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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Please advise on property boundaries and who is responsible

Resolved Question:

Please advise on property boundaries and who is responsible for their renewal. My house deeds state and show that my fence is to the right hand side of the property when viewed from the front, and facing it. A neighbour, whose right hand fence forms the bottom of my garden fence, states that it is mine. Help please.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

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.

Joshua :

May I ask if the property was bought by you from new please? If not roughly how old is it?

Customer:

The property was built in 1971, therefor 43 years old, and we have lived here for just ten years.

Joshua :

Thanks. With your permission I will be with you in a few moments...

Joshua :

In terms of the fence English law is hopelessly deficient when it comes to responsibility and ownership of boundaries. There is no statutory law and the only way in which obligations are enforced are by way of covenants which easily lapse. The normal position with most second-hand properties, as opposed to new build properties is that unless either party can prove who erected a wall or fence, neither party can lay claim to it as their own unless it is clear that it is built on their land - sometimes this is clear but often it is not. Even if one person can clearly establish who owns a fence or this is not in dispute, unless a binding covenant can be shown to exist which is rare in second-hand properties because positive covenants do not bind purchasers after the original purchasers automatically, neither party can enforce the other to maintain a boundary structure or make a claim against the other for damage or removal of the same. The exception to this is if the neighbour accepts the fence is theirs and you can show that the structure is dangerous (as opposed unsightly or not fit for purpose). In those circumstances there is both a common law and statutory basis under which to potentially force the neighbour to rectify the danger.

Joshua :

It is therefore normally typically a question of reaching agreement with your neighbours on an informal basis or a case of whoever "blinks first" in terms of repairing or maintaining a boundary if one cannot show who erected a particular fence or structure.

Joshua :

In the absence of a binding covenant which is very rare, the neighbour cannot force you to repair or replace the fence against your wishes nor you he.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

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