View Full Version : Fencing madness

22nd Apr 2005, 09:28
It is rare that Candoo's blood boils - rant mode on.

Why is the subject of who is responsible for a garden fence dividing properties such an emotive issue?

One of my rear garden fences has been slowly deteriorating over the years and has finally given in and collapsed. My deeds indicate that the fence is neighbours responsibility so hadn't bothered particularly about it before. Being the good sport I am called next door and offered to split the cost of a nice new fence for both our benefit. Said neighbour told me where to go in no uncertain terms and fix it myself.

Next thing I know local council (freeholders) call round saying they have received a complaint from next door about the state of our fence and it is my responsibility to repair!

I tried to have a sensible conversation but was told that they were fed up with my neighbours persistent telephone calls and couldn't we come to an agreement. Showed him a copy of my deeds and left it at that. Yesterday a letter arrived from the council with a new drawing indicating the fence as my responsibility!

Have they just got p!ssed off with next door and redrawn the rules?
What is my legal standing as, to me, my deeds are quite clear?

Why is it so bl00dy complicated - All I want is a nice, peaceful life where there is good will to all men!!

Have a good weekend, I won't I'll be arguing about fences!

Rant mode off.

22nd Apr 2005, 09:39
Sue the neighbor for non-perfomance of legal obligation according to deed title and sue the council for unilaterally changing the map to suit their view of things + costs for aggrivation and harassment and all legal costs.

To hell with them. Make it painfull.

(not a lawyer)

22nd Apr 2005, 09:46
Know this problem well. Our elderly neighbour who has the responsibility to fix the fence refuses to. Yesterday, they 'crossed the line' when a large evil looking dog owned by one of his relations wandered into our garden causing phnufflet and friends to run screaming into her wendy house. To date we have been quite polite as he is an old boy living alone, but now . . . .

22nd Apr 2005, 09:48
See a lawyer, mate. First consult is often free these days. Keep every bit of correspondence and make notes of conversations. Good luck.

tony draper
22nd Apr 2005, 10:01
Proceed with caution Mr Candoo,one has seen war with neigbours take over peoples lives, like a chap I do jobs for up the coast,one has intalled 11 cameras round his house to date,and he asked me once if I could lay my hands on a handgun for him.

22nd Apr 2005, 10:23
Try consulting the folks at Gardenlaw.co.uk

They have a discussion forum...

Garden Law Discussion Forum (http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/index.php)

Doesn't quite compare to JetBlast - but you may find it useful.

22nd Apr 2005, 10:28
Don't bother with the courts, it will cost you time, grief and money. Shift onto the offensive. Build a huge ugly big brick wall and add some Leylandii for good measure. if he doesn't like it then he will have to go to the courts.

Good Luck

22nd Apr 2005, 10:43
Interesting that this topic should come up today as, yesterday, I spent all day with my neighbour erecting a fence between our properties.

According to the deeds, I am responsible for "maintaining" all of the fences. The original fences were put up by the previous owner who, at that time, owned both properties. The previous owner was a wonderful, eccentric old dear who put up barbed wire fences with an assortment of posts, including old bed posts, and these extend all around the property.

None of the fences will stop animals and we get lots of deer. At the end of my garden, there is a field and there are sometimes horses in this field. Occasionally, because the owner left them there long after they had eaten all the grass, the horses broke into my garden. I should stress that this is not a problem for me as I am not a keen gardener and my only concern was that the horses could get out onto the road.

This raises the question of the definition of a "fence" which I am responsible for "maintaining".

Should it be the same as when the deeds were signed unless improved by agreement with the neighbours? (For me, the neighbour at that time was the original owner).

Should it be capable of restraining whatever creatures your neighbour should decide to keep?

Is a fence purely a means of marking a boundary?

I should stress that I have superb neighbours, each side, and we have agreed to share the cost, and work, of putting up the new fence on one side, because he wanted something better than the original. I was just off to settle up with hime when I saw this thread. The other side have put up their own fence on their own property so all I have to do is maintain the boundary.

My neighbour who now owns the field and doesn't look after his horses, is a professional pilot and had tried to sell me some of his field at an extortionate price. If he brings the price down and I do buy, he will insist on good wooden fencing as he has done with others who have bought. In the meantime, I do not see that I am responsible for keeping his horses in his field.

22nd Apr 2005, 11:52
One of our neighbours is a frail old lady who lives alone since her husband passed away several years ago.
She has a huge conifer tree on the side of her garden adjacent to ours, which has killed the hedge in that section by blocking out the light, and also prevented our grass from growing in the shaded area.
We tactfully asked her last year if the tree had any emotional attachment, and she confirmed that her deceased husband had planted it on the birth of their first child.
So now we have no intention of asking her to do anything about the tree, but realistically we suspect that she won't be able to maintain the house for much longer and will need to move somewhere smaller.
The question is, when and if her house is sold, will we have any right to ask the new owners to trim the offending tree?
It doesn't acutally overhang the boundary very far, just casts an enormous shadow.
Candoo - good luck with your problem, ours is very trivial by comparison.

22nd Apr 2005, 12:23
Just in passing

Trees can be quite susceptible to simple products like salt.

22nd Apr 2005, 12:29
Candoo...just my opinion, fix the fence yourself. Is it really worth the grief to argue about what is a minor thing in all of life's problems?

And remember, revenge is a dish best served cold!

22nd Apr 2005, 12:38
DubTrub - You're not my neighbour are you????

Seriously, suspect you are right but makes me wonder if my deeds are correct. You know fence one day, whole garden is not really mine next...........

tony draper
22nd Apr 2005, 13:12
I read somewhere that a that whoever builds/owns/ is responsible garden fence must face the good side of said fence toward the neigbours land, ie the side with the unsightly support timber must face the fence builders garden, which side are the support timbers in this case Mr candoo?

