Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby thin and crispy » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:42 am

Have they actually explained why (as they claim) they sited their fence several centimetres from the boundary line?

The legal boundary is now almost certainly defined by the fence line rather than by any plans, even if the plans have dimensions marked upon them. This thread might be useful reading: http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3149
See, in particular, point 4 of Conveyancer's first post.

I really think you might be worrying too much over all this ParallelLines. If your neighbours are as controling as is now becoming apparent, I would suggest that it might be prudent not to accede too much to their demands. If they think you are a pushover, what will they try next? (I made the mistake of being too accommodating towards new, and unreasonably demanding, neighbours about 18 years ago. I won't bore you with the details of the eight years of ensuing problems, but I came to bitterly regret sending out the wrong signals at the beginning.)

I hope you can get it all sorted out amicably, ParallelLines, but don't be worried about standing up for your rights. The fence line is where a reasonable person (and probably a court) would assume the boundary to be; and I don't think that cutting back to the fence line would be seen as unreasonable - except, perhaps, by unreasonable neighbours.
Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument. Samuel Johnson.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:37 am

arborlad wrote:
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.


I see. The situation is that if I do extend I would have to remove this 10cm packing to dig a foundation trench. I could then reinstate the post and packing in exactly the same place. Would I have to give notice for this?

I can't say for certain which side of the boundary the fence is as a) I am not 100% certain the boundary line they used for their extension plans is correct, and b) its not that easy to plot it with just a straight edge. The neighbours have no idea where their boundary is and are unable to relate the fence to the boundary line. They just got a contractor to do it and didn't take any measurements.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:14 am

thin and crispy wrote:Have they actually explained why (as they claim) they sited their fence several centimetres from the boundary line?

The legal boundary is now almost certainly defined by the fence line rather than by any plans, even if the plans have dimensions marked upon them. This thread might be useful reading: http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3149
See, in particular, point 4 of Conveyancer's first post.

I really think you might be worrying too much over all this ParallelLines. If your neighbours are as controling as is now becoming apparent, I would suggest that it might be prudent not to accede too much to their demands. If they think you are a pushover, what will they try next? (I made the mistake of being too accommodating towards new, and unreasonably demanding, neighbours about 18 years ago. I won't bore you with the details of the eight years of ensuing problems, but I came to bitterly regret sending out the wrong signals at the beginning.)

I hope you can get it all sorted out amicably, ParallelLines, but don't be worried about standing up for your rights. The fence line is where a reasonable person (and probably a court) would assume the boundary to be; and I don't think that cutting back to the fence line would be seen as unreasonable - except, perhaps, by unreasonable neighbours.


No they have never said why they attempted to do this.

Thin and crispy this is exactly the position I have fallen into unfortunately.

In the front which is only about 5m they have a group of evergreens - berberis, oleaster, and one other which are 2.5m high. It is north facing and in the street is an 80 yr old lime tree. I have a bay window in the front 'parlour' room and the overall effect is to make the room very dark. Do you think I can reasonably ask them to reduce to 2m and cite the high hedge rules if they don't comply? The other thing is the trunk of one of these plants had forced the central post towards my side and the fence is now bent. I asked them to stake it back last year, I don't know if they did or not but the post is still out of position. I have good grounds over the fence, not quite so sure over the hedge height, is 50cm over enough to reasonably enforce say?
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:04 pm

Thankfully I have just read fences are not subject to the PWA, which is a big help.

Turning this around, if I build out from 15cm inside the centreline in a straight line I have to be within the boundary. It isn't my job to validate their claim for them, a claim they have no witnesses or documentation for. I can't transgress the boundary between a semi if I do this surely?
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby thin and crispy » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:29 am

ParallelLines wrote:
thin and crispy wrote:Have they actually explained why (as they claim) they sited their fence several centimetres from the boundary line?

The legal boundary is now almost certainly defined by the fence line rather than by any plans, even if the plans have dimensions marked upon them. This thread might be useful reading: http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3149
See, in particular, point 4 of Conveyancer's first post.

