To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby manutd99 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:32 pm

COGGY wrote:Hi
Did you mean that your neighbour has suggested you pay him to allow you to put the fence in the position you say it should be? If this is correct how much did he suggest you pay him?
Regards Coggy

Yes, their solicitor suggested if I would consider to make a payment to the neighbour. They said that they did not have a figure in mind but whether I was open to the idea. That's when I said get lost because I consider it to my land according to the deeds.
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby JohnP1950 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:42 am

I don't think you'd be in the right to put a fence up along the half-way line as your neighbours have had use of the extra 1 foot strip for 25 years.

There's not much you can do if they want to build a fence, but why not erect a couple of posts and wire abutting the 1 foot line. Then if your neighbours do build a fence they won't be able to place it any closer to your house than that.

They might not bother with a new fence of their own anyway, if they see you have accepted the boundary line is in the 1-foot position.
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby Roblewis » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:20 pm

Can we just retrace a minute to the ground rent issue mentioned. The OP is actually raising an issue that needs to be addressed - Can a person who pays ground rent on a defined plot have the ability to adversely possess other land to the benefit of his land freeholder. I am not sure of the state of the law on this matter. I doubt many cases reach court nowadays. Does anyone have a definitive answer - not a good guess. Certainly the ground rent plan is the most useful and is one the neighbours have constantly paid and thus recognise their boundary on that basis. In fact the solicitor seems to be trying to waffle round the line indicated by this plan.

Macadam has been playing devils advocate one way but it also runs the other in that the neighbours saw a chance for good access to the side of the house and readily assented to the changes. That is they were not bothered to maintain a current split, giving up any claim to the boundary that their chestnut tree had forced into existence.
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:55 pm

Hi Rob,

Can a person who pays ground rent on a defined plot have the ability to adversely possess other land to the benefit of his land freeholder.

of course they can - see section 11 of the HMLR guide on adverse possession:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-registered-land/practice-guide-4-adverse-possession-of-registered-land

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby Roblewis » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:28 pm

Quite a bit of ifs and buts in there but it seems also clear that the possession ceases with the lease if it is not intended to be for the benefit of the Freeholder!!! Even the HMLR recognise it seems that contrary views could be held by a court if contested

Glad I did not do property law!!
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby manutd99 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:49 pm

Thanks for the link. Just read section 11.2 but note : the neighbours land is not registered, subject to ground rent forever, and no applications have been made for adverse possession.

Surely a judge would see the unfairness in not being able to go down the side of your own house if fenced in at 1ft gap, depite what the deeds say (2ft), because they took 1ft of land in the past. How can anybody put a ladder to wash windows or do any form of work to the side if/when required? or is that just my problem? For the past year, i have been able to go up/down the pathway easily with no issues. If they fence me in, I cant go down, surely that is not right ?

Also, surely they have to serve notice to build a fence- they cant just do it ... or can they?

Tbh, It feels like I have no rights at all despite what the deeds say & the deeds mean absolultely nothing. There is something definitely wrong imo. How can the one that is "wronged" be "wronged even more" and it be defended? injustice
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:23 pm

Hi manutd99,

If they fence me in, I cant go down, surely that is not right ?

if they erect a fence 1' from your house and you want it taking down you either:

take it down yourself - run the risk of being charged with causing criminal damage
negotiate with the neighbour
begin court proceedings - drain on time, money, energy

they don't need to serve a PWA notice to erect a fence - the legislation is for walls/proper excavation.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby jdfi » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:13 pm

Do you know who their freeholder is?

Get a fence put up on the 2ft line and see what they do
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby manutd99 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:19 pm

jdfi wrote:Do you know who their freeholder is?



r u saying to contact the freeholder or his descendents, explain the issue and if they agree, ask them to tell the neighbour that the fence must be built at 2ft ?

Would the neighbour have to then do it / accept it?
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby jdfi » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:51 pm

manutd99 wrote:
jdfi wrote:Do you know who their freeholder is?



r u saying to contact the freeholder or his descendents, explain the issue and if they agree, ask them to tell the neighbour that the fence must be built at 2ft ?

Would the neighbour have to then do it / accept it?


The freehold will possibly be owned by a company (or at least a property professional) so any communication needs to be well planned.

Do you know?
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby manutd99 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:49 pm

sifting through paperwork and found out that neighbour pays chief rent. I think this is different ground rent. I think the neighbour owns the freehold. dead-end.
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby pilman » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:13 pm

The solicitor was rejecting everything saying measurements dont count because the land is unregistered.
That is the complete opposite to the actual legal position when land remains unregistered.

