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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have just moved into a victorian terraced house - no boundary

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I have just moved into a victorian terraced house - no boundary issues or changes appeared on the searches. It appears that the fence to one side encroaches on our land by approx 1 foot, this is significant as the garden is only around 14 feet wide. Before I approach the neighbours I would just like to know whether the fact that the boundary can be clearly defined by taking the central point between the two properties and drawing a straight line (currently the boundary has a 'dog leg' because of the chain link fence) means it is easy to resolve and shouldn't involve any dispute or legal wrangling.
Thank you question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

what makes you think that the fence is in the wrong position? Is there any evidence anywhere that it has been moved? Is it obvious from the plans or you going from the measurements?

You know how long it’s been in its current position for?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There are no external measurements to refer to. The land registry shows the boundary in a straight line between all the terraced properties in the street - none dog leg. You can see from the external brick work where the centre line between the properties is - however, the fence is missing in its entirety at this point - there is currently a childs cot dividing the properties at the central point - the chain link fence commences some six feet or so from the rear wall of the properties and clearly encroaches onto our land.

It is not an original fence and no idea how long the fence has been there the other occupants may not know either as they moved in in Aug 2014.

When I referred to external measurements I was talking about the measurements between the two properties being divided between the properties, what is actually physically on the ground.
You say that the chain-link fence clearly encroaches on your land.
Why does it clearly do that? I need to know what evidence there is.
Is it that if you followed the line of the chain-link fence to the wall where the gap is, it would be 12 inches over to one side?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't really understand what you mean regarding the external measurements. But, the properties are all the same width and the gardens would normally be the same width too ie the same width as the houses.

The evidence regarding the encroachment is that, the central point between the properties can be clearly seen on the dividing external wall - this normally and usually demarcates the gardens in that you would attach a fence at this central point and it be in a straight line from this point.

Yes, the chain link fence is 12 inches over to one side from this central line - to our detriment.

Thank you.

That is what I meant, the physical measurement between the two properties, i.e. the centre line.

There are certain things which help you and certain things which don’t.

Once the fence has been in this position years or more then it can stay in that position provided it’s been in that position without consent or objection than that 10 years.

Although common sense would dictate that the boundary was midway between the 2 properties and that both areas with the same, strange thing happened when the Victorians were building houses. So although that would seem logical, it’s not actually definitive.

There is a straight line on the boundary on the title plan and that helps you also a 12 inch deviation on the plan would hardly be visible because of the scale of the plan. You will probably find that the line around the property is about 8 inches wide when you measure it on the ground and therefore a 12 inch deviation is unlikely to show up but that wouldn’t stop you making the point.

If the line of the chain fence carries on and hits the house 12 inches over from the centre line that helps you as does the fact that there is no logical reason dogleg unless some other buildings have been removed at some stage that accounts .

Whilst there is no definitive evidence as to where the boundary should be, if this were to go to court it would be decided on the balance of probabilities. That means that it hasn’t got to be absolutely certain the fences in the wrong place but it has to be more likely than not and it would appear that in your case it’s more likely than not that the fence is in the wrong place. The only potential problem you have is the length of time the fence has been where it currently is and if the neighbours come up with some proof that it has been there than 10 years but probably enough to defeat your claim to be in the wrong place.

If you have house insurance, check the policy because some policies have legal expenses cover that may pay costs if this were to go to court. If this were to go to court the loser could easily face a legal bill which could be as much as £10,000 or more. reason, if I were your neighbour I would probably agree that the boundary should go down the middle. It might sweeten the pill a little if you agree that you would pay fence to go down the centre in the correct place.

This is not something that your solicitor would have picked up in his enquiries unless the responses did say that one of the boundaries had been moved which would seem to be unlikely.

Can I clarify anything ?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can you clarify the 10 year's you mention - I thought it was 12 years until 2002 and then thought that subsequent law in 2002, regardless of fencing in land changed this to only allow the loss of that land if the landowner consented?

Also, what evidence would be required to prove the time period?

It is 10 years of the land is registered at the land Registry and 12 years if it is not registered.

Independent witness statements would be helpful but not those of a previous owner.
Dated photographs
expert witness evidence from the surveyor which says that in his opinion the fences been there longer than 10 years because of the condition it's in

Basically anything at all. There is no hard fast rule.
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