Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:33 pm

Hello. I've searched around for information on this but haven't turned up anything really relevant, so I'll be grateful for any thoughts.

I live in a semi-detached bungalow built in the early sixties. When I moved in nearly eighteen years ago the fence between my back garden and my immediate neighbour's was a very cheap and cheerful open-wire construction, very possibly the one erected when the properties were new. My deeds mark this fence (or at least the boundary on that side of the garden) with a horizontal T mark which I understand means that the fence is my responsibility.

Sixteen years ago new people moved in next door. As they had a dog they asked if they could replace the fence with a solid one. I agreed and we paid half the costs between us. My neighbour erected the new fence on the line of the old one and for the past sixteen years we've both accepted that it marked the boundary: both our gardens were developed up to the fence.

At the end of last year I had some work done on my bungalow, including a loft conversion with a rear dormer window, this being done with full planning permission. My neighbour has informed me that the cladding on the end wall of this window overhangs the boundary and intrudes onto his property. He is claiming that the fence doesn't mark the boundary at all, but is some inches on his side of it: his reasoning is that the boundary is actually a line extended from the mid-point of the party wall between our bungalows. It is true that the fence line is slightly off-centre.

He is also insisting that I remove the thin strip of my garden (that lies between the fence and his newly-established boundary) from his land and put up a new fence on the actual boundary line.

My question is this: is there a case for saying that since he accepted the fence as the boundary for so many years, then it has essentially become the boundary?

I have tried to find precise information as to where the "true" boundary lies but this isn't proving easy: the photocopied plan in my deeds is very small scale and the lines marking my property drawn in very crudely. I asked the both the Land Registry and the local planning department if they had anything more detailed but they don't. My neighbour hasn't provided any proof that the boundary does lie where he says it does.

Any opinions will be very welcome. Thanks.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Ads are not endorsed by www.gardenlaw.co.uk or the staff thereof and visitors should perform their own due diligence on the product or service offered.
 

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby jonahinoz » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:23 pm

Hi Doctor John,
The word you want (I think) is ESTOPPEL. Google .... here is just one definition.

ESTOPPEL. a bar or impediment preventing a party from asserting a fact or a claim inconsistent with a position that party previously took, either by conduct or words, especially where a representation has been relied or acted upon by others.

This often comes up when a neighbour watches you build a wall, and waits until it is finished before telling you it is on his property. In your case, your neighbour helped you erect your fence, and contributed towards it's cost, which was generous of him. It's your fence on your land.

Tell your neighbour that it will cost him five figures to fight this in court, and he wouldn't win.

Tell him it is your fence, and there is nothing to stop you removing it completely ... but if you so chose, you could leave the two end posts with a bit of string between them, to mark your boundary. Does he still have a dog?

John W
jonahinoz
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:15 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:36 pm

John W,

Many thanks for that.
It's your fence on your land.


Ah, but is it? Would this "position that the party previously took" situation over-ride the actual position of the "true" boundary, assuming that this could somehow be established?
Last edited by Doctor John on Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Eliza » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:38 pm

I'd agree.

That being you could say just one word to the neighbour, ie Estoppel.

Followed by ignoring them.
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....
Eliza
 
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:28 am

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:39 pm

Thanks, Eliza, though ignoring him will be difficult as he's also pursuing another campaign against the work I had done, claiming that the local planning department shouldn't have granted me permission to do it, on the grounds that his privacy has been invaded. He keeps mentioning the Planning Enforcement Officer and the Local Government Ombudsman, though so far I've heard nothing from either, and this has been going on for months now.

But all that is off-topic for this forum; apologies for raising it.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:09 pm

Hi Doctor John,

My deeds mark this fence (or at least the boundary on that side of the garden) with a horizontal T mark which I understand means that the fence is my responsibility.

your understanding is incorrect.

'T' marks on a deed plan only have any meaning if they are referred to in the wording in the deed itself, otherwise they are meaningless.

in other words, it is the wording which may reference which boundary features were included in the original sale.

kind regards, Mac
MacadamB53
 
Posts: 5960
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:13 am

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:16 pm

Mac,

Thanks for that; I'll check the wording in the deed.

Edited to add:

Well, my grasp of legalise is hardly perfect, but I think these are the relevant passages.