I really think you might be worrying too much over all this ParallelLines. If your neighbours are as controling as is now becoming apparent, I would suggest that it might be prudent not to accede too much to their demands. If they think you are a pushover, what will they try next? (I made the mistake of being too accommodating towards new, and unreasonably demanding, neighbours about 18 years ago. I won't bore you with the details of the eight years of ensuing problems, but I came to bitterly regret sending out the wrong signals at the beginning.)

I hope you can get it all sorted out amicably, ParallelLines, but don't be worried about standing up for your rights. The fence line is where a reasonable person (and probably a court) would assume the boundary to be; and I don't think that cutting back to the fence line would be seen as unreasonable - except, perhaps, by unreasonable neighbours.


No they have never said why they attempted to do this.

Thin and crispy this is exactly the position I have fallen into unfortunately.

In the front which is only about 5m they have a group of evergreens - berberis, oleaster, and one other which are 2.5m high. It is north facing and in the street is an 80 yr old lime tree. I have a bay window in the front 'parlour' room and the overall effect is to make the room very dark. Do you think I can reasonably ask them to reduce to 2m and cite the high hedge rules if they don't comply? The other thing is the trunk of one of these plants had forced the central post towards my side and the fence is now bent. I asked them to stake it back last year, I don't know if they did or not but the post is still out of position. I have good grounds over the fence, not quite so sure over the hedge height, is 50cm over enough to reasonably enforce say?

I suppose you could ask them to reduce the height if their evergreens, but I think it's unlikely the 'High Hedge Rules' could be used to compel them. There isn't (as far as I'm aware) a 2m limit on hedge height. The max height depends on the actual circumstances, but I think it would generally be significantly higher than 2.5m. If their tree is damaging your fence, you could ask them to trim the tree back to the boundary; and if they don't, you are entitled to cut it back yourself.
Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument. Samuel Johnson.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Tue May 02, 2017 10:55 am

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.



This is all still going on and I really need to resolve it.

To start at the beginning again, our houses are semi's and the issue is on the connected ie party wall side. A few years ago before I bought the house the neighbour replaced the boundary fence at his expense. He removed the old fence, put a new one on which when using their measurement of the centreline, is at least 5cm over the boundary line. But they are saying it is on their side of the boundary by as much as 10cm. He didn't survey the land, get any written permission and didn't record the position of the old fence. The boundary is a straight line boundary from the centreline to the end of the garden which is about 20m.

I suspect they may be trying to stop me extending too near the centreline and are using this as a ploy. Before this newish fence starts at 3.6m from the back wall there are another two posts with a post and rail attatchment on the back of the post. This fence was put up in the 80's. The new fence has panels inside the posts and the old one has the rail at the back of the post so it looks visually like there are two different lines of fencing. However the posts are in line so were I to put the rail inside the posts the fence line would line up. But it is like that for a reason because a mature wisteria is in situ with the base straddling the boundary and coiled branches have entwinded the fence and post itself. As I need to put foundations close to the centreline this is a bit of a problem.

They have signed a letter saying they regard the new fence as wholly on their property. They have also said the old fence is on my property. Yet the posts are in line! Because of this I find it hard to understand what they are claiming. They verbally said they owned a 10cm slither down my whole garden but they didn't put that in writing. I think the visual appearance of two lines of fencing when viewed from above has totally confused them.

Should I write back and ask them that if they have a claim they should state exactly what it is and I will forward it to my solicitor? I feel it might be best to head this off now rather than them see extension plans and react badly at that stage.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Tue May 02, 2017 3:20 pm

I should add that the original 1920's post is still nailed to the back wall, with the centre nail at exactly 20cm, which is the edge of their house as marked on their plans. At the other end of the garden the new fence is a similar distance inside of the original post, which is still in situ aswell.

