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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if you have evidence that the fence was purchased jointly by you please?
no - unfortunately it was a while ago so we would have thrown any paperwork by now.
Thanks. In terms of the fence English law is hopelessly deficient when it comes to responsibility and ownership of boundaries. There is no statutory law as to ownership of fences and the fence will belong to the person that paid for the fence or in the absence of such evidence as to who bought it, the person in whose land it is constructed, which typically being the boundary is not always clear
If you can show that you paid for the fence jointly on the balance of probability then part of it at least belongs to you and must be returned however this may be difficult to prove if disputed by the neighbour.
If there is any financial record you can look back at to provide evidence or contact the previous neighbours this may assist.
ok, thanks - I will try to contact our former neighbour and get them to write a statement saying that we did pay half of the cost.
If you can show this you can demand the return of at least the proportion of the fence you paid for. If the fence was built on your land then removing it can constitute a trespass.
Whilst you await for a response from your neighbour you may wish to consider notifying your neighbour that half the fence belongs to you or whatever you claim is the case and reserve your position regarding costs in terms of its replacement if they do not return and re erect the same.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
The thing is, they have replaced it with another fence, but one of their choosing and not one of ours - we were happy with the original one
You have the right to erect a fence on your side to hide the new one. If you can show you owned part of the previous one you could pursue a claim against the neighbours for at least part of the cost of that new fence given their unlawful disposal of the part owned by you.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
no that's great, thank you