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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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About 1995 the neighbouring house was demolished to create

Customer Question

About 1995 the neighbouring house was demolished to create access to fields/paddocks behind and to allow the building of houses. This access road runs along the side my house and there is a strip of land, about 10/12 feet, between the side of my house and the new road. The developers landscaped this land and erected a 3 panel trellis screening about 4/5 feet from my house, the latter was partly to give us some privacy. Two trellis panels and posts are now worn out/rotted and need replacing.
The developer set up a management company with responsibility for managing the common areas on the new estate and each new house owner is a member of that company with a board of directors etc.
I recently contacted the management company to advise of the problem with trellis screening and said that I was willing to discuss contributing towards the replacement costs. The response has been that the trellis is of no benefit to the company, they will remove the damaged screens but will not pay for its replacement. However as a neighbourly gesture they will allow me to pay for the replacement if I want it, provided that the new trellis/posts becomes their property. If I were to do this, I would have no future control over that trellis, whether it was left in position or at some point removed. The way in which the adjacent landscaped area is maintained has changed significantly in the past few years and this does not give me confidence that a new trellis screen would not be affected in the coming years.
I have reassured the company that if I pay for the new trellis (approx. cost £200) I am not making any claim to their land but their view is that the legal issues would too complex if they allowed “my” trellis on their land. What might these complex legal issues be and can I mitigate them in any way?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Will they give you consent to remove their fence?

If they will do that, can you direct a new fence immediately on your land, a few centimetres over so that it is totally on your land?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They have granted me permission to carry out the repairs at my expense. There is a boundary dispute with the company although not a formal one. I believe that my boundary is about 2 feet from the side of my house but they say my house wall is the boundary. My house is not registered with Land Registry and was built about 1840 so the deeds do not include a precise description. Likewise their deeds do not give precise measurements. If I put the trellis within the disputed 2 feet, it will reduce my access for maintenance purposes and restrict the natural light in my window.










Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
That is strange if what they are saying is correct.

Your house might not be registered with the land registry, but the developers land will be and it might be worth getting their title deeds from the land registry, along with the plan. If you do not have the up-to-date ones already. Their plan should show your property and the boundary, even if yours is not registered.

Here is the link to the land registry website where you can buy their title deeds!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

If there is no address from which you can identify this land, you will need to complete land registry form SIM to do a Search of the Index Map at the Land registry and send it to the land registry with a large-scale ordnance survey plan identifying the land you are enquiring about. The land registry will not accept Google Earth plans. It must be based on the ordnance survey. Once you have the results of the SIM, you can then buy the title deeds online for under £10. Deeds rarely give precise measurements but can give an indication. The boundary dispute is another issue altogether

Unless the neighbouring landowner covenanted in their deeds themselves to erect and maintain this fence, they cannot be made to do so. It would be most unlikely that they had done that because it would give them a commitment as long as they owned the land.

They are under no obligation to repair even if in the deeds, it is noted as being their responsibility and they can let it fall into disrepair, provided it does not fall onto your land or cause damage

The best you could hope for would be that they would allow you to remove their fence and replace it with your own.

However, if they will not let you do that unless they then have title to the fence, you may not want to do that.

I cannot see what difference it makes whether they have title to the fence or you have title to it because they have no interest in repairing it in any event, although there is one thing that they could do and that is remove it altogether.

If they are adamant that they will not let you remove their fence unless they own the new fence, ask them if you can remove the fence which belongs to them because you are then going to put a new fence up which is completely on your land. It will only need to be a few centimetres over towards your land and they will have no control over it at all.

When I say put it on your side of the current boundary, I mean literally by the thickness of a post which should not make much difference either to light or to access

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you.

I have concerns about putting the new trellis on what I believe is my land because:

1. it may well open up the boundary dispute issue and I would not want to start incurring legal or other costs in fighting my corner;

2. the management company may either remove my new fence on the grounds that it is on their property or "accidently" damage it.


If we assume for the moment that the position of the management company (ie they want to own the new trellis) is driven by genuine even if not valid legal concerns, is there anything I can say that will reassure them? I've tried saying that I am not making any claim to the land on which the replacement trellis will be sited but it hasn't had a positive impact .Is there anything-else?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.

I'm out tonight but I will look at this tomorrow if thats OK?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes thank you.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.

Sorry for the delay.

there are two options. Either you replace the fence or they do.

They will not replace it. You cannot make them unless they covenanted to replace it in the deeds.

They have already said that they will not let you replace it. Unless they have ownership.

You do not want to put your own fence on your own land in case it opens up a dispute over whether it is your land, or not..

Once you have occupied the disputed land for 10 years or more, you can apply to have it registered at yours in any event under the doctrine of adverse possession. My suggestion therefore would be to pay for the fence, let them have control of it, and once 10 years have passed, get the piece of land which is in issue registered in your name.
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Remus2004 and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Thanks for your advice. A few more questions.


1. Are you suggesting that I pay for the replacement trellis to be placed on their land or on the disputed land? If the former, how can I be reasonably confident that they will not remove the new trellis in a few years time as part of revamping the landscaped area if I have given them control?

2. What happens if they damage the new trellis if it is on the disputed land?


3. I have already done a Search of the Index Map at the Land Registry for the strip of adjacent land and it shows a thick red line by the side of my house. No measurements so it doesn't help.

What are the benefits of me registering my property now?



Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.



I will have a look at this tonight if thats OK?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
There are two issues here. The fence and the land.

If you put the fence up on their land and the ownership of the land is disputed and they start to take it down, you can immediately apply to court for an injunction to stop them on the basis that the land is in dispute and it is potentially criminal damage. You lose that right if you give them control of the fence. The alternative is that you do not have the fence on their land because they will only consent with condition and the condition is that you give them control of the fence.

If you want a guarantee with this, you take them to court over the disputed land and let the judge decide whose land it is. If you win, it resolves the issue because you then know exactly where the boundaries and the developer will have to pay your costs. If you lose, it's still resolves the issue, but you will have to pay the developer's costs.

At the moment, you have a whole load of problems and I can understand your concern, but there is no magic solution.

You want a fence put up, but have concerns about raising boundary dispute over what you believe is your land.

You cannot make the developer put it up. There is no reason why you should put the fence on their land.

I would suggest that you put it on the boundary between the land which they own and the disputed land.
If you give them control of it, they could always take it down, but I think that is something which at this stage, is not worth worrying about if the old one has been there for so long that it has fallen into disrepair.

It also depends if that strip of disputed land really, adds anything to the adjacent land, whereby they could build a house on it, with the disputed land but not without

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