Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:44 pm

I am in a semi and this issue is on the adjoined side.

Before I moved in my neighbours paid for and sited a fence between our gardens. Their version is that because the previous owner refused to pay, they sited the fence entirely on their own land (not declared at sale). They are convinced this fence sits 15-20 cm inside their boundary.

An old fence post is still nailed to the centre of the party wall. To me the new fence looks in line with this but it starts 3m forward and there is another fence and a wisteria in between. I can't see a fixed point at the end and there are no concrete fence posts. The boundary is a straight line but it is not so easy in 3D as on paper.

This 15-20cm gap between their version and what I think it hopefully is is important for two reasons. One is they have a mature apple tree about 3-4m high near the boundary. I have had over 100 apples fall into the garden many from over 2m height. Regardless of where the boundary is, am I entitled to clip the branches back to the fence line so as to stop the apples landing on my side of the fence? The trunk and most big branches are on their side of the boundary but if I can clip to their side of the fence then it would be a big help to me.

The other reason for resolving this 15-20cm difference concerns a possible extension into that area.

What is making me feel uneasy about this is that they seem utterly convinced about their version of this tale and are also not atall keen on me pruning this tree back to the fence line. I haven't yet asked for any evidence for their claim but I think it's highly unlikely they will have anything like a survey. Looking at what is on the ground I find it hard to believe it was surveyed.

I don't really know how to go about this. Any ideas? They could even be correct for all I know.

Starting from the party wall centre line at the back of our houses, they have extended 1.8m at the back exactly 20cm from the centreline. It may sound a daft question but is it likely they will accept this centreline as the start of the boundary line? To me this fence they installed looks to be broadly on the boundary line and not say 15cm inside their boundary which is what they think.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:23 pm

Just to add to my first post, they have extended back 1.8m and their extension is 20cm from what I believe is the centre of our party wall. Houses are 1920's and the spine party wall is two brick lengths wide. On the outside face I have marked where my internal wall finishes and it all tallies.

If this 20cm gap to the boundary is correct, if I were to take a straight edge another 1m or so from their extension, then 20cm across should be a good guide to the boundary line???

I said yesterday I thought the fence they installed is in line with the boundary line but I am not even sure about that and it now looks like it is all on my side of the boundary. This is bringing our different versions about where the boundary is to more like 20-25 cm now.

I think what has happened is they built this extension thirty years ago and have forgotten it was built almost to the boundary and have created a bit more space infront of their patio doors at the side. Luckily it is just an earth bed and there is nothing permanent.

The fence was put in around 10 years ago.

Would buying one of those lasers planning agents use be any help? Should I think about using a Surveyor even at this stage???
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby arborlad » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:47 pm

ParallelLines wrote:Before I moved in my neighbours paid for and sited a fence between our gardens. Their version is that because the previous owner refused to pay, they sited the fence entirely on their own land (not declared at sale). They are convinced this fence sits 15-20 cm inside their boundary.




The law presumes you will fence to the fullest extent of your land and after ten years your neighbours would struggle to claim otherwise.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:31 pm

Thanks for the reply arborlad.

How exactly do I go about establishing where the boundary line is though?

If I am to cut their apple tree to the boundary line I need to be very certain I have the line correctly marked. This is not so easy because of the fencing they have erected. I would need to get onto their property to do it.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby arborlad » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:47 pm

ParallelLines wrote:Thanks for the reply arborlad.

How exactly do I go about establishing where the boundary line is though?

If I am to cut their apple tree to the boundary line I need to be very certain I have the line correctly marked. This is not so easy because of the fencing they have erected. I would need to get onto their property to do it.




Your neighbours have done that for you - you simply cut to your side of the fence, or have I misunderstood.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:35 pm

The situation is I would much prefer to establish where the boundary line goes so as to remove all doubt. Also if I were to copy their rear extension, it would put my foundations over the boundary (according to their version).

Their plans are showing the boundary as starting at the centre of the chimney on the roof, which is four bricks wide. My hearth is 1 1/2 bricks wide as is theirs with the party wall brick being one brick wide. It all coincides with the chimney measurement on their plans in that the chimney is 96cm, my hearth on the side is 35cm and 13cm over gives 48cm the centre of the chimney.

However when I look up to the facia the mark on there is about 15 cm my side of the chimney centre. Am I making a basic error or has someone messed up the painting and perhaps my neighbours have got confused?
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby thin and crispy » Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:24 pm

What is the worst that will happen if you do trim back to the fence line? I think it is very unlikely that any sort of legal action against you would succeed. In cases where only a few inches are in dispute, physical features on the ground (like the established fence) are normally taken as more representative of the true boundary than lines on a plan.

Obviously, trimming would antagonise your neighbours, but it sounds like they're not the most understanding or accommodating of people anyway. If discussion doesn't result in some kind of agreement (or some evidence to back up their claims), I would just go ahead and start lopping.
Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument. Samuel Johnson.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby arborlad » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:27 pm

ParallelLines wrote:The situation is I would much prefer to establish where the boundary line goes so as to remove all doubt.




You're overthinking it, you bought what you saw and saw what you bought.

When your neighbour erected the fence, he had the opportunity to set it at the limit of his land - that is what the law presumes. Whether he did or not, it's too late now to make any changes.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:56 pm

arborlad wrote:
ParallelLines wrote:The situation is I would much prefer to establish where the boundary line goes so as to remove all doubt.




