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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22385
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
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"If I own a boundary (we have land registry docs) and my neighbou

Customer Question

"If I own a boundary (we have land registry docs) and my neighbours have raised the height of the boundary by adding additional screening to our existing fence (without our permission and above 2m), can we remove the additional new fence?"
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High
Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008.
During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousand's of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in
minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case.

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Are you saying they have attached it to your fence?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes they have added a bamboo screen to our fence - raising the height of the fence to above 2m, and without our permission. I do need any answer ASAP. We do not have a good relationship with our neighbours.


Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

I am sorry, but this is not an instant service because we
are all solicitors in practice. We do not sit online 24/7. We all have clients
and court and other users on this site and travelling and weekends and evenings
etc. We are often on and offline all day every day. Sometimes therefore you
will get an answer in minutes and sometimes it is hours. The site does give the
impression that experts will answer in nanoseconds will unfortunately, the site
is hosted in San Francisco and we are all based in the UK and we have no
control over site content.

If it
is your fence, and they have attached the bamboo to it, the screws are trespass
and if they have done this maliciously, possibly criminal damage although don't
expect the police to be the least bit interested.

can apply to court (a solicitors letter threatening the application) for an
injunction and costs to compel them to remove the attachment.

can refer the matter to the planning department because they are not allowed to
have a fence over 2 m without planning consent.

If you
can simply unscrew the bamboo without damaging it, and without going over onto
their land/their side of the fence (which seems unlikely) you can simply
unscrew it and give it back to them.

this stage in time, because of the relationship with your neighbours, would
probably be better threatening an application to court for an injunction.

course, there is nothing whatsoever to stop them sticking up a 2 m high fence
immediately on their side of this fence.

that answer the question? Can I help further? Can I answer any specific points?

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the response, yes the site is misleading and I will rate your response


It feels like they 'have us' and we can't do anything without incurring legal costs. However, we can't raise the height of our fence above 2mtrs with out planning permission?


I did speak to planning prior to us know we owned the boundary and subsequently to Citizen's advice who advise they couldn't apply for planning permission as its our boundary - ownership of the boundary seemed to overide them being able to apply for permission? However, your advice seems to suggest they could apply for planning permission?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

The planning
department will not get involved with boundaries (unless there is a planning issue) nor will any other department
in the council and nor will the police.

The land registry
will simply point to the deeds and say that is how it is, they will not make
an interpretation.

I think it unlikely
that the planning department are going to get heavily involved over the fact
that the fences over 2 m high but it depends if whoever it is in the planning
department decides to take it under their wing and go off on a bit of a mission
with this.

Ownership of a
boundary is immaterial with regard to planning permission. Surprisingly may
seem I can apply for planning permission on a piece of land that I do not own.
This happens with people who are buying property subject to planning permission
where they will not buy it if they do not get it.

Remember that the
boundary is an imaginary line. If a fence post is on the boundary and is 100
mm², then by offsetting another fence by 50 mm it comes entirely within the
curtilage of the person erecting it.

You do incur costs
to get to court but provided you get the injunction, you can ask for costs to
be awarded against the neighbour.

If you send a
solicitors letter (which will obviously cost you money) and the matter goes to
court, you will get those costs back. If the neighbour capitulates without
going to court, or without you issuing court proceedings, then you don't get
the costs back.

If you issue
proceedings and then the neighbour capitulates you can then apply to court for
a "wasted costs" order which are all the costumes incurred in seeing solicitors
and issuing the legal proceedings which you would not have had to have done if
the neighbour had played ball in the first place.


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