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Nicola-mod
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Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Moderator
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My house has been in the family since it was built in the 1920s.

Customer Question

My house has been in the family since it was built in the 1920s. We have all of the original documentation within the deeds including measurements of the plot in feet and inches. The boundary of my garden lies 6 foot beyond where my fence is. We had to put the fence 6 feet infront of the boundary line as there was a large drainage ditch at the bottom of the plot. At the bottom of my garden was a farm which was recently sold to a housing developer. The new estate is now being built and when I looked over my fence this morning, the developers have begun to dig and plan out the house at the bottom of my garden. The house is being built on my land and also on the land of all of my neighbours. The builders have filled in the drainage ditch. It is to the degree that my garden will go straight through the new property's living room and garage. I have checked the plans that have gained permission and the housing developer has told Land Registry that they own the bottom of all of our gardens. Does the fact that I have the exact measurements on my original documentation overrule any claim that the developers may have as Land Registry have given their approval that they own the plot of land- even though myself and my neighbours have the original documents. I purchased the deeds of the land from the online Land Registry site and the line around their land shows that they own the bottom section of the gardens. Can they continue to build when they are fully aware that they may not own the entire plot? We have spoken to the building company and also their surveyor, and then overheard the builder saying that they will continue with the building on Monday. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.

Customer:

Hello. How long has the fence been in the current position?

JACUSTOMER-bl2ks87u- :

Hi, it has only been in the current position since the developers starting their building work. It is a very new fence. We erected the fence as the builders cleared away all the hedges and we have chickens so needed to install something quickly. The decision was made to put the fence in the current position so that we could also maintain the fence from both sides once the building was completed, and not have to ask permission every time to access the back of the fence. Thanks for your time.

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.

so what boundary fence was in place before this? does the land registry plan show the ditch?

knowing that there was a dispute over the land and ownership, why did you put the fence where it is rather than taking issue with the developer?

ignoring the preregistration deeds, how does the land registry plan reflect the situation?

please bear with me over the weekend because I will be online and off-line so may not get back to you immediately.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, it is very difficult to see where the boundary line lies from the land registry documents. We knew where the boundary was as we had a surveyor measure our plot using the original measurements. We hadn't thought that there was a boundary dispute until we saw where they had sprayed a coloured line into the door, yesterday morning. When the builders filled in the ditch and cleared away the shrubbery we put pegs in where our land ended but the builders pulled them out and started to prepare the ground to build the next house. The original documents that we have are (fortunately) to the same scale as the builders plans and if you overlay them, it clearly shows that they are building on our garden. Thank, even the land registry documents are unclear.

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. You need to act quickly. See a solicitor as soon as you can. The solicitor can write threatening an emergency application for an injunction to hold up building pending resolution of this issue, if they do not hold up building work voluntarily. The solicitor can threaten an application for costs if you have to apply to the injunction. If the solicitor and attaches a certificate of urgency to the application for an injunction it could be in court the same day and will effectively stop work on that area of the land at a stroke pending resolution of ownership. You are then faced with a dispute over who owns the piece of land. If it is established that you own the piece of land, you may want the ditch emptied again and I would always be aware of filling are ditching in case it causes drainage problems. I think the solicitor should also, at the same time, write to the builder and point out the plans and the overlay and tell them that unless they agree to move the boundary, they will find themselves in court on that issue also. This is almost certainly not do it yourself job unless you have experience of such matters although there is no legal reason why you cannot do it yourself. It might be an idea to have a word with the builders and tell them exactly what you propose and then, if they refuse, you can tell them that you are going straight to the solicitor and the solicitor can make the court application without further ado. It is essential you do not delay. Speak to the builders as soon as you can. Does that answer the question for you? Can I asssist further? Please bear with me over the weekend because I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore may not get back to you in minutes

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

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Thank you,
Nicola

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