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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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hi there, i have a fence that neither myself or my neighbour

Customer Question

hi there, i have a fence that neither myself or my neighbour think it belongs to us!!! but regardless of whos it is its all broken and damaged and half lying down in our garden pushing all our trees and shrubs down as well and its caused by all of my neigbours trees and bushes pushing into it and breaking it all down...we are holding some pats up with poles to stop it going down any further to our garden...the neighbour is denying any responability for it? what do i need to do next.many thanks lisa
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  leanne-jones replied 4 years ago.
Hello - my name is Leanne and it will be my pleasure to assist you today.

Do your deeds say who it belongs to or show you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

no they dont

Expert:  leanne-jones replied 4 years ago.
As you look at the house from the road, which side is it on?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The fence is on the left hand side of my house, but shes saying that because she lives on the corner its not her side as she cant be responsible for the whole boundry ie both sides? regardless of whos it is damage is being cause dto our property from her side??



Expert:  leanne-jones replied 4 years ago.
Convention is that you are responsible for the fence to the left of your house (as you look at it from the road) unless otherwise stated in your deeds.

It also depends on who also put up the fence, if your neighbour did then that would support the suggestion that your neighbour is responsible for the fence.

But your deeds should say - it should show. But in the absence convention is you are responsible for the fence to the left hand side. Of course as corner plot it is inevitable that a person may own both fences. But to the left is what is recognised by convention.

Does this clarify? Leanne

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hi ok that does anwer that one so you are saying we take care of the fence to the left hand side?? so what about the damage she has caused to the fence??

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.

I'm very sorry but leanne-jones is no longer available to answer questions. I've been working hard to find another Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I have been asked to look at this for you. I am afraid that the convention
mentioned by my colleague of being responsible to the left or the right is not
actually enforceable in law. It is a bit of a legal myth.

You can of course argue till the cows come home about who owns the fence
but the cost of arguing it under the risks involved are going to be more than
putting up 10 fences.

Assuming that the fence is indeed the responsibility of the neighbour than
leaving the pushing of the trees and shrubs down a side, the neighbour may like
it looking a mess and therefore the best that you can hope for is that it is
your fence and not the neighbours! If there is nothing in the deeds regarding
the fence and it is indeed the neighbours, you cannot compel them to repair it.

In the neighbour is denying all responsibility for it, as indeed you are,
then it would be for a court to decide and that could be an expensive battle
involving boundary surveyor who will probably want a £800 for a report in the
first instance. Even then, the report may be inconclusive or not favourable.

In it is your fence, you can take action against the neighbour if his trees
are pushing your fence over.

You can only take action against the neighbour if it is his fence with
regard to damage caused to your trees and shrubs.

It really comes down to how much you want to spend/risk going to court.

You are entitled to cut down any branches from the trees and the bushes
which come over on to your land. Although you cannot keep the pieces because
they do not belong to you, they belong to the neighbour.

I am going to be brutally frank with you and you will not like the answer but
there is no point in me misleading you.

The cheapest, quickest and most risk-free is for you to take control of the
fence and remove any of his branches which comes over the boundary and is
pushing it over.

Alternatively, by all means take him to court but on the fact that you have
given, I don't think that you are going to win and I think the court case at
best order you to pay 50% each and each bear your own court costs. The court
costs alone could be £5000

I appreciate that this is not the answer you wanted but I'm sure you would
rather have an accurate answer than simply be told what you want to hear.
Please remember that I am being paid for dealing with this not for going to

If I was a solicitor, not being paid for not going to court, I would no
doubt be persuading you to do so. I have no vested interest on whether you have
a good claim, a bad claim or want to go to court or not I am merely under a
duty to give you factually correct information.

Can I help further?

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