online if you need to. If you're unsure how to do that, if would like me to assist, please do let me know.

You very often find a T on the plan to the title deeds. This will demonstrate who has the obligation to repair and maintain a boundary. Obviously, the position can change over time, and it is subject to whatever happens on the ground.

One of the things that can lead to a change of obligation to maintain a boundary, is assuming responsibility to maintain it over a period of time. Hence, if you have replaced the fence once, maintaining that boundary, it may give rise to an obligation in the future to continue to maintain it.

When you maintained the fence last time, did you make it clear, that was a one off thing?

Tony
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We didnt explain it was a one off as we didnt honestly expect to have to pay to have work done on it in the future as it is their legal "T"boundary as per the quote from the deeds and info from the boundary plan.It was more of a good will gesture as the original fence was too low and lacked privacy.Hence their comment that they could see why we had done it .

Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
Okay. I think you should be absolutely fine here. If you've not maintained it regularly then you're unlikely to have assumed responsibility for maintenance. It's something you need to be mindful of though for the future.

If your neighbours refuse to maintain their legal boundary then the first thing would be to write to them formally insisting that they do this. If they refuse you could seek to repair it on notice to them and claim the expense of that back in the small claims court. You would do that online: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Alternatively you could issue court proceeding seeking an order that they put it right but that's the expensive way of addressing the issue.

Tony
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do you think asking a solicitor to write to them formally to request that they maintain their legal boundary would send a clear message ?

Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
Absolutely yes.

It's always worth doing because it shows you're serious and it puts your position formally on record.

Tony
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou Tony.I will instruct the solicitors to send them a letter then which will help to make our position clear.Every time the fence has needed attention we have never tried to repair it as it is their boundary fence.

Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
Thank you and good luck with this!

Tony