Re-establishing Boundary line!

Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:39 am

Hello,

We are in the process of realigning our boundaries in our back garden, between ours & our neighbours property (semi-detached house) in order to replace the existing fallen down hedging for a fence. The legal boundary has snaked as the old hedge has collapsed, so we have lost between up to 1 and a half feet in places and would like to rectify this. We are aware of our mid-way point, and have employed a boundary surveyor to identify this formally.

My question is this - if he decides to, can our neighbour try to 'claim' these 1 - 1 & 1/2 feet of extra land to be his own as the boundaries have been 'wobbly' for a long time?

We have been in the house for nearly 11 years and the boundary was out before we bought the property.

He has been very difficult in the past, so I would appreciate knowing legally where we/he stands on this issue. We anticipate that he may be disappointed & cross to see his garden shrink in width once the hedge is out and the fence is erected along the shared party line.

Kindest regards
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby mr sheen » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:11 pm

When you bought the property 11 years ago, you confirmed that the boundaries on the ground matched the expectations and documentation of what you were purchasing. You made no complaint of 'wobbly' boundaries nor disputed them and you proceeded with the purchase.

11 years later you have decided that the boundaries need changing. Yes your neighbours have a right to be annoyed since they have lived with the existing boundaries without dispute since before you even purchased the property. If they lived with them for more than 9years then they can claim that the existing boundary is the actual boundary. You have a problem proving the current boundary is incorrect since you accepted it 11 years ago and not once in the following 11 years have you disputed its position.

If you don't want an ugly fight on your hands, you will be reasonable and come to a compromise.
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Thanks for the reply,


The roots of the shared party hedge are the same as they were when we bought the property - more or less central to the boundary, however, the hedge has spread & collapsed following years of the neighbour pushing, hacking at it, and growing ivy throughout it to weaken the integrity of the privet. This has caused it to collapse & spread further over to our side, which has caused the problem of our slow loss of land and his continual gain. We have tried cutting it back and supporting it, but this has been difficult to maintain due to the extent of damage caused.


We did not agree to this at any point and we have discussed it with the neighbour over the years. We were lead to believe at the point of purchase that the legal boundary line was safe due to the hedge & its roots being original to the house - is this information incorrect then?

We have repeatedly discussed the hedge being replaced with a fence several times, hoping the neighbour would help with the costs as the garden is over 130 feet long so fencing is very expensive. Now that the hedge has collapsed completely, due to the neighbours treatment of it, & said neighbour has refused to share any cost of replacement - and we are now in a financially better position - we have decided to cover the costs in full. We have employed an experienced boundary surveyor who has not indicated it would be a problem, however we wanted to double check whether he had any rights to land he's been slowly taking from us before discussing the issue further with the neighbour.


Would you be able to direct us to the specific point of legal reference we can refer to for the information you offered? We're particularly interested in the specific points of law that supports any potential actions.


Kindest regards.
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby MacadamB53 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:24 pm

Hi timbuktoo&backagain,

this hedge, if the roots/stumps still run along what you consider to be the boundary then I'm not sure I follow what the issue is about replacing it with a fence along the same line - can you clarify please (sorry if I'm being a bit thick)

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby arborlad » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:51 am

timbuktoo&backagain wrote: This has caused it to collapse & spread further over to our side, which has caused the problem of our slow loss of land and his continual gain.




Is your land lower than theirs?
arborlad

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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby Roblewis » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:13 am

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi timbuktoo&backagain,

this hedge, if the roots/stumps still run along what you consider to be the boundary then I'm not sure I follow what the issue is about replacing it with a fence along the same line - can you clarify please (sorry if I'm being a bit thick)

Kind regards, Mac



++1 The root and stumps are a good indicator as the surveyor no doubt believed. Whatever the neighbour has done this location should be undisturbed
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:39 am

Hi Arborlad, thanks a lot for your reply,

Sorry, you're not being thick at all - I'm just not being too clear - apologies!