22nd Apr 2005, 13:27
Mr Draper - utter rubbish I'm afraid. If it's your fence, you can face it whichever way you like. If it's your fence, you neighbour may not, without your express permission, grow anything on it, paint it, attach anything to it, even lean a bike on it.

Candoo - log onto the Land Registry website and download the deeds for the neigbouring property. This should then be compared to your deeds as to responsibilty for boundaries. The Council cannot arbitrarily change the rules to suit themselves - what is registered - goes.

Once you know that it is the Council's fence, badger them. Involve your ward member, keep ringing and don't be fobbed off.

BTW, unless specifically stated otherwise in the deeds, string along a line of poles is a legal fence - its function is to mark the boundary. It is your neighbour's responsibilty to prevent his (or his visitor's) dog from entering your property.

22nd Apr 2005, 13:32
The above should be the case as to the 'Good' side of the fence but my neighbours have just had a nice new fence put in and it's the wrong way round. It doesn't really bother me and I didn't have the heart to tell the guy that it was wrong (coz then he may want to talk about cutting some of my trees down again!!). I've ended up with 2 'Bad' sides but not going to lose any sleep over it...

22nd Apr 2005, 14:04
Mr Draper - real conudrum I'm afraid half the fence is one way the other half the other, two different types of fence. Perhaps this is evidence of a past disute!!

patdavies - thanks for that.

tony draper
22nd Apr 2005, 14:22
You may well be right Mr Davies, but if its a myth tiz a commonly held one, last time I heard it (and one has heard and a few times), it was on of those endless gardening progs on telly.

22nd Apr 2005, 14:31
Is it also a myth then, that if you look down your garden, the fence on the right hand side is yours?

Its certainly true in my garden.

tony draper
22nd Apr 2005, 14:54
Of course a soution might be to dig a
Ha Ha, one fell down a Ha Ha once running at full tilt.

22nd Apr 2005, 15:10
Took patdavies advice and now even more p!ssed off.

All this kicked off at the end of March.

I looked up my address at the land registry and the leasehold entry had been amended on 5th April and the freehold one on the 7th April.

Bit bl00dy obvious I'm being stitched up here, surely I should have been informed and given a reason. Have they the right to change this willy-nilly. Next they'll be allocating my second floor to the flat above. Need to review the situation over a stiff drink this evening!!

Thinking about it must go and look up other neighbours details and see if they have changed cos this is going to have a knock on effect all down the terrace! How much has this cost???

22nd Apr 2005, 15:41
I agree it seems to be a major problem, depending on the neighbour's demeanour. I am lucky in that my neighbours are OK and a blown down fence last year was paid for 50/50 by both of us. Don't know who is actually responsible for it but would rather maintain good relations with them.

Of course this doesn't help you!!

23rd Apr 2005, 01:13
Well having spent 8 squid actually downloading stuff am none the wiser other than all near properties have had their details updated at, or near, the same time.

Unfortunately the details given on the Land Register do not outline responsible boundaries.

Guess I'll just have bigger, better, louder BBQ's this summer and invite all me rugger bugger chums.

Who needs fences anyway?

Howard Hughes
23rd Apr 2005, 03:29

As I live in Oz not quite sure of the rules in the old dart. But are you saying that they have moved the boundary so that the fence is all on your title? (Normally I thought fences were shared title)

Anyway if this is so, then surely that means the boundary between you and your neighbour has moved, thus giving you a little more property. I would erect a new fence that encroaches somewhat on to his property up to the new boundary, then see what he does.;)

Cheers, HH.


PS: Probably have'nt helped much, but it would be funny...

Ascend Charlie
23rd Apr 2005, 03:48
I had a grumpy unco-operative neighbour, with whom I had spoken bad words over her multiple dogs and their voluminous barking and output of smelly [email protected] We studiously ignored each other for many years.

The boundary fence was not a straight line, but more of a Harry Potter lightning bolt, with one part of the zig attached to the back of the garage, the zag was the garage wall, and the next zig went to the front boundary. I often wondered why the boundary went like that, because it gave the neighbour free use of some of my land - the title survey showed a straight line, missing the garage completely.

When time came to upgrade the falling-down fence, I reluctantly approached the neighbour (by note) for half the cost and was ignored again. I was a bit worried that she would be legally able to claim my land as hers, having had unfettered use of it for over 7 years. So, i had the land surveyed again, had prominent markers installed, wrote her a note that the fence was moving to the correct line, waited for some time for the non-existent reply, and built the fence.

Then when I got a lawyer to write her an official letter demanding half the cost, her daughter from far away abused me for harrassing the dear old biddy, and she had no money anyway. I eventually got about 30% of the cost out of her. Have moved away since then, and have heard that the new owners get along famously with her.

Maybe it's ME who is the grumpy one...:8

Loose rivets
24th Apr 2005, 06:57
There is often no requirement for a physical fence. If this is the case, the responsibility for maintenance is academic.

Look into covenants for a requirement to fence....a separate issue, but may put the onus onto one party or 'tother

It used to be the understanding that ‘nails point home.' Local legend?

A ditch boundary is almost always owned by the side with the earth mound and Hawthorn hedge.

Land registry re-surveyed my boundaries without charge. They put a lot of work into helping with a dispute. Since I could prove that nothing had been disturbed--in my case, for more than 20 years -- there really was not an issue, but I wanted it solid cos of my intention to sell.

24th Apr 2005, 13:29
Having consulted the ever knowledgable (?) Mrs Candoo have decided to erect mini-fence, i.e. bamboo poles and string and just see what happens.

My BBQ's are better:E