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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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We moved to the property in then neighbour said that

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We moved to the property in then neighbour said that her son in law put ip the fence between our gargens consisting of metal posts and two or three lines of wire.Previously she shared gardens with then her neighbour.Since our dogs were arriving from quarantine, we desided to errect(for protection of her garden)3'fence in place of the wire fence.With time ,because of her complaints we change the fence to 6'high.When the lady in question was moved to a nursing home,her doughter and son in law desided to rent the house,but in same time they refused to maintain the fence.We heard that,whomever erected the fence first is responsible for futhure maintanance,even if we change the fence on the request of the previous neighbour.Could you plese clarify the ownership of the fence.We really are ready to share the expencess.
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. In terms of the 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 as would appear to be the case here, 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 one 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" in terms of repairing or maintaining a boundary if one cannot show who erected a particular fence or structure.Ideally you will be able to reach an agreement with your neighbours as generally it would be in both parties interests to maintain some form of boundary structure however there is no requirement for this. If you are unable to reach agreement, in the absence of a binding covenant (it would have been necessary for you to enter into covenants with your neighbours when you purchased the property for this to be relevant which very rarely happens) it is simply question of either doing nothing to the fence between your respective gardens or the person who feels most strongly paying to put up a new fence or repairing the existing one. It very much depends upon the individuals concerned as to how much friction there may or may not be.If you have evidence that you erected a fence, or in default of any evidence your neighbours accept this, this makes the fence your property. This does not confer any obligation to maintain it on your part but it would mean the neighbour could not interfere with the fence without your consent. The same would go for any other fences - however often evidence as to who erected a fence will have been lost over the years. In newer properties the term "party structure" is now commonly used which simplifies the position slightly but with older properties boundaries are a frustrating business though in most cases reasonable neighbours will come to an agreement between themselves on the issue.I hope the above is of assistance though I am sorry that there is no law that gives a concrete basis for action. 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.
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