Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby Pritter » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:27 pm

Hello all, and thank you in advance for any help you may be able to offer. What a fantastic resource.

I would appreciate a bit of advice and reassurance if appropriate.

The son of an elderly neighbour (who we get on very well with) knocked on our door today and alleged that our fence was encroaching on his property. The fence in question was present at the time of our purchase over 5 years ago, although we have replaced some panels and posts following a storm very soon after purchase (the positions of these have not changed).

His argument is that he remembers that their passageway on the other side of the fence used to be wider (and that he could get some sort of trailer through it many years ago, but can't now) and that it has become more narrow (??) at points (2) and (3). He thinks the fence should be closer to our house at (2) and (3) and more in line with the narrower bit of the path as it is a (1). At the bottom of the picture the fence continues along the outside of an old garden wall, and has concrete posts like the others - these have not been replaced and the son has not mentioned these.

finfence.jpg


The fence line / position has not changed, and this is particularly so because there is an original paved area which the fence sits next to (ie the fence could not have been further in because it would have been on top of the paved area). As far as I can tell the paved area is original and is consistent with the rest of the crazy paving patio, which is probably a couple of decades old - although I cannot confirm this.

The son freely admits that any changes he is alleging may have been before our time. He has stated that he will be instructing a surveyor / solicitor at his costs with familiarity in boundary disputes but has asked that we consider moving our fence. I think that the area in question is a matter of inches only. He suggested that it would cost a few hundred pounds to sort out, but from our point of view this would involve digging up the pathway and so I'm not keen to just give in (especially when we don't get his argument).

Our argument and logic suggests that his view is wrong and could not have been the case because the path has not changed and is continuous with the patio (which is old and looks old) and so the fence could not have been further in at least since the path was laid. Equally, at the bottom of the picture it would not line up with the fence which runs alongside the wall.

The plans / deeds are of no help as they only show a rectangular plot in red and aren't detailed enough. The TA6 when I purchase confirms that the boundary has not changed for 20y.

Any thoughts or advice would be welcome. Should we just sit tight and what is a surveyor likely to say?
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby jdfi » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:57 pm

First question is whether you have legal cover on your buildings insurance that would include a land dispute.

Second question is who owns the passageway? Neighbour may well have an easement over it, but may not own.

Thirdly is his easement to pass on foot only?
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby Pritter » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:31 pm

Thanks jdfi.

So to be clear, the neighbour's son is asking use to move some of the fence a bit closer to our house as in the picture.

The pathway that can be seen is entirely ours, his passageway is on the other side of the fence (not visible in the pic at all) and he is not claiming any right to our passageway.

Thanks
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby despair » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:46 pm

this son is claiming from memory he could take a trailer through his path so you have magically moved concrete posts and the fence

he is bonkers if you move the fence any closer to your house it would be sitting in concrete paving slabs
your path has not changed its his memory thats at fault
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby jdfi » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:00 pm

Pritter wrote:Thanks jdfi.

So to be clear, the neighbour's son is asking use to move some of the fence a bit closer to our house as in the picture.

The pathway that can be seen is entirely ours, his passageway is on the other side of the fence (not visible in the pic at all) and he is not claiming any right to our passageway.

Thanks


I apologise. I had assumed about the layout.

Before going further please spend £12 in total downloading his and yout title register and title plan from www.landregistry.gov.uk

I want to confirm there are no nasties in either document.
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby Pritter » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:29 pm

Thanks jdfi.

We had the plans from previously - unfortunately they are of no help as far as we can see - they show the general boundary for each property in red as a rectanglebut the few inches that the neighbour is referring to is probably within the margin of the width of the line!
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby Morph » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:28 pm

My view would be you've done nothing unreasonable. Keep discussions with the neighbour polite. Retain pictures before and after of the fence before and after the changes if you have any. Try and explain your points and stick to your guns. If your neighbour gets a surveyor maybe offer for the surveyor to understand your points and visit your side. To me your points seem reasonable and any changes if any would be trivial. Hopefully the issue just goes away, though it's always stressful.
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:55 pm

Hi Pritter,

it's possible you're both right.

the neighbour might, if he's lived there for a long while, be recalling events - moving trailers along his path - that occurred before crazy paving and fence were installed.

if the trailer-moving activity then stopped it seems reasonable to suggest he'd not notice the fence had encroached a couple of inches (or didn't care).

fast-forward to you replacing a couple of posts and panels and either 1. he/his son now notices the discrepancy or 2. he/his son take the opportunity to raise the issue which should have been raised years ago.

why not compromise and commit to moving the fence next time it needs replacing...

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:23 pm

Hi Pritter,

I see in the photo that there is a brick pier/buttress on the side of your house. Is this a later addition that would have required the fence to have been moved?

Is it likely that this fence was moved without the knowledge of your neighbour? If he gave permission, is it reasonable for permission to be withdrawn after a structure has been erected? If he didn't give permission, would ESTOPAL (sp?) come into play?