You're overthinking it, you bought what you saw and saw what you bought.

When your neighbour erected the fence, he had the opportunity to set it at the limit of his land - that is what the law presumes. Whether he did or not, it's too late now to make any changes.
well put - excellent advice
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby arborlad » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:05 am

nothingtodowithme wrote:
Their plans are showing the boundary as starting at the centre of the chimney on the roof, which is four bricks wide.


Yes that is correct! :D




Only within the property, outside, it is the edge of the neighbours fence nearest the OP.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:47 pm

Thanks for the replies guys, sorry for delay but my internet access is a little limited right now. Yes I do feel a bit unlucky as I am on my third one in three years, none have been actual disputes however.

Right what has happened since is I went round and asked for more info and the chap next door has given me a written and signed statement. He has said they paid for a contractor to install a fence on their property and that is what happened. However what they won't or can't say is where in their opinion this fence is in relation to the boundary line e.g. is the fence 1, 5 or 10cm inside the boundary in their opinion. They have replaced fences with fences and don't appear to understand the concept of boundary line.

The lady who sold the house to me has stated on the form there were no conversations, disputes etc and where it says 'has any boundary feature been moved in the last 20 years?' has ticked 'no'. I bought the house in 2014.

It is 11 1.8m panels down the garden and the concrete packing is at 90 degrees and 10cm my side.

I probably am overthinking this but I suspect things may deteriorate if I were to cut the apple tree to the fence line.

It is difficult to explain but their attitude is starting to bug me. They have made great store about how bad the previous lady was and a number of incidents seem to have taken place. But it is looking to me they had no legal authority to replace the previous fence and then they came onto land this side and rammed concrete in her land. I have also gathered they 'high hedged' her in the front which also led to incidents. I think because the previous lady was not aware of the high hedge act they got away with it. They are basically a bit controlling in their behaviour.

The fence starts 3.6m from our houses. I have taken a straight edge down plus also measured from off their extension side wall and the first post is about 2cm inside the boundary, so the concrete packing is all my side. So I know their claim is not accurate. It's hardly my job to get a survey and mark every fence post right down the boundary.

Wanting to build an extension, I don't want to make trouble for myself so just ignoring it is an option. However another voice tells me to write back saying simply that I regard the edge of the fence as the boundary plus also mention the 10cm concrete on my side. By saying this fence is on their property they are claiming they own plants my side and my extension foundations would be their side were their version be true. It just seems a very odd claim to make when they have filed plans with a boundary 35cm from their extension, it is known as having your cake and eating it. Also they don't have a shred of written documentation.

I am keen to hear your opinions on what if anything I should do. It is the most absurd boundary issue but then a lot of them are.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:12 pm

arborlad wrote:
nothingtodowithme wrote:
Their plans are showing the boundary as starting at the centre of the chimney on the roof, which is four bricks wide.


Yes that is correct! :D




Only within the property, outside, it is the edge of the neighbours fence nearest the OP.


This is an interesting point. Firstly is it their fence in the first place? The deeds say that boundary is my responsibility but if they have imposed this fence on me perhaps I can cut to the edge??? For example this apple tree is arcing over the fence at quite an angle, which is 10cm wide. Had the fence been placed my side of the boundary I would have been able to cut to the far edge. In practical terms it's the difference between no apples on what will be a patio area and about 20 coming over.

Another issue is it would mean an attatched branch that is also quite big and wholly on their side coming off too! I would welcome the extra light frankly.

The last chat we had about it they were saying they wanted me to stick to their version of the boundary which is about 10cm INSIDE the fence. However as said above I it's very hard to pin them down on paper as to where they regard the boundary to be. Infact they won't commit to a figure lately. Bearing in mind this tree is about 3m high and I am often on a step ladder with the 3m pruning saw, it's not an easy thing to stick to at the best of times!
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:21 pm

thin and crispy wrote:What is the worst that will happen if you do trim back to the fence line? I think it is very unlikely that any sort of legal action against you would succeed. In cases where only a few inches are in dispute, physical features on the ground (like the established fence) are normally taken as more representative of the true boundary than lines on a plan.

Good point. Hardly my fault they failed to record anything or get any written agreement.

Obviously, trimming would antagonise your neighbours, but it sounds like they're not the most understanding or accommodating of people anyway. If discussion doesn't result in some kind of agreement (or some evidence to back up their claims), I would just go ahead and start lopping.


I should perhaps be bolder but OTOH for now I would just be happy to know it can be done if the future as the light and apple issue is not the same in winter.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:36 pm

nothingtodowithme wrote:
Their plans are showing the boundary as starting at the centre of the chimney on the roof, which is four bricks wide.


Yes that is correct! :D


Perhaps you can solve a question that is puzzling me???

When I measure across the back of the house, I am 5cm out from their plans at the centreline. In other words they seem to have 5cm more to use than me. Is there any reason for this such as being able to use the whole of the party wall brick say? On the plans the stack is shown as being 100 or 101. It is 4 bricks wide but when I measure 4 bricks at the wall it is showing 96. I got so fixated over this I even thought about trying to lasso the stack from the loft window! I know its a tiny amount but I do need to go pretty close because of a UB sitting on a padstone further inside.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby arborlad » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:48 pm

ParallelLines wrote:.... so the concrete packing is all my side.




Disregard that, it is of no consequence, it shouldn't be excessive, either in height or width but it is the location of the post that matters.
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