Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby Collaborate » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:20 am

That's entirely unnecessary. Only PP or your deeds (in the form of a restrictive covenant) can sop you putting up a fence, and I've already set out what king of fence you can put up without PP.

Up to you really.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby SarahSue » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:52 am

I have just applied for the restrictive covenant document which will clarify what I am allowed to do.

I realise I am over-thinking this but need to pre-empt any possible issues before going ahead.

Thank you again for your responses.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:16 am

Hi sorra,

this six inch kink...

if I stand out the front of your property and look towards the house, are you saying that the neighbour on one side has six inches of his garden in front of your house and the neighbour on the other side has six inches of your garden in front of his?

if so, where are you defining as the edges of your house?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby SarahSue » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:26 am

Hi Mac

If you were to stand in front of my house, to the left is my single driveway and to the right is my garden. Looking at the houses, I am being told that the boundary is the midway point between the two main windows plus every other house has a down water pipe midway between the houses. If this were correct, in theory he owns some of my garden. He has a double concreted driveway and he too has impinged on his neighbour to the right of him. Looking at the driveways, there is a very definite defining line or slight crack between each property and that is not in line with what I think the boundary would be when looking at the houses. It looks like the house is one boundary and the front driveways another. It is not massively out of sync. My garden was there since the house was build around 1969.

We have had issues with this particular neighbour and, assuming no restricted covenants, want to put up a fence. He is currently in the dark about the boundary lines but it is still a risk to put a fence up only to have him object and being obliged to tear it down.

I assumed the edge of my boundary was the edge of my front garden.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby pilman » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:50 pm

The title plan for all registered properties will only ever show the "general boundary", because the legal boundary is not of concern to Land Registry who often use the lines shown on the Ordnance Survey plan used for all title plans.
If for example there is a hedge identified by the map surveyor that will still be shown as a single black line, so the position of the legal boundary cannot possibly be identified if there is a 1 metre wide hedge.

The same thing applies to a row of houses such as yours when the builder decided to set out the front of the houses in the way you have described. The red line on each title plan does not define the legal boundary and that is made clear when anyone reads the Guides published by Land Registry.

See Practice Guide 40 on this web-site.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... pplement-3

The fact that the front gardens have been set out in the way you describe since 1969 is what matters.
That is the de facto boundary position despite these lines not matching up to a central point between windows.

Some developers do include restrictive covenants that are intended to create an open plan element to the front of all the houses in the development. That would have been inserted into the Transfer deed when each house plot was sold off.

The local council have no say in such matters, only the neighbours on an estate are likely to have been given the benefit of that covenant in the same way as you probably have the benefit as far as the other properties are concerned.
These are mutual benefit covenants applied to all the properties by the developer to retain this open plan aspect for all times.
A breach of covenant can be enforced by any property owner with the mutual benefit, but it will need court action to prove that benefit and to prove the breach diminished the value of the property claiming to have the benefit.
A successful claim for a breach of covenant can include an injunction to remove something erected in breach of the covenant, or an award of damages based on the loss of value to the benefitted property if the development was allowed to remain in existence.

If there is no such restriction then, as has alreday been pointed out, a fence can have a maximum height of 2 metres, unless it is adjacent to a highway used by vehicular traffic when the maximum height is 1 metre. Planning permission is granted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order so the local planners have no control over such fences.

A fence dividing two front gardens can be 2 metres high, although when it gets near to the pavement in front of the garden most often the height is then reduced, so that there is a maximum height of 1 metre at the very front of the fence next to the public highway which will include the pavement alongside the carriageway.
A fence erected parallel to the pavement must be no more than 1 metre in height, although sometimes a fence next to a vision splay next to a driveway has to be no more than 600mm high because of a planning condition.

Once you have obtained a copy of the original transfer deed issued by the developer you will know more about whether a fence can be erected, which is when you need to decide where to erect such a fence it it is possible to do that without being in breach of a restrictive covenant that could be enforced by any of the local neighbours prepared to take legal action to do that.
It is most unlikely that the original developer will ever be interested in suing for breach of covenant, because that body may no longer own property that retained the benefit.

It is land that retains the benefit of any restrictive covenant, not the person or company that inserted the covenant in a deed of sale or transfer, once that person or body disposes of all nearby land by selling it off as house plots.

Anyone just deciding to remove the fence once it was erected would be committing criminal damage, which is matter to be dealt with by a criminal court rather than a breach of covenant which needs to dealt with by a civil court.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby SarahSue » Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:15 pm

Pilman

Thank you so much for that detailed information. My mind is more at rest now. Very much appreciated.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby arborlad » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:16 pm

Best continued here:


sorra wrote:I discovered that I have a restrictive covenant that bans me from erecting fencing between my terraced house and the house next door. We have had issues with a neighbour and currently his bins are lined up in such a way that we face three bins each time we leave our house. We are anxious to screen this off.

The wording on the covenant is: "It being the intention that the Estate shall be an open plan development, no fence or wall or hedge of any description shall be permitted to exist in advance of the front elevation of the building other than a screen fence erected in accordance with the planning requirements".

My first point is that other neighbours have breached covenant by putting up hedges (but not fences) but we have no wish to be sued by said neighbour for breach of covenant.

Secondly, what is the definition of screen fencing? Could this be trellis? We would need screening of 4 foot high and taking in the width of at least three wheelie bins. It is not as straightforward to cover with foliage since part of that area is concreted over and part runs into the garden. A one panel fence or trellis would have been ideal.

I would very much appreciate any advice or thoughts on this.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby arborlad » Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:50 am

sorra wrote:Pilman

Thank you so much for that detailed information. My mind is more at rest now. Very much appreciated.




sorra - you have received a very comprehensive reply from Pilman, there is nobody on this forum better qualified to give that information, which is why it is in your best interest to continue with this thread rather than start a new one. Pilman will not be aware of your new thread.