Does your neighbour (or is it his son's?) have the same trailer that he used to push down his path? Is it now land locked in his back garden, and he wants to get it out? It might be cheaper to buy him a new trailer.

Me? I would want to stay on good terms with my neighbour. The cheap answer, which might make your neighbour unhappy, would be for you to remove your fence, and not replace it. You might not like that idea either ... but would it give a motor vehicle access to your rear garden ... assuming that you and/or your neighbour wanted such access?

John W
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby Pritter » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:43 am

Thanks all,

Yes I think it is a possibility he's recalling events from a very long time ago - the son is 45 and was referring to events when he was "younger".

We have taken a further look and logically there just does not seem to be a way the fence could have been closer after the paving - which must be 20 to 30y old, and possibly even original when the house was built c1970. It is as old as the rest of the patio which it is continuous with, and that is certainly over 25yold.

The new brick work was due to an extension around 8y ago (prior to us) but it didn't affect the fence and again the paving is still all old.

I'm happy to be reasonable but at the moment I'm not keen to rip up a 30y old path without some evidence over and above some memories from the distant path. Equally, we're slightly worried about maintainance access to the side of our building. Would It be reasonable to do nothing until his surveyor has had a look?
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:01 am

Hi Pritter,

Would It be reasonable to do nothing until his surveyor has had a look?

sure would - in fact it might be the best thing to do to avoid confusing things.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby jonahinoz » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:51 am

Hi,

The whole fence does not need to be moved, only the posts at A, B, and C. But that might mean that the panels held by these particular posts might then be too long (fractionally). Pythagorus will tell you by how much.

It these panels are currently a snug fit, and match the other panels in the fence, it might suggest that none of the posts have moved.

What fences do similar houses have, or originally had? How do the varying widths of your path compare with your neighbours?

I'm guessing that a concrete manufacturer could carry out tests to establish the age of any concrete surrounding your posts. But now I'm being silly, probably cheaper to erect a new fence.

FYI ... I very recently continued my "fortress" quality fencing into my front garden. My local timber merchant charged me £74 for 14 lengths of 150 x 25 treated timber, by 4.8m long, and £10 each for posts, 100mm x 100mm x 2.4m. POSTCRETE cost me £10 per bag, but golly gosh, it's quick and easy ... dig, half fill with water, tip in the Postctete, walk away. No mixing. Er... my timber merchant probably gave me a good price. Haggle! The national builder's merchants have different prices for each customer.

Me? I would let my neighbour make his case. I would not resist too strongly, good neighbours are worth keeping. I wonder how much he is paying the surveyor. I might even agree, even if he is wrong. Tell him to cancel the surveyor, and pay for a new fence instead.

John W
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby zaax » Sat May 06, 2017 8:31 pm

Cars have been gettining wider, and the trailers that they pull have also been getting wider. For example a MK 1 fiesta is 1567mm wide, a mk 7 is 1772mm.

https://www.carthrottle.com/post/10-ima ... ve-become/
I know nothing about the law.
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby Pritter » Tue May 16, 2017 4:43 pm

Update

Thanks all so far.

We've now received a brief report from a local surveyors firm (who are actually quite well regarded). The neighbour does want space for a wheelchair, which seems to be the motive behind this.

I do (perhaps unsurprisingly!) disagree with the content.

It starts on the premise that the original conveyance shows a rectangular plot and that it is "reasonable to assume" that the intention was that the boundaries would be straight. My own basic research suggests that title plans only show general boundaries and that these are of very limited value. It goes on to assume that, since the fence isn't straight (it isnt!), it must be in the wrong position (?)

I still fail to see how the fence could have been laid into path - ie it couldn't be closer. Alternatively, the implication is that the path is in the wrong place, but that has been present for decades (and I assume would be taken as the legal boundary now..?)

I don't think the surveyors view is correct, and I'm slightly suspicious that it is worded in a way to make someone think that the title plans are definitive (which of course they aren't).


Any further advice?
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Re: Help with Neighbour's Fence Request

Postby mr sheen » Tue May 16, 2017 6:17 pm

I would not accept this Surveyors Report. It is based upon the information provided by the neighbour and assumptions.
Physical evidence is required eg aerial photos, photos taken from both sides of the property over many years, statements of truth relating to the length of time the fence has been in position.

I would not change the position of a fence based upon this evidence alone. I would reply to the neighbour....

I acknowledge receipt of the Surveyors Report which I have been advised is not reliable and does not provide any evidence to support your assertions. The report refers to the 'general boundaries' plans which are too historical to be currently relevant and do not provide accurate detail in relation to the legal boundaries. In addition the report refers to information provided orally and fails to consider physical evidence of the legal boundaries.

If you provide physical evidence supporting your assertions relating to the fence, I will consider the evidence with my advisors. Until my advisors have had the opportunity to review your evidence I will not be making any changes to the fence.
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