New Fence exactly where the old one was?

New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby demare » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:00 am

Hi all

I hope someone will be able to help as we have a bit of an issue with one of our fences which need replacing. The fence is in between the gardens of two houses which are not attached but we believe by looking at the title deeds that the existing fence is on the boundaries of the properties.

When we first moved to this property we looked at the title deeds which didn't show any T to help with fences ownership. The solicitor said that therefore the fences were jointly owned. A year later a bit of the fence on the left hand side needed replacing. We asked the neighbour with whom we thought we shared the fence if they wanted to contribute 50% and they said yes. The cost was minimal anyway.

A year later after some big storm a much bigger part of the fence needed replacing (we both have dogs so it is quite important to have a good fence up) and we asked if they wanted to contribute to 50% of the cost like the previous time. However their response (the same neighbours!) was very different. Without mentioning that the previous year they DID agree to pay 50%, this time they came up with the story that we were solely responsible for the fence on our left hand side. We didn't want to argue and we needed the fence up (dog) so without asking why the previous year they had agree to pay etc, (it would have been pointless anyway unless we had been prepared to argue) we said fine, we'd pay. And we did. However whilst the fencing people were working, the neighbour came out of the house shouting at them as they were stepping and partially digging on her land. Unfortunately I was at work so could not intervene. They tried to finish the job as well as they could without stepping on her land, but the job was never done very well as it was impossible to replace the fence AS IT WAS BEFORE on the boundaries between properties without digging holes for the posts on the boundaries (50% on our land 50% on hers).

Recent storms have damaged the fence again...This time we are not even going to bother asking her (it's not a problem to pay for the fence even though I still think it should be 50%-50%) and we will pay for a new SUPER fence, however I am not sure where we stand legally...The present fence has been there for a long time and it is useful to both of us.

1) It is impossible to replace the existing fence (which is about 10m long) with one that is exactly in the same place without stepping on her land or digging holes in the ground which are partially on her land.
2) It doesn't seem right that we should move the fence inside our land and not having it on the boundary as it has always been... this would make our garden (which is not very big - we live in London!) even smaller.
3) Do we legally have the right to be able to replace the existing fence which is badly damaged exactly as it is, to step on her land and dig holes in the ground (which will obviously be filled and everything put back as it was once the new fence is up) ? This is what must have happened when the existing fence was put up 10 or 15 years ago, so why is it now a big problem?? I really don't want to end up getting solicitors involved for a fence!!

Thanks a lot for you help, very much appreciated!
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby span » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:06 pm

Go talk it over with your neighbor first.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby demare » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:14 pm

Talking to my neighbour after last year's shouts to the gardener is the last thing I want to do. I simply need to replace the old fence,parts of which are dangerously leaning in my and her garden, I am prepared to pay for it myself, even though I have my doubts it is fair, but I would like to know if this can be done temporarily stepping in her garden as long as everything is put back as it was when the job is finished.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby thin and crispy » Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:20 pm

No, you probably don't have any legal right to set foot in your neighbour's garden, but it is such a minor trespass that most people would regard her objection as petty. I doubt that a court would take notice of any complaint unless damage was caused.

More importantly, however, if the fence is indeed shared, you do not have the right to do anything to it without your neighbour's agreement - and she does not have to contribute half the costs unless her deeds include an obligation to jointly maintain the fence.

You could go ahead and place a new fence just tight inside the shared fence - especially as it will be a good quality one that you are paying for yourself. That gives you total control over it. The downside is that, as you say, you will lose a few inches of land. It might also create some ambiguity over the boundary line in the future, especially if your neighbour decides to remove the original posts. To a new neighbour, it would then look like your new fence is the shared one. So it's best to keep detailed and dated plans, as well as "before and after" photos.
Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument. Samuel Johnson.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby MacadamB53 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:17 pm

Hi demare,

Talking to my neighbour after last year's shouts to the gardener is the last thing I want to do.

that may well be true, but it is what you NEED to do because you both only partially own the fence and cannot lawfully do much to it without the other's consent...

