Who owns the fences on either side of my property?

I am in dispute with a neighbour about who has responsibility for the fence between our property. When we aquired the propoerty 9 years ago there was a 6ft chain link fence our side of the border and panels to 50% of the length of the garden the other side of the chain link - presumably their side of the boundary. They recently cut back an ivy hedge that covered the length of the fence because they didn't want to keep trimming it. This exposed the chainlink fence and we lost our privacy. So we put up a couple of modesty panels to give us some privacy to our patio. The neighbours then had a long segment of the chain fence cut free and rolled back. (I think they assumed we were going to fence the whole boundary)This has been left unattended because each of us thinks the other is responsible for the replacement of the fence on that boundary. We can't afford a solicitor but wanted to know if there is any usual precedent to identifying a borders owner? i.e I was laways of the impression that the fence to the left of your propoerty (when facing the front of the property) was usually managed by the house on the left. Our house borders a private nursery on our right and we were made to believe that we had to maintain the fence between our properties and have an unwritten agreement on that. Can anyone advise? I'm afraid relations have broken down with the neighbours so we can't pursue this by freindly means.
13:38 Tue 10th Nov 2009
 
Avatar Image
hc4361
Best Answer
You need to download the registered plan of your property from the Land Registry Office (around £4). Hopefully the responsibility for the boundaries will be shown by T markings.
Large Ts should be printed along the boundary, on their side. If the leg of the T is in your garden, you are responsible, if it is in their garden, they are. If there are no Ts but there...
15:38 Tue 10th Nov 2009 Go To Best Answer

1 to 9 of 9

The neighbours then had a long segment of the chain fence cut free and rolled back. (I think they assumed we were going to fence the whole boundary)

Regardless....If it's yours and he's destroyed it then he needs to replace it. If it's his then he's destroyed his own property.

Look at your deeds. It will tell you what you are responsible for. In my last house adjoining houses were responsible 50/50 both sides.
Most solicitors will give a 1/2 hour initial consultation free or you could go to the citizens advice centre. Your property deeds should stipulate who is responsible for which boundary. Can't you talk to your neighbour through an intermediary?
You need to download the registered plan of your property from the Land Registry Office (around £4). Hopefully the responsibility for the boundaries will be shown by T markings.
Large Ts should be printed along the boundary, on their side. If the leg of the T is in your garden, you are responsible, if it is in their garden, they are. If there are no Ts but there are Hs it will be shared responsibility.

Be aware that having responsibility does not mean you have to erect a fence, wall, hedge or any other partition. It means that any partition must be safe from causing damage to the neighbours or their property. It is perfectly legal to take down the partition and not replace it.

You can erect a partition on your side of the boundary and they can do what they like their side.

If it is their responsibility and they do erect a partition, you cannot paint it, bang nails in or do anything else to it without your neighbour's consent. And vice versa.

So, if it is their responsibility as you believe it is, they do not have to put anything up at all.
Illustration of T and H marks.
http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/boundaries.html
Question Author
Thank you. I will have a look at the Deeds, although I do not recall T's or H's on it in the past. But then, I wasn't looking for them. That last answer was particularly useful as I was not aware that you need not erect a fence if you do not want to.
in addition to earlier answers, sometimes there will be a covenant on the deeds requiring you to maintain a boundary treatment so ensure you read it carefully
You do need to check which boundaries you are responsible for. In our first house we 'owned' the fence on the right (looking away from the house), in our second house we 'owned' the one on the left, and in our current house all boundaries are jointly owned!
Its not always a case of who is responsible for the boundary. You also need to consider who OWNs the fence.
The previous owner of my property being the nice gent he was(!!) decided to put a fence up along both sides and the end of the rear garden.
Although under law I am responsible for the left-side boundary, the fences all around are actually all my responsibility.
I could therefore demolish the right-side fence and leave nothing there- the negihbour owns that boundary and if they wanted it fenced would have to pay for it.
Also if a right-side neighbour constructed a 3 foot fence, there is nothing to stop you building a 5 foot fence adjacent to it along the length of your side of the garden, as long as it is within your boundary.
Unless I am missing something, a boundary is not a physical entity as such, it is where one thing ends and something else takes over - an imaginary demarcation line of zero thickness. In this case, one person owns everything on one side and the other one what lies beyond that - the two parts abut, but nobody owns the boundary itself (it takes up zero space). Fences are usually put up on boundaries and therefore they are owned by those who put it up and/or pay for it (one, the other, or both). This ownership is probably quite rarely recorded and the facts get lost after change(s) of ownership. Nobody is responsible for the boundary - it takes care of itself, but the owner(s) of a fence is/are responsible for it. As already said, there is not always any obligation to demarcate a boundary (I was made responsible for fencing land I bought) and boundaries within urban areas are frequently left entirely without delineation of any kind. Hedges and trees on or near boundaries sometimes form a problem because they develop a lot of width to which one party may object - hence the right to trim and obligation to pass the trimmings to their owner.

1 to 9 of 9

Latest posts