Tge only proof of ownership is the paper documents held by the current owner of the property, so that i fthose old deeds refer to measurements that can be confirmed from a fixed point such as the gable side wall of that property, then that is conclusive evidence of the extent of land that was conveyed.


The comments about the fence being erected 1 foot into the current OP's property because of an original tree that prevented the fence being erected along the correct boundary line does not necessaril mean that the one foot of land had been abandoned, nor does it mean that a claim of adverse possession can be made successfully.

To now erect a fence located a distance of 2 feet from the gable wall of the OP's house would appear to be the most sensible thing to do, even if the original front fence is ignored and left in position.

To start any boundary dispute the neighbour's only evidence to establish the correct boundary position will be the original conveyance deeds that have measurements defined on the plan.

That is why the solicitor's comments that I quoted at the beginning of this posting is absolutely in the favour of the OP who wants to erect a fence to define the boundary between the two properties.

The title plan issued by Land Registry most definitely shows the General boundary of the registered property, which makes it difficult to identify the correct legal boundary because the red line drawn on a title plan with a scale of 1:1250 will probably define a width of at least 1 foot at that scale.

The plan attached to the conveyance of the unregistered property will define the correct legal boundary using the measurements stated on the plan attached to that conveyence.

Contrary to what the neighbour's solicitor had stated, it is the fact that the neighbour's property is unregistered that is the only source of proving the boundary position using the paper deeds that accurately define the true boundary of that property.

As long as there is clear knowledge that the original paper deeds showed a distance of 2 feet measured from the flank wall of the house, then erecting a fence within the same two feet measured from the OP's house will not be a trespass over the neighbour's land.

The outer edge of the fence posts should not exceed two feet from the OP's house wall so that there will then be a clear width of just under 2 feet to walk along.

If one needed to maximise that width it would be sensible to use thin steel posts and stretch wire between the posts, rather than use timber posts with wooden fence panels which will be that much thicker,

There would be no privacy once a steel post and wire fence was erected, but currently there is no fence at all, which is why there is now a dispute about where the true legal boundary exists.

A fence of this nature will also be slightly less costly than a wooden fence, although the price quoted by the local builder seems quite reasonable.

So to summaraise the situation as described so far, the paper conveyancing deeds will in fact have more validity in proving where the boundary line is than any title plan for registered property.
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby Roblewis » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:51 pm

manutd99 wrote:sifting through paperwork and found out that neighbour pays chief rent. I think this is different ground rent. I think the neighbour owns the freehold. dead-end.


Not so - he holds a freehold but pays a rentcharge in perpetuity for the use of the land he owns to the beneficiary of the payment - ie likely the one you brought out your rentcharge from. I suspect you have come to use ground rent in a loose manner!
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby manutd99 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:53 am

Thanks pilman and Roblewis for the latest replies and everybody else for the earlier replies so far .
Quick update: I just left everything alone because one of the couple from next door had died. I did not want to become a fall guy so left it "as-is".
Their property is still unregistered. Do you think it is better to just wait it out until the other pops theirs clogs and then to build the fence in the "open plan" along the legal boundary line (2ft) - like perhaps when the house is eventually put up for sale? or to pursue to build the fence now? Which is better? Note - I would not touch the existing fence at the front and keep "as-is" i think that may cause me issues if I take a foot from their garden.

Is it in my interest to build this fence whilst their property remains unregistered or wait until it gets registered (next sale) ... or whilst it is for sale? thanks for your help again.
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Re: To build or not to build a fence – that is the question?

Postby pilman » Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:47 pm

Whilst the property remains unregistered there is physical proof of the boundary dimensions shown on a paper deed.
Once the property becomes registered it is possible that all the old paper deeds will be destroyed because all the information will have been recorded on the register of title and the new title plan will then be drawn under the General Boundary rule.

It is possible that if the current neighbour dies then the executor will register the property for the first time.
Then the new buyer will only ever get to see the title plan and register issued by Land Registry.
That new buyer will then have cause to think you are attempting to steal land from him if you then attempt to locate a fence in a different position from the front fence which you stated was set back a distance of 1 foot from the true boundary line.

Then it will be up to you to show your paper deeds with measurements recorded on them.

Do it now is the best advice I can offer, because the neighbour cannot prove that the newly erected fence is in the wrong place, because you know that it will be the paper deeds he has that currently prove the boundary of the property he occupies.
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