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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 17234
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My wife and I are in our late eighties and quite frail..Our

Customer Question

My wife and I are in our late eighties and quite frail..Our house backs one toa a property whose owner has built a shed which roof rests on top of our fence and stops us replacing two panels.He has also covered the roof of the shed with a plastic sheet which he has folded onto our side and nailed on our side.When I spoke to him he told me it was too late to do anything.Please advise.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: No
JA: Where is the house located?
Customer: Directly behind our property
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We live in Bury, Lancs .
Submitted: 8 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 8 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

how long ago did he do this?

if you tell him to remove it is he likely to get aggressive?

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I first noticed the placement of the roof two months ago, but the sheeting put on this week. I spoke to him when he was on the roof cutting back a tree. He was dismissive,but not particularly aggressive.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 days ago.

It’s not too late to do anything, he can remove it. I assume it’s not been in place for many years. I mean more than 20 years.

It has been in place more than 20 years he can claim an easement for it to continue to remain in place.

Firstly I will mention that there is no legal convention that property on one side owns one boundary in the property on the other side owns another. There is also no legal convention that the property that has the “good side” of the fence is the owner or vice versa.

Fences and boundary walls can be in 3 positions.

You need to remember that the boundary is a mythical pencil line on the ground.

So the boundary feature (wall or fence) can straddle the boundary line or can be all on your side oral on the neighbour’s side.

If it is all on the neighbour’s side you cannot touch it and vice versa.

If on the other hand it straddles the boundary both of you can attach things to it but neither of you can demolish it without the consent of the other. Nor could it be rebuilt without the consent of the other.

The reason for this is that anything which is attached to the land becomes part of the land. Therefore anything which straddles the mythical boundary pencil line is half owned by one property and half owned by the other and it’s impossible to separate the two.

It actually doesn’t matter who put the boundary feature up, the half which is on the neighbour’s land becomes the neighbours.

Even if there are T marks on the title deeds denoting responsibility for a boundary feature, that only applies at the date the deeds were drawn, things can change later. Although the marks may impart responsibility, it doesn’t put a liability to keep the boundary feature in good repair unless there is a separate covenant stating so.

So he is entitled to have this up to the boundary and no further. Otherwise it is common law trespass and possibly nuisance.

You are entitled, if necessary, to take him to court to compel him to remove the trespass and you can ask the court to award costs against him.

You may find that a strongly worded letter from a solicitor threatening a court application and an application for costs, may focus the mind without actually the need to get to court.

Check your house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover that would pay for the legal cost of taking this to court. Unlikely, but do check.

I am glad to help.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

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If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread does not close. In fact, it remains open indefinitely.

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You don’t need to do it on this thread, just a new thread. You have me exclusively on this one.

Thank you.

Best wishes.


Expert:  F E Smith replied 6 days ago.

Can I assist you any further with this? Please remember that I am always available to answer any follow-up questions that you may have and I am happy to deal with any new questions.

Kind regards