I now think they did move the boundary to a more favourable position and are now making this claim they own a bit of my land as a smokescreen. I almost fell for it because I have spent a lot of time worrying about my side and I didn't consider they had moved the boundary in my direction. While that may sound daft they were very convincing in their story - they paid for the fence and were helping the former owner out etc.

It all seems so obvious now! After all if they had wanted to fence their side of the original fence they would have just left it standing. Clearly they removed it and fenced my side of it. They didn't obtain any written consent and as I said before they didn't record it either.

I am thinking of writing saying I can't accept their explanation of events and that I regard all the fencing at that side as being on my land. I think this is fair enough.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby Collaborate » Tue May 02, 2017 5:47 pm

What makes you think that the fence doesn't stand wholly on your land? I presume that you can, counting the bricks, determine where the centre of the internal party wall is, and that if the garden boundary follows that line then the current fence sits wholly on your side. Tell them to leave your fence alone, and go ahead and cut back their apple tree to the fence. Don't ask their permission for this, and take plenty of before and after photos of both the fence and the tree.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Tue May 02, 2017 7:13 pm

Thanks Collaborate. I did infact cut the apple tree to the centre of the fence and they didn't challenge it. Yes I have worked out the centreline by the bricks method. However I have now realised the original fencing, that they replaced, has the fence post further over than the centreline. It is on their house edge line. Using the centreline as the boundary line the new fence is mostly but not wholly my side. As ever it is not too easy measuring to the exact cm when on the ground. I can only measure to the first post using the fixed point of their extension as a guide ie measuring across.

I would accept the centreline as boundary line but the original post is 10cm towards them from the centreline. The deeds say the fence is my responsibility.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue May 02, 2017 7:21 pm

Hi ParallelLines,

The deeds say the fence is my responsibility.

can we see the wording please.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Tue May 02, 2017 8:40 pm

Hi Mac - thanks for taking an interest.

The Purchaser shall within twelve months from the date hereof erect and afterwards maintain a good and sufficient fence or wall not exceeding five feet in height (unless otherwise permitted by the Vendor's Surveyor) on the South and West sides of the said plot for the purpose of dividing it from the adjoining land. Such fence or wall shall not be subsequently varied without the permission in writing of the Vendor first had and obtained.

If a wall or a split wood fence be erected then it shall at all times hereafter be kept in repair by the Purchaser.

It is the West side fence that they removed.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Sun May 28, 2017 12:39 pm

Early this month I sent them a registered mail letter saying I believe the fence is wholly on my land and that I currently cannot see any legal basis for their claim.

They have not replied. Should I leave it at that or should I put them to a date to either repeat their claim or abandon it? It was they that made this claim in writing so isn't it reasonable to expect them to withdraw it in writing also?
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby mr sheen » Sun May 28, 2017 1:38 pm

Reasonable ...yes
Compulsory.....no
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Sun May 28, 2017 7:28 pm

Thanks I won't rush it then.
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Re: Boundary Fence and Tree Issue

Postby ParallelLines » Mon May 29, 2017 11:38 am

Just had a note through the door from them saying they want to respond to my letter and could we try to resolve this matter face to face???

While it is a civil letter they are clearly not accepting my belief that the fence is on my land. As they removed the previous fence three years before I bought the house I don't see what I can contribute to any meeting. It is essentially a dispute between my neighbours and the previous owner, with my neighbours claiming they moved the fence a so far unstated direction to their side, approx 10 - 20cm, while my seller declared no boundary fence had been moved ie it was a like for like replacement.

I don't want to seem confrontational but they don't seem to appreciate the seriousness of what they are claiming. Like if I put a foundation to the boundary I bought are they going to go for a court injunction in that instance??? If I put a patio down will it be trespass???

Obviously I can't stop them claiming but they have yet to produce a single piece of evidence. But it has to be resolved at some point.

Should I wait to see what they write first and then go to a solicitor??? Talking of which, what is a good way to find a solicitor who is strong on land and property law??? Is the law society site a good place to look or perhaps the Estates Gazette say???
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