Basically the original roots are more or less where we think the original boundary party line was (I'm not too bothered about losing a few inches here and there, it's a big garden) - the neighbour over several years, has cut, hacked and lent on the hedge until it has grown out into a snaking shape down the boundary line, leaning over into our garden until it collapsed with parts of it having disappeared under ivy, again from his side where he has 2 massive thick ivy trees planted. His land is very slightly higher than ours, but only by about 2-3 inches, which then seems to level out further down the garden - it's level where the worst of the snaking has occurred.

I suspect, he has possibly cut some of the roots away on his side & some have died back as the remaining hedge is full of dead branches/twigs at the base & middle, with new shoots having since grown underground and up into our side of the garden, thickening & broadening the hedge on our side (which he has continued to lean over and trim down), as though he's *possibly* been training it's growth over into our land - though I don't really want to assume this to be the case. This has made it appear visually as if the hedge is growing in our garden, broadening the original line & distorting his land space to make it look as though he owns more than he actually does - does that make better sense?

We believe that he views the garden space this has created to be his own by his using it - which we have never agreed to - but due to our teenage son being seriously ill we have simply not had the time or energy to take on confrontations with this person (and their family) whom we learnt on moving day had had a very nasty 13 year feud with the previous neighbours (who we know from mutual friends, were lovely folk, and one was also dying from cancer during that time). I've been so busy for the last three years attending hospital appointments & caring full time for our son, I haven't noticed how far it had grown over, or the damage caused until it actually collapsed.


For peace of mind (or perhaps in preparation!) I just wanted to double check if he would have any legal rights to claim the 1- 1 & 1/2 foot areas which he's slowly taken and used, or if we can stick to the original root line without legal comeback from him? I think he might become argumentative once he sees the position of the re-alignment where the boundary surveyor has said it should be. I'd just like to know if we are able to stick to our guns with confidence on this issue if he becomes difficult, or will we have to concede and allow him to keep the areas he has 'claimed' iyswim? We really don't want a battle, we simply don't have the time or emotional or physical energy for it - sickeningly, we're already having to use all the money saved to take our son on a much needed special family holiday to foot the entire cost of the fence, after he caused its collapse, then refused to pay a penny towards it's replacement - but yet he has since descended upon our doorstep and dictated what height and style he wants...tbh I'm feeling like he's taking advantage of us during a very difficult time, which I don't understand as we've always tried to be quiet, polite and considerate neighbours all the years we've lived here. We have very recently found out that he has behaved in a very similar way a number of years ago to neighbours on the other side of his garden, and ended up with a fence to his personal specifications without paying anything towards it, even out of courtesy :roll:

Sorry for the long explanation/ramble, it's been quite stressful recently!

Hope that makes better sense? Any advice would be very much appreciated,

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby Morph » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:22 am

Hi - I was in the opposite situation of updating a fence then the neighbour retrospectively asking for changes. As Mr Sheen said, it was horrible. Applying my experience to your situation, in my humble opinion your post is more about your anxiety in dealing with the possible confrontation with a potential irritable neighbour) rather than the technical determination of your fenceline. You seem to have done the right thing - paying for a survey, paying for a fence. I would be open about your proposal (prob in writing ) , show your support and reasoning. Keep them informed. If the neighbour disputes then evaluate it as and when, decide what to agree or support when you don't agree, to but ultimately put the fence up as you see fit.

Is your neighbour elderly? Just checking..
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby Morph » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:35 am

Also take lots of photos before and after as proof of work done.
Also good reference point is Hedge section on http://www.boundary-problems.co.uk/boun ... edges.html

Good luck! Deep breathes.
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:29 am

Hi Morph,

Thanks for your advice, very much appreciated. He's older/retired, but very domineering, sales-manlike, very pushy, and is used to getting his own way etc - as are his family :roll: We're the opposite, just want a quiet life, quiet private types.