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby Collaborate » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:42 am

If the fence is jointly owned then one of the owners can renew it (that's my understanding anyway), but it must be as it was before in dimensions and in so far as possible materials.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby demare » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:34 pm

Thank you - I am actually confused myself about who 'owns' the fence as I've had mixed messages from the neighbour - prepared to pay for 50% the first time the fence needed to be fixed, and then when the same situation presented itself again saying that the responsibility was 100% ours. If I go with what we were told last time we talked the her, the fence is our responsibility and will therefore go ahead with the work trying not to step into her garden - if possible.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby cleo5 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:44 pm

If the cost is not prohibitive and If the posts are still sound,might it not be possible to leave the original posts in place. Then bore central appropriate holes in all posts and thread straining wire through them top and bottom thereby marking the correct land boundary and then nail or screw close boarded fence to your side of the posts?
All this work can be done from your side.

Use pressure treated and pre stained planks and little further maintenance should be necessary.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby demare » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:53 pm

We really need to have a really good fence up so we can stop having to deal with the neighbour once a year every time a bad storm with strong winds ends up damaging the old fence. This means new concrete posts and strong wooden panels. I can't have the stress of 'who pays for what' and 'yes replace the fence but don't step in my garden' every year...we have found some very bizarre and unreasonable neighbour...I don't want to argue...I just need a new fence!!! :roll:
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby COGGY » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:02 pm

Hi
If you are prepared to pay for the fence, and if the neighbour also has a dog, then it is in her interests to have a good strong fence. Is it worth putting a letter through her door, stating that you are willing to pay for a fence, provided it can be a really strong fence with the concrete posts, stating that is only possible if she is prepared to allow entry to her garden. A letter may be better than speaking as she can read it, then think about it. If she is difficult she may well say no when talking to you but after thinking it over she will surely see the benefits to herself. Worth a try anyway. Coggy
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby mr sheen » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:02 pm

If you NEED a fence and the neighbour doesn't then you have the option of putting one up on your land at your cost. This removes any need to discuss with the neighbour again. Now there may be lots of reasons you don't want to do this but for those truly seeking an end to neighbour involvement the above is an option - take lots of photos to prove new fence is yours and retain receipt so that you can prove you paid for it and erected it on your land and therefore own it 100%.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby COGGY » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:03 pm

If the neighbour has a dog, as stated above, then she does need a fence.
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby mr sheen » Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:38 pm

No she doesn't NEED a fence she just has to keep her dog under control. Absolutely no legal need for a fence
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby arborlad » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:36 pm

demare wrote:When we first moved to this property we looked at the title deeds which didn't show any T to help with fences ownership. The solicitor said that therefore the fences were jointly owned.



This could be verified by looking at ownership of your other fences and those of other neighbours etc., shared fences are seldom a good idea.



We asked the neighbour with whom we thought we shared the fence if they wanted to contribute 50% and they said yes. The cost was minimal anyway.............. and we asked if they wanted to contribute to 50% of the cost like the previous time. However their response (the same neighbours!) was very different.



The difference in response could be due to changed circumstances.



....this time they came up with the story that we were solely responsible for the fence on our left hand side.



Would they be prepared to put that in writing, it would make life a whole lot easier for you.



1) It is impossible to replace the existing fence (which is about 10m long) with one that is exactly in the same place without stepping on her land or digging holes in the ground which are partially on her land.



This would be true of any fence whether wholly owned or shared which abuts or sits astride the boundary, there is an essential element of trespass involved in the construction and maintenance of any boundary feature. Is there anything particularly precious on the neighbours land, something to take extra care of?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: New Fence exactly where the old one was?

Postby demare » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:19 pm

LOL, I don't think so. she may have some plants planted by the fence, I am assuming. And so have I. They may have to be carefully removed and then replanted. The point is I have no idea why she is being so unreasonable and I would have liked to be told here that I could legally go ahead with a job that will benefit both of us as long as everything was put back as it was ...at my expense. But it seems that this is not the case. For some totally unknown reason I have found a neighbour that wants to make our life difficult. Great :cry: I'll have to find a way...
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