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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9589
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have recently replaced the fence down one side of my

Customer Question

I have recently replaced the fence down one side of my garden .. my next door neighbour then painted his side.. he did ask if this was OK and I agreed on condition that I didn't have dark brown stain running down my side of the pale green fence. He didn't do the job very well..
A week or so later when I returned from a day out, I discovered that he had pushed my climbers away from my side of the fence, damaging some of them and attached a brushwood fence on his side, the reason being that they wanted the same plain, dark brown fence all round their side also more privacy. I said I would compromise if they cut the brushwood level with my fence so I didn't have to see it. 2 weeks later and they still haven't done this. I have since given them a web link so they can see what their rights are (none really without my permission) .. I now think they willnot do anything I have asked. As they have used my fence to fix the brushwood with cable ties, I feel I would like to cut these through... however, I don't want to escalate things but do want a resolution as a) the brushwood is now higher than my fence and b) I now can't see through the trellis that runs along the top that let light through. I thought I would write them a letter giving them (2 weeks?) notice to comply with my wishes... If they don't where do I go from there ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

How high is your fence and how high is the brushwood?

How high was the original fence?

Was the original fence your responsibility and owned by you or joint?

Are you able to let others have a photograph?

Can we please have the link you sent to your neighbour?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is the fence I have erected :http://www.buyfencingdirect.co.uk/garden-fencing/decorative-fencing/warwick-panel-180cmThe concrete fence posts are 5 feet high .. these were already installed on my property and the new fence is no higher..Here is the link I gave the neighbours:http://www.boundary-problems.co.uk/boun ... ences.htmlI will need to contact the Land Registry for comfirmation of whether the fence on the RHS (as you look at my property from the road) is my responsibility or not.I can take photos if that helps too..thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have asked a couple of other neighbours who say that fence is my responsibility .. I doubt it would be joint would it ?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

You can get the deeds to your property from the land registry by following this link. It will cost you £3 for each of the deed and the plan. They arrive in seconds.

https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

There is no legal convention where the property on one side owns one boundary and the property on the other side owns the other boundary. It is a legal myth.

If the deeds do not have any mention of who owns which boundary and there are no T marks on the title plan indicating that the boundary is your responsibility, then the boundary is jointly owned. In that case, unless the neighbour consented to you replacing the fence on the boundary, (he is just as able to let it fall down as you are to want it looking nice) then you cannot replace the fence without his consent unless you offset it slightly so that it is completely on your side. It would mean erecting the fence so that the wood panels did not go over the centre line of the existing posts.

So, if it is a joint fence, even though you paid for the panels, you cannot stop the neighbour putting whatever he likes up against his side.

I can see the problem here. You have spent a considerable amount of money on putting up expensive and really nice looking fence panels only to now have this brushwood fencing on his side, looking a mess. From his side, all he will see of course is the cheap brushwood whereas from your side you will see the brushwood backing your beautiful fence. Hence, I can see exactly why this is so annoying for you.

Unfortunately, there is little that you can do about it. If the neighbour simply refuses to move the fence, you would be faced with making an application to court for an injunction to remove the brushwood which is not going to be cheap. It is also not going to be risk-free because it’s highly likely that a judge would come to the conclusion, as I have, that he has as much right to put his brushwood fencing in this position as you do to put your nice looking fence.

If the fence is shown to be your responsibility in the deeds, then the situation would be different but if he resolutely refuses to remove it, you are still faced with a court application.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It does not cost you anything but helps us greatly.

Best wishes.

FES

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you for your speedy response Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Smith ... I will obtain the deeds and find out whose responsibility the fence is . However, should it turn out to be mine, how would I stand if I simply cut through the cable ties holding his fence up? They would after all be on my property, but I am aware that 2 wrongs don't make a right ..!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon ... did you see my response above ? I would welcome your opinionthanksPat Marks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
163;3 each for the plan and deeds ???? I have just been quoted £39.95 for the two. Am I looking in the wrong place ?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

£3 each here.

https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

If you cut through the ties, it’s criminal damage. You have to be able to remove it without damaging anything.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks - that link worked ..
But hasn't he committed an offence by using my fence to secure the brushwood? If I cut through the cable ties, surely I am only protecting my fence ? It must seem as it is getting a bit silly now, but it's the principle ...all hypothetical until I get hold of the deeds.regardsPat
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

He does not commit a criminal offence by simply trespassing.

Cutting the ties is criminal damage

Interestingly, even if the fence is right on the boundary, and the ties go around the fence, the ties are trespassing on your side and you can have them removed which would need a court application for an injunction unless he is willing to do it voluntarily.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your response ....seems I can't win :(Pat
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

You can succeed but if he resolutely refuses to remove any attachments, it’s going to need a court application. You can always cut the ties on the basis that they are trespass and you are using the doctrine of “self help” but he may report the matter to the police if he takes advice although the police may or may not be interested in pursuing a prosecution because of the nature of it. However, there is no guarantee.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you for that Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs Smith .... that gives me a bit more hope. I was thinking that even if he did report me for criminal damage, I could counter that with the criminal damage he has done by painting the fence in the first place. And it does seem a silly reason for getting the Police involved at all ..regardsPat
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A long painful process, but I eventually got the plans ... however they are so minute they can hardly be deciphered .... how do I work out my ownership/responsibility please ? Shall I send the plans to you ?thank you
Pat
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

The plans are unlikely to help. On some Land Reg plans the line on the paper is 24" wide on the ground. A boundary surveyor report is the only option

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
requesting and paying for the deeds was a wasted exercise ? Where would I obtain the Boundary Surveyor's report please ?thanksPat
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

There is no way of knowing whether the deeds plan will assist or not until you get it. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not and £3 just for the plan it is not an expensive risk to take as court litigation is likely to be.

Some land registry plans are to a greater scale than others.

Most estate agents will have a surveyor available and you will probably find one who would be able to give an opinion on the correct position of the boundary

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ah, thanks ... I can go back to the Estate Agent who sold the property to me. I did originally query the boundary with my solicitor for another reason - that being my boundary ends at the front line of a brick built shed where I have access from the front, but the whole shed is in the neighbour's garden .. this is out of line with the boundary the other side of the shed where the boundary goes half way through the shed. Seems I may have lost out on a strip of garden. I didn't query the responsibility of that boundary fence at the time.. I assumed it was mine as everyone else was taking responsibility for the fence on their right hand side, including the neighbour in dispute. (confused of Harefield :) )thank you