We wanted to replace the hedge when we first moved in as it was only 3 feet high max in most places and we've had zero privacy for 11 years. He was very awkward about it and after finding out what had happened with the previous owners, we decided to live with it and very politely re-visit the discussion at a later date - which we did several times, some of those times he agreed and said he's share the cost, then pulled out last minute saying he couldn't afford it - before spending a small fortune on landscaping his front garden and continuing to hack down the party hedge in the back garden...Oh the joys of suburban living :lol:

It's put us off using our garden which was the main reason we bought the house, when we do he just watches us the whole time :shock: which neither my husband and I or our two children feel comfortable with - he's not lonely, he has a better social life than we do - just nosy. We're at the stage now where we just want to get it done so we can move to a bungalow or similar (house without stairs) and this is one of the things we need to take care of as quickly and smoothly as possible - so yes you're quite right, I guess between knowing what's riding on it and the stress of caring for a seriously ill child I am anxious about dealing with an aggressive & monumentally selfish person on top of everything else.

Thanks, I'll certainly take pics & thanks for the link, I'll have a good read!
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:37 am

Sorry Mac, I replied to Aborlad rather than yourself - thanks for your reply!
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:41 am

Rob Lewis -

"++1 The root and stumps are a good indicator as the surveyor no doubt believed. Whatever the neighbour has done this location should be undisturbed"


Sorry - can I just check if you meant that we can't disturb what the neighbour has done, or that the neighbour shouldn't have disturbed the area?

Many thanks
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby arborlad » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:13 pm

Hedges are great for wildlife but make very poor boundary features, except perversely where they are shared.

How certain are you that the hedge is shared?..........if it is, you will need your neighbours agreement to remove it.

To ascertain the midpoint of a shared hedge it would have to predominately comprise of whatever it was originally planted with, be alive and show no signs of being disturbed with, ivy, honeysuckle, clematis etc., would be excluded.
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby timbuktoo&backagain » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:11 pm

Hi Aborlad, thanks for the reply,

The surveyor (who is experienced, has lived and worked locally for many years, and is familiar with the local boundaries and histories of the properties) believes it's the original hedge and is working from the deeds/plans etc. Most of the houses on the road all had the old original hedges, which have slowly been replaced with fencing over the years, tbf, the roots do look ancient. He's measuring the mid pint between both houses at various points, top, middle and bottom & the neighbour has originally said he thought that's where the shared boundary line would be - which is annoying as he's admitted to knowing where it is, but has still cut/cleared beyond the roots and shared boundary line for his own use iyswim? I think the surveyor talked about checking the line of hedge stumps once it was cut down, as the hedge itself has moved/grown/been forced over to collapse across our land, but apparently, the roots that haven't been removed are still on what should be the original line? He said they should should show the boundary line more clearly once the bulk of the hedge is out.

Our neighbour is now happy to replace the hedge with a fence as long as we pay for it in full, so that part has been agreed on eventually - earlier discussions involved him contributing towards the costs (we didn't say it to him, but the reason we asked him to contribute was because of the collapse was due to his treatment of the hedge - which lead to an immediate *need* to replace it, rather than through personal preference or even privacy issues - any accusations would just have kicked him off). We personally feel this is what he's always wanted, but we think he's tried to gain additional land in the process, if that makes sense.

The issue now is more about where he's cut into it, over the shared line into our garden, but we didn't know if he could legally claim the extra land he's been using/treating as his own, regardless of the boundary - our experienced fencing contractor was shocked when he saw it so it's not just us!


Personally, I far prefer hedges than fences - we have encouraged quite a wildlife habitat going on in our garden :) We've only wanted to replace it as the neighbour's abused it so badly for so many years it's fallen down and we've been left with zero privacy and security. We had thought about re-planting it, but we felt we would be here with him again several years later, and that when we want to sell it could cause an issue. Now we just want to get the fence in and plant new bushes and trees within our boundary for the birds who can't use the hedge anymore for nesting and shelter.

Anyway, thanks for reading.
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Re: Re-establishing Boundary line!

Postby despair » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:17 pm

surely there is a very clear start and end point of the boundary through which a line can be run to prove the boundary and likely follow the roots of the hedge
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