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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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We live in a detached house with side access adjacent to neighbour

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We live in a detached house with side access adjacent to neighbour's property.
It is the neighbours boundary with fences between the 2 properties.
The neighbour has recently had work done to her drive, and redone the fences.
BUT she has not used the original boundary line by some six and a half inches.
The resultant problems are
1. The access at the side of our house is now 37 and a half inches (was 31 inches) with a dangerous gap of 6 and a half inches and a 15 inch drop.
2. Removal of part of the retaining wall ...just over 2 ft.
3. Fencing at the front of the house is now longer restricting views from our lounge window.
What are the legal responsibilities?
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you but need more information. Are you tenants or owners of the property. Is the neighbour an owner or tenant?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We along with our neighbour are both owners.
Can you explain a bit more about the retaining wall please? what was being retained, is it still retained. Is there any risk of harm from this change?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The neighbour has a stone wall separating her drive from our garden.
It used to extend to the corner of our building.
She has now extended the fence by about 2 foot (giving restricted viewing), by reducing the length of the stone wall by 2 foot.
The direct consequence of this is that part of our garden (soil with covered pebbles) has no longer any support. It has already started disappearing into the 15 inch deep hole that was caused by the neighbour's repositioning of her fence.
1 As far as the extra 6 inches you have now got with the 15" hole. Of course strictly speaking he should have built on the boundary and made good. In reality if he doesn't agree to move the fence or make good it is such a small thing (I assume the fence is not very long) that you would struggle to bring a legal case. So any threats are of limited effectiveness if they cannot be backed up with action. Why don't you just see this a windfall in that you now a wider path and fill in the hole yourself. If you use it as if it is yours without any issues for long enough you can then possibly claim it as your own land. 2 as far as the blocked view is concerned. In the absence of any particular restrictions (which you would probably know about and which would usually be on the face of the office copy entries - these are most common on relatively modern housing developments-) then if the fence is not of excessive height (ie less than 2 metres) then loss of a view is not something you can do anything about in law.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The fence is long. There are 9 panels each about a metre wide.
Not allowed by the neighbour to fill the hole in as it would touch her fence.
What are the legal arguments if we built a second fence on the boundary using her posts?
You have made no comment on the lack of a retaining wall.
1 That length of wall only about 9 meters will be hard to take action over. 2 She has no right to stop you filling the hole to protect you proeprty 3 Tell me more about the retaining wall. Is there land that was held back that is now likely to collapse?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry just re-measured the length of the fencing (not a wall) .It is well over 14 metres long extending beyond our hose into the garden.
If the hole is not filled whose responsibility is it if there is an injury? Already a dog has injured its paw with a potential vets bill.
There is 2 foot of land not held back .Already 3 inches has disappeared in the 2 weeks since the fence was erected.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Cannot see your reply to the above
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still need to know who is responsible if there is an injury in the hole which is adjacent to my path but on my neighbour's property?
And no response to my previously sent additional information ....2 sections above.
If there is an injury I think there might well be joint responsibility. Your neighbour has caused the problem but it is on your side of the fence. If someone was to fall and hurt themselves then she has caused the problem but you have not taken steps to minimise the risk. I am having trouble visualising the retaining wall and how the effect you describe is happening. But it does sound like she may have acted negligently at the least. Perhaps you could explain the problem to t neighbour and try to agree to instruct a surveyor together to come and assess the problem and possible ways to fix it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The hole is on my side of the very long fence but it is her property.She is happy for me to build a fence on her boundary parallel to her new fence .It would be over 14 metres long and at my cost....over £600.
But if I did erect the parallel fence
Who is responsible for maintaining it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
And what are the implications if I sell my property with my fence on her boundary?
I don't understand why you don't just occupy the new land and hope you gain possession of it over time through adverse possession. I don't see ay reason to build a second fence. The implication if it is sold within 10 years is that there would be that anomoly, but so what? If after after 10 years uninterrupted use then you or your successor in title would be entitled to argue that they own it now.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You have missed the reasons for considering building the fence,viz;-
There is a 14 metre 15 inches deep....very dangerous hole enough to trap an ankle etc., .There has been and will be injuries.We cannot police it!
The new fence is badly finished and was originally 2.6 metres high and then some cut off whilst in situ to comply with planning requirements.
What would be involved in transferring legal ownership to the extra land to ourselves, as the neighbour may well agree to this?
1 I have already dealt with this. 2 If it is ugly that is just unfortunate of it in on their land and doesn't breach any rules then they can do it. 3. In terms of purchasing the land to make it official the land would need to be conveyed in the usual way of any land purchase.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The dangerous hole is the key issue. Sorry but I do not feel this has been dealt with to our satisfaction.
You have said it is a joint responsibility, but how do we carry out these unwanted responsibilities?.....policeing someone else's property that now has a dangerous hazard on our access to the garden that is used daily... often when we are not at home. We have already had 2 minor accidents in the space of 3 weeks.I hate to think what would happen in winter when the
access path is covered with snow concealing the dangerous hole.
The matter has been repeatedly discussed with our neighbour but with no progress. She ignores the issue.
So how do you suggest we fulfil our so called joint responsibilities?
Why can't you just fill in the hole?
LondonlawyerJ and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Have consulted builders on this issue.
It would be a lot of concrete or whatever, but more importantly it would break into her fence.
We have suggested filling the hole to her, but she as yet refused to consent.
Sorry don't know what to do next....any more suggestions from yourself ? you may be our last resort!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Need to know if you still feel a serious injury in the hole on her land is a joint responsibility?
If so I will need a second opinion.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will gladly rate the service once I know your answer to the above question.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry if you didn't get my last above.Will gladly rate the service once I know your answer to the above question, as repeated below:-
Need to know if you still feel a serious injury in the hole on her land is a joint responsibility?
If so I will need a second opinion.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would appreciate an early reply, by noon on Monday at the latest, as I will be away for several weeks, and will not be contactable.
Thanks for your help.
An injury in the hole on her land on your side of he fence could be a joint responsibility. It will depend on the facts but essentially if there is a foreseeable risk of harm and you have not done something to abate that risk and harm results then yes you could have liability. I have only just see the last few questions. they were not showing at my end for some reason.