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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 791
Experience:  Experienced solicitor
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My neighbour is reconstructing a back garden fence between

Resolved Question:

My neighbour is reconstructing a back garden fence between our semis.
He replaced the original fence some 20 years ago when we were away from home without prior warning. We said nothing.
He has just now built a low wall (3-bricks high) interspersed with wooden fence posts with wooden fence panels atop the bricks, from the bottom of our gardens up to the beginning of his cement patio. This looks nice and I said he could do so when work was in progress – although I was not asked first. The fence running alongside his patio was always a different style to the rest, I believe this is because his cement is right up to my boundary, and exceeded it as his old fence overhung by an inch or so.
My problem is the replacement fence alongside his patio. I have a narrow flower bed my side of the cement and wrote a letter (sent recorded but not collected, and so also hand-delivered) to say I did not want a wall on it, but was happy enough to accommodate half of a new fence post on my land as the long fence panel span had previously collapsed in the middle.
Despite pleas to the workmen the concrete was difficult to break and now the entire fence post is on my side. In fact, with the vegetation now cleared, it seems the wall-fence is on my side also! It is minor I know. But my neighbour has been talking of building an extension on his patio and also complained of a clothes line hook I fixed to his post (my side the boundary).
Of course I am not going to demand he take anything down, but where do I stand?
Suppose I want to build an extension up to our boundary line? Can I take down the patio fence (now attached at one end to my house wall, to be precise my side of the cavity party wall) without his permission?
Can I fix things on the part of his fence post which is on my land/side?
Has my neighbour inadvertently gifted me this wall-fence if it now lies on my land? Who then maintains it?
Although the boundary between the semis is fairly easily measured and a brick count confirms the distance, do I have to do anything to ensure this land remains mine? I would not want my neighbour’s extension wall on my flowerbed and fear it might aggravate noise problems inside the house with our cavity party wall.
Also, I am worried that he might lift the fence panels sometime in the future and continue his wall up to the house, presenting me with a finished job.
Advice please!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
LondonlawyerJ :

Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

LondonlawyerJ :

As far as the fence is concerned if he has built this on your land then it is yours but the responsibility for maintaining the fence will remain with whoever had the responsibility before. Has he built a wall, a fence or a hybrid structure by your flower bed adjacent to his patio?

LondonlawyerJ :

You can put whatever you like on the fence posts if they are on your land. You should make it clear to him in writing that he has encroached on your land without permission and you have not agreed to this. If you do not want him to remove the fence you can say that for now you are not requiring him to remove it but make sure it is clear and that you reserve the right to remove your permission at anby time. This will prevent him ever claiming that he has taken possession of the land through adverse possession (squatter's rights).

Customer:

Thank you. My neighbour has built a fence by my flower bed adjacent to his patio. He has so far honoured my request not to put foundations/bricks on my flowerbed. If he will not sign for letters I send him, what is the best course of action? I do not really want the expense of instructing solicitors on such a small matter.

Customer:

Please answer my previous . Is letter below OK? Thanks

Customer:

LondonlawyerJ says:


4:08 PM

Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.


4:10 PM

As far as the fence is concerned if he has built this on your land then it is yours but the responsibility for maintaining the fence will remain with whoever had the responsibility before. Has he built a wall, a fence or a hybrid structure by your flower bed adjacent to his patio?


4:16 PM

You can put whatever you like on the fence posts if they are on your land. You should make it clear to him in writing that he has encroached on your land without permission and you have not agreed to this. If you do not want him to remove the fence you can say that for now you are not requiring him to remove it but make sure it is clear and that you reserve the right to remove your permission at anby time. This will prevent him ever claiming that he has taken possession of the land through adverse possession (squatter's rights).

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Dear

Thank you so much for our lovely new fence and I do hope we will enjoy it for many years to come.

I am disappointed that my wishes to put the two patio fence posts astride our boundary line has not been honoured and that they are, if not entirely, then almost entirely, on my side of the line. You have encroached on my land without permission and I did not give you permission to do this. The post affixed to the house is also on my side of the boundary line (except maybe a millimetre or two). And as the rest of your new fence seems aligned with the post at the garden end of the patio, then the whole new fence-wall lies just to the side of our boundary and on my land!

This is of no concern at present and I am certainly not asking you to remove it, but I have taken legal advice and am writing to confirm I have never given permission for you to erect a fence on my land and reserve the right to remove my permission at any time. This is to prevent you from taking possession of the land through adverse possession (squatter’s rights).

As the fence is on my land I am advised it is mine, but the responsibility for maintaining it remains with whoever had the responsibility before ie you.

I have also been told I can put whatever I like on the fence posts if they are on my land, or if half of the post is on my land! I would, of course, not wish to put anything on your side of the fence or fence posts.

With kind regards ***** ***** wishes


LondonlawyerJ :

Well, the tone may be a little provocative, perhaps less sarcasm.........

Customer:

OK - but am I worrying needlessly and maybe shooting myself in the foot as it may give problems when I sell (we're all over 60)? Am I being silly or sensible? Of course I am annoyed he has ignored me, but should I maybe bite the bullet? If he doesn't sign for letters is it OK to send several, get them returned so I can claim his avoidance? (Final question then I'll rate you !)

LondonlawyerJ :

You normally have to declare disputes with neighbours when you sell property. It is really for you to decide which will be worse when you sell, an ongoing dispute over a small slice of land or the appearance that your property is smaller than it in fact is.

LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 791
Experience: Experienced solicitor
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