It would also be in your best interests if others didn't continue with your new thread - which contains a link to this one.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby Conveyancer » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:56 pm

The situation described is not in fact that unusual. In most cases it is not too difficult to explain how it happens. The architect draws up a nice layout plan, but for one reason or another once work starts everything gets shifted. The changes do not come to the attention of whoever instructs solicitors and the (now incorrect) architect's plan is supplied. The problem is more much more likely to be encountered if the estate was unregistered when the plots were sold. If registered or subject to compulsory registration the misalignment would normally be spotted early on. Unless I missed it, Sorra does not say if the land is registered. If bought about 25 years ago it just about possible that it is not.

Whether registered or not, the law does not allow property owners to lose out in this type of situation. The very important point to understand is that title to land can be as much about possession as about paper (whether the "paper" is traditional deeds or the register at HM Land Registry). If you are in possession of land to which you have no paper title and the possession is not otherwise explained, that it is not a tenancy or licence, then you have title to it. It is possible that someone else may have a paper title to it as two titles can exist at the same time. It is a question of which takes priority. In the case of a well-established estate it is virtually always going to be the owner in actual possession who has priority.

How the problem can be resolved and whether it needs resolving depends on whether the property is registered and by how much everything is out.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby despair » Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:04 pm

Nice to see you back again Conveyancer your input is so valuable
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby arborlad » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:15 pm

sorra wrote: Looking at the driveways, there is a very definite defining line or slight crack between each property and that is not in line with what I think the boundary would be when looking at the houses.




Are there any manholes in the vicinity of the boundary?.............one explanation of any apparent discrepancy could come from the groundworks, footings and drains etc., these are normally done in conjunction with each other but it might be the case that something was moved to include 'your' manhole in 'your' land.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby arborlad » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:43 am

Secondly, what is the definition of screen fencing? Could this be trellis?



I've never known of screen fencing as a separate definition within planning law, it wont be trellis. If this wasn't an open plan estate and you had a 1m high fence adjacent to the highway and you added 0.3m of trellis to it, this could be enforced against.

At the rear of terraced and semi-detached properties, the first section of fence from the rear of the house was always 1.8m - 2m high and known as a privacy screen.

One solution to the problem could have been a live willow fence but you are 2/3 months too late and ground conditions aren't suitable.

There are several products like split bamboo, hazel and birch-brush woven into wire supports that make good screens, but they aren't self supporting and they weren't available when that covenant was written.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby pilman » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:34 pm

You appear to want to erect a type of fencing that will screen your property from the wheelie bins left by the neighbour on his drive.
That ought to meet the definition of "screen fencing", especially if you use narrow steel uprights and then use the lightweight types of fencing mentioned in the previous posting.

I have seen narrow bamboo panels used as an enclosure, so that may be the way to proceed.

As I said in in earlier posting a breach of covenant can only be enfoced following court action.
Is that likely now that other properties have already breached the covenant by having hedges growing across front gardens.

I have read a number of cases where claims for a breach of covenant depended on the way the judge decided whether there had been damage to the property whose owner was claiming that a breach did inpact adversely against this property.

The fact that the developer intended there to be an open plan development does not mean that every plot owner agreed with that style of front garden.

It also does not mean that that particular style of lay-out is of any great advantage to a house owner when hundreds of thousands of properties in this country have what are considered to be normal boundaries along the side of each front garden that define the land in each plot.
Would an identical type of house with open plan frontage be worth more than one with side boundaries identified? I think not!

Worse case scenario if a lightweight fence was erected to define the extent of the land you consider to be in your possession, would be that the neighbour did begin legal proceedings by instructing a solicitor to undertake that task.

Then on formal notification that a claim had been filed, that is when you could decide to retain the fencing and argue the point in court, or to decide to remove the fencing before matters are heard in court.

The fact that "screen fencing" is permitted under the terms of the restrictive covenant will need quite a lot of legal argument to clarify what comprises the definition of "screen fencing" in law.
Looking on E-bay there are quite a number of adverts that describe "screen fencing" made from willow and bamboo. For about £100 such a screen fence can be erected on galvanised steel posts.

For the neighbour to consult a solicitor to see if that would be a breach of covenant about £250+VAT per hour.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby SarahSue » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:45 pm

arborlad wrote:
sorra wrote: Looking at the driveways, there is a very definite defining line or slight crack between each property and that is not in line with what I think the boundary would be when looking at the houses.




Are there any manholes in the vicinity of the boundary?.............one explanation of any apparent discrepancy could come from the groundworks, footings and drains etc., these are normally done in conjunction with each other but it might be the case that something was moved to include 'your' manhole in 'your' land.


Indeed there is a small drain right next to where I assumed the boundary to be (not in line with what the boundary would be from looking at the house). The drain is in line with the edge of my garden and again where I assumed the boundary was.
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Re: Complete row of townhouses with out of sync boundaries

Postby SarahSue » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:56 pm

Am I right in thinking that if other neighbours have already breached a covenant but having hedges between the two terraced properties, that it is less likely that I could be sued for breach of covenant?

I double checked my deeds again and there is a paragraph about being obliged to maintain fences and they have two down (a panel between our back gardens and half of their back fence). We could in theory take action against them.

However, for now, I want an easy life and do think that two or three trellis planters would look attractive and succeed in screening said bins. Opinions on whether anyone thinks a planter with say 4 foot of trellis coming out of it would constitute screen fencing? The £250 plus would I am sure make it too prohibitively expensive for them to take action.

I do very much appreciate all of the answers to this thread and thank you for taking the time to answer.
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