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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Property Law
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I live in a 3 bedroom 1950's semi, in the back garden each

house has a concrete post... Show More
house has a concrete post and chain link boundary fence seperating the gardens. Most are the original fences put up when the houses were built, abit rusty but still servicable.
Last weekend my next door neighbour took down the full length of the fence and removed all concrete posts that seperate no 14 (my garden) with no 12 (my neighbours garden)and when challenged said that the boundary fence would not be replaced.
The reason stated is that I have just had a full length close board fence put up within my boundary down the side of the garden in question to keep a new puppy in and they don't want weeds to grow up between the boundary fence and my wooden fence - which by the way I have had a 6ft fence there for many years in same position but twice thay have blown down and I have replaced them on both occasions.
I pointed out that they have taken approx 1foot from the width of my garden for the full 21metres.
And finally, in my Deeds it quite clearly states that 'To forever maintain on the sides of the property hereby transferred which are marked 'T' on the Plan annexed hereto a fence of similar type and quality as that erected by the Transferer'
What am I to do? and can you help... yours Lesley Skidmore
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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. For the avoidance of doubt do I understand correctly that prior to the removal of the chain link fence you erected a fence on your land effectively reducing the size of your garden in practice please? If I have understood this correctly may I ask why you decided to do this rather than erecting the fence in place of the chain link fence?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago.

the chain link fence is the boundary fence which I thought belongs neither to my neighbour or myself but is a shared boundary
the fence I have paid for myself is within my boundary and belongs to me solely and put up for my and my familys convenience.

We also share a drive which has been a major issue in the [past and we have only just begun to communicate again as her husband has left the premises and he has been aggresive to myself and my daughter for many years ( he is an alcholic)

Sorry, my computer is abit iffy so operating on the old XP system which means I have to log out and log in again causing delays sorry!

Many thanks for the above. In terms of fences 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 property 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 ("to do" something such as maintain a fence) 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 but those circumstances are relatively uncommon. It is therefore frustratingly, normally 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. In this case it is likely to be difficult for either you or your neighbour to show who owned the fence in question as it not likely to be clear who erected it (possibly it was the original developer) and therefore your neighbour removing it may be an act of criminal damage and/or trespass. However as it is likely to be equally difficult for you to show title to the chain fence it is not likely something that would be worth pursuing in the courts. You could make a complaint to the police under criminal damage but whether they would take the matter further is a matter for the investigating officer. The main issue you have from what you say is the risk that you may lose some of your garden to a claim by your neighbour that the new fence you have erected is the boundary line. Ideally you would simply relocate your fence to the boundary line of the old fence but of course this would incur not insignificant contractor costs. Accordingly in the assumption you will not wish to do this you will wish to consider steps to guard against the neighbour making a claim to any of your land. To do this consider taking pictures showing the location of the chain fence post holes while they are still fresh relative to your land and measuring the distance between them and your fence and serving notice on your neighbour that you object to teh removal of the chain fence which did not belong to him and pointing out that ?? cm of the land on the far side of your fence belongs to you and he should not interfere with it or occupy it in any way including but not limited to placing objects on it, plantin anything on it or building anything on it and you will at some point in the future relocate your fence to the correct boundary line. Keep a copy of the notice and photos as evidence in the event that there is any future dispute. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.