Firstly, on page 2:

THE Purchaser for herself and her successors in title hereby covenants with the Vendor to the intent and so as to bind (so far as practicable) the property hereby transferred and every part thereof into whosoever hands the same may come... and at all times to to observe perform and comply with the restrictive covenants and stipulations set out in the schedule hereto.

And then on page 4:

THE SCHEDULE before referred to.

The third paragraph reads as follows (and I've tried to reproduce the layout):

... Forthwith to erect and hereafter to maintain good and sufficient
nces along the boundaries of the land hereby transferred marked
" within the boundaries upon the said plan.


The copy I have is a photocopy and the extreme left-hand side of this particular page is missing. Good and sufficient fences is a reasonable assumption for lines one to two, and I suppose the probability is that marked "I-" within the boundaries is the lost text for lines two to three.

Which suggests, if I'm right, that the fence along the disputed boundary is indeed my responsibility - which makes it interesting that my neighbour has just removed it, on the grounds that (a) it was his fence, entirely on his land, and (b) the wood was rotting.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:04 pm

Hi Doctor John,

from the info provided it would seem that the current fence may not have been built along the same line as the original - is there still evidence of where the original stood?

however, it could be argued that given the length of time that has passed without issue it now marks the boundary.

kind regards, Mac
MacadamB53
 
Posts: 5960
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:13 am

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:11 pm

Mac,

No, the line was identical as near as makes no odds. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.

However, it could be argued that given the length of time that has passed without issue it now marks the boundary.


Thanks for that.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:54 am

By way of illustration, here's the fence in question. It was erected exactly on the line of the original wire netting fence and, like that one, is not centrally located between the two bungalows (the patio door opening was originally a window, identical to the one next door). The offset is no more than a couple of inches or so, but makes a vital difference to the question of whether or not my new dormer window overhangs the boundary.
.
Attachments
Fence location before building work.jpg
Fence location before building work.jpg (106.18 KiB) Viewed 448 times
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:18 pm

Apologies for posting several times in a row, but I've just obtained this and would be grateful for any comments. It's an enlarged image taken from the photocopy plan which was provided with the deed to my home. Though the marking-out of the plot is obviously even cruder at this size, the outer lines delineating the boundaries seem to be clear and unobscured - and by my measurement the boundary with the neighbouring plot is indeed fractionally offset on the rear wall of the two bungalows - enough to suggest that the original off-centre fence was built to that line. I know it's virtually impossible to judge such a matter from a photo of a photocopy posted to a web forum but nonetheless I'd be interested in any views: am I wrong in trying to take information from such a possibly ambiguous source? Many thanks.
.
Last edited by Doctor John on Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:24 pm

Sorry, I was adding the photo when I was called away, and now the editing window has passed. So here is the picture:
.
Attachments
Deed plan plus arrows resized.jpg
Deed plan plus arrows resized.jpg (89.53 KiB) Viewed 433 times
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:54 pm

Hi Doctor John,

by my measurement the boundary...

I would strongly advise against trying to scale up from an OS map - not because I think you're incapable but because due to the inaccuracy of the map it's just an extremely bad idea.

Kind regards, Mac
MacadamB53
 
Posts: 5960
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:13 am

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby Doctor John » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:08 pm

Mac, that's exactly as I suspected, but at the moment the enlarged photocopy is the only resource I have. A surveyor friend is investigating for me, to try to locate something better.

If there simply is nothing better, what does that mean as far as placing the boundary is concerned? Can I go by the "mutually agreed usage" position, as discussed above? Or must I agree with my neighbour's contention which is that the boundary is defined by a line projected through the exact mid-point of the party wall?

Thanks for your reply.
Doctor John
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:55 pm

Re: Neighbour wants to establish a (possibly) moved boundary

Postby jonahinoz » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:42 pm

Hi Doctor John,

My understanding is that Land Registry maps do not show where the boundary is ... they just show there is a boundary. I seem to remember reading that the Land Registry have one meter tolerance on lines on their maps.

Your neighbour has instigated a dispute, which will detract from the value of both properties, until it is resolved. He has also started on the road to bankruptcy, if he pursues this through the courts. But is it worth engaging in a flame war to defend your few inches?

602
jonahinoz
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:15 pm

Ads are not endorsed by www.gardenlaw.co.uk or the staff thereof and visitors should perform their own due diligence on the product or service offered.
 
Next

Return to Boundaries

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests