Annoying Boundary Dispute

Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:19 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:on a different point, looking at the photos, if the hedge is 4' tall then the "cliff" isn't that tall really is it?


That photo is quite deceptive. I assure you it's quite tall enough for someone to kill themselves should they fall over the edge. If you want to come to Bristol and try it for yourself, feel free! At the moment the shrubs are quite an effective barrier to falling over the edge so we have absolutely no intention to remove them or thin them out.

To illustrate just how tight access is at the strip of land, see photos below. Our neighbours believe that all the land from the left up to the wooden edging is theirs and our strip of land is from the timber edging to the quarry edge. Quite how anyone could even walk along this strip of land safely, let alone cut back shrubs or erect a fence is beyond logic, but this is what we are dealing with...

In the most recent agreement, we agreed to erect a fence about a foot away from their chain-link fence. This still makes it tight, but JUST about possible to access safely on our side. The joint survey actually stated that the boundary was exactly where their chain-link fence is situated, so we are giving away some land away, but were advised to do all we could to reach an agreement and avoid court.

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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby Roblewis » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:52 pm

You have no real options other what I and arborlad have suggested. The removal of the shrubs is fraught with risk and I would leave them well alone except for the odd annual trim. The neighbour needs one last chance to fully sign up and be quiet or risk losing all the concessions gained. Be firm - it is the offer that was made or nothing and let him be the one to initiate court proceedings AFTER your 2m fence goes up. The pallisade is a good idea and many are designed to be unscaleable, erected properly you should get 20 years of peace. Just trim up his hedge as it comes through. In fact make the one a matter of public safety as i would not like to be the person allowing others too close to my cliff edge. In fact talk to your insurers about it and see if they will lend weight to such a view.I have forgotten most of the Mine & Quarry safety legislation but I think owners of in use and disused quarries have a duty to make edges safe.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:07 pm

Hi bristolmatt,

At the moment the shrubs are quite an effective barrier to falling over the edge

for who?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:12 pm

Hi Rob,

a matter of public safety as i would not like to be the person allowing others too close to my cliff edge

this is private land and I think nobody goes up there (except the trespassing neighbour).

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:22 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi bristolmatt,

At the moment the shrubs are quite an effective barrier to falling over the edge

for who?

Kind regards, Mac


Well at the moment, our trespassing neighbour is the only one who goes up there. We've raised the safety issue several times already but to no avail and our neighbours are so barmy I wouldn't be at all surprised if he jumped off one of the less lethal sections just so he could sue us for negligence. We have a gardener who used to maintain the land and shrubs here for the previous owner of our house who (one we get this settled) will do so again once or twice a year. We also have two small children so are keen to get a locked gate up from our side as soon as we can as I certainly don't want them anywhere near the top once they get big enough to start exploring the garden.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:29 pm

Roblewis wrote:Be firm - it is the offer that was made or nothing and let him be the one to initiate court proceedings AFTER your 2m fence goes up. The pallisade is a good idea and many are designed to be unscaleable, erected properly you should get 20 years of peace.


Hi Rob

Are you proposing that we erect a 2m pallisade even though the previous agreement stated a 4m chain link fence? I can certainly see the logic from a safety point of view (and given the previous history of him accessing land that he clearly has no right to be on), but surely this will just aggravate the situation and we'll end up back in court for sure?
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:37 pm

Hi bristolmatt,

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he jumped off one of the less lethal sections just so he could sue us for negligence

he would not win because you would not have been negligent (you've got the fence 3' away - as per the covenant - anyway haven't you...)

stick a warning sign up if you're that worried.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:46 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi bristolmatt,

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he jumped off one of the less lethal sections just so he could sue us for negligence

he would not win because you would not have been negligent (you've got the fence 3' away - as per the covenant - anyway haven't you...)


No that's his fence not ours. Historically there was a thick 6ft hedge all the way along the boundary that prevented access from their side and was the defining boundary feature. They took this down and then put a gate in their fence to access the land. We can't put up our fence until we get an agreement on the boundary position, so theoretically we are in breach of our covenant at the moment, so presumably could be deemed liable if someone fell over the edge.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby Roblewis » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:46 pm

Macadam

The neighbour is public as far as safety goes as he is Not the owner. The insurers have a Public Liability interest here.

Bristolmat - you agreed a 4ft high chain link fence I am suggesting 2m ie 6ft 6inches. The pallisade fence is possibly a reserve position but good leverage to persuade him to review his position. Certainly at this moment he is accessing an area of land where there is risk and your insurers may want to say something re this access.

You have an agreement that he is refusing to finalise and still breaches by accessing the area. You have to make moves to finish this as I could argue before a court was a matter of safety not simply a boundary dispute.

The Mines and Quarries Act 1954 Section 151 2(c) is still in force and refers to quarry owner ie You.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:03 pm

HI bristolmatt,

so theoretically we are in breach of our covenant at the moment

positive covenants (covenants that involve an outlay) do not pass with the land - the owner of the benefiting land (you say the strip was bought from a neighbour) could only have ever enforced against the original party (your predecessor who bought it).

so does this mean there was never a boundary feature put in place by your predecessor?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:55 am

MacadamB53 wrote:so does this mean there was never a boundary feature put in place by your predecessor?


No the previous owner of our house erected a wooden fence (as per the covenant) against the hedge (planted by the neighbour) that formed the boundary feature after the land transfer took place. As the neighbours hedge grew, it pushed the wooden fence over, so the previous owner removed it. By then the hedge had grown so thick, that it formed a solid barrier between the two properties anyway, so the fence on our side was never re-erected. This all happened long before our current neighbour moved in and the land remained this way for over 30 years.

Soon after the previous owner of our house passed away and the house became vacant, our neighbour removed the hedge. We suspect that he then installed his chain link fence and a gate in the fence to access the strip of land and claimed it as his own. He states the chain link fence was always in place on his side of the hedge for many years before the hedge was removed, but this is just his word. To me, it all looked rather too new to have been in place for many years, but of course we can't prove or disprove this either way.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby Roblewis » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:04 pm

The covenant, you state previously, was for a suitable fence and you seem to be accepting the chain link as such. The suggestion that a pallisade fence 6ft 6 inches tall be erected would fully satisfy the covenant, and in fact is probably what was intended when it was written. Have you taken up the matter with your neighbour yet? You need to get your solicitor moving on a final acceptance of agreement or a loss of what has been agreed.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:40 pm

Latest update...

Finally got a response from neighbours a few weeks back... Their latest suggestion for resolution was that a clause be added that allows them to enter onto the strip of land in order to trim the vegetation at the quarry edge. Never heard anything so ridiculous as this is basically what the situation is now - i.e. we own the land, yet they continue to access it and trim back our shrubs as they see fit. Needless to say we rejected this out of hand. Our solicitor suggested that we put a further clause into the settlement that we agree have the shrubs cut back twice a year by a specialist, but we also declined this on the basis that the shrubs are nothing to do with the boundary issue, and we don't want to be beholden to any further clauses that could potentially lead to further cost on our part and disagreements with the neighbours.

We instructed our solicitor to reject their latest suggestion and re-state that the agreed boundary position should be formalised within next two weeks without any further stipulations. Should no response be forthcoming within two weeks, then the agreement on the new boundary position is withdrawn and we will take the matter back to the court to get resolution. That was over two weeks ago, so now chasing solicitor for an update. I have a feeling we will end up back in court...
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby Roblewis » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:40 pm

No do not wait around. He has failed to answer - you might give him a 7 day letter but then the offer is withdrawn and you then erect the fence as you wish. Force him to take action when he has reneged on an agreed resolution. It will not play well in court.
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Re: Annoying Boundary Dispute

Postby bristolmatt » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:01 pm

Been a long time I know, but believe it or not this is stil not resolved...

Been a few back and forth between solicitors as our neighbours keep on trying to retain or modify the clause in the agreement about us maintaining the heights of shrubs. We have so far dug our heels in as we see no reason why we should agree to any clause that allows our neighbours to stipulate the height or maintenance regime for our shrubs (even though they may impact on their view).

Latest contact from solicitor is as below...

It appears both sides are not disputing the agreement reached on the position of the boundary, but it is simply the cutting back of this vegetation holding up agreement. Would you agree to amend the disputed clause to ‘make reasonable efforts to maintain the height of the vegetation’. This would then not be binding upon you to trim the vegetation twice a year, and would not be binding upon any future owner of the land. As there has been no conclusion over the last few months, there will be a further court hearing tomorrow afternoon to reinstate the court proceedings. This is a simple formality and you do not need to attend. However, it would still be good to reach a compromise without proceeding to a full trial.

I am still suspicious of having any clause in the agreement even if it's technically not binding. I just know what our neighbours are like and I can guarantee they'll be knocking on our door every few weeks if we don't maintain the shrubs to their liking - which is inevitable as they are impossible to please... Part of me thinks to just agree to the new clause wording so we get it resolved once and for all, while another part thinks this might come back an bite me on the arse down the line. In any case, I don't see why we should feel obliged to any clause in the agreement that is peripheral to the actual boundary position (which is what the dispute is all about).

Any ideas what the next move should be? Would be happy to go to court to get a final ruling so long as we can be confident of winning. There is no issue I can see in regard to the boundary position now, so it just comes down to the issue about the shrubs but have no idea how any judge may look at this should it go all the way. Don't want to be seen as being the obstructive party in failing to make an agreement, but also don't want to make unecessay concessions to our neighbour.
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