My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby Reena » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:06 am

I know it's probably been posted here before but I was looking for a specific answer to the question.

We've lived in the same property for nearly 17 years now, the neighbours we used to have next door you could write a book and a feature length film on "Neighbours From Hell", they were awful. Nearly 2 years ago now the house was finally repossessed and a very quiet Polish family moved in, kept themselves to themselves and we all lived happy lives again.

Almost 12 months ago the guy next door asked me if it was ok to change my fence, we had it put there ourselves about a year after we initially moved in, it caused major headaches and fights with our old neighbours who even after them seeing the deeds still claimed it was their side and we wasn't allowed to touch it. But yes, it is on our boundary line and is shown on the deeds to the house as being our responsibility.

When the neighbour asked if he could put a new fence up as a direct replacement we were silently over the moon as we'd meant for a few years to get it done but never found the money. As it was, the neighbours next door had bought the house cheap and were only interested in making a quick profit from it all when they sold it on, which they did just after xmas. The new Polish family living there are ok, we don't speak to them or they to us, I think like the previous ones they just want to keep themselves to themselves.

But the real question, does this new fence still belong to us as it once did before? It sits on the original boundary line so it's nether on their side or ours. When the new fence was put up all they did was fit new gravel boards and fence panels, the concrete posts that we put in ourselves are still there, they just slotted them in. The "nice" side of the panels are facing their side, not ours as it once was, but I'm sure I read somewhere that this doesn't denote ownership anyway. I also want to treat the fence too, the neighbour who replaced the fence had it painted with that cheap paint that's as useful as a chocolate teacup, I wanted to treat it something more "industrial" that would last for a very long time, obviously our new neighbours would see the unsightly drips on the other side of the fence. So... Is ownership of the fence still mine and do with it as I like?

Thanx in advance :)
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby arborlad » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:33 am

Have a read of this thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=20320
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby mr sheen » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:09 pm

What very nice neighbours you now have after the hassle of bad neighbours for many years. They paid to replace an old 16 year old fence and replaced it in exactly the same place that it was originally, with no arguments about boundary location.
Now your turn to be equally pleasant and amenable back.
If it really is so important to you to change the colour of this free new fence, pop round and ask if they have any objections. If they have used cheap paint they have probably spent more than they wanted replacing the fence....perhaps painting both sides with better quality stuff could be your contribution to this newly amicable arrangement.

If you want to start another neighbourhood war like the one you had for 15 years or so, then go round and confront them, claim to own the fence and inform them that you are changing the colour whether they like it or not since the fence is technically yours as far as you are concerned.

Yep the ball is in your court.
Thanking your lucky stars for these nice new neighbours who have paid to replace the old fence and paying for the staining or minimally living with the colour they have used would be my preference over and above another war.....but your choice.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby Reena » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:35 pm

The neighbours we have now are not the ones who replaced the fence, they recently bought the house. With regards to the paint, our side of the fence is completely bare and untreated and exposed to the elements. I get your points and thank you, but my question really related to the legal ownership of the fence since the original one was mine on my boundary line and put there by myself.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby COGGY » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:45 pm

Hi
Imagine a different scenario. Imagine the present neighbours treated their side of the fence, with drips and stains coming over to your side. Would you be happy? If not then take Mr. Sheen's well meant advice, speak to the neighbours and offer to treat both sides of the fence. You are very willing to accept ownership of the fence bought by previous neighbours.

It is rather unusual imo that two different and unconnected neighbours have replaced fences around your property to which you claim ownership. Coggy
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby mr sheen » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:32 pm

The legal ownership of the fence can only definitively be determined by a Judge on the balance of probabilities in relation to the amount of evidence of ownership on each side.
You did not pay for the fence so the invoice proving payment for the fence is the best evidence of ownership at the moment so you would find it difficult to get more evidence of ownership than the current invoice.
If your original fence was put on the boundary line and this just replaced it (and you granted permission for that to occur), then you may have evidence of ownership of the original fence on the boundary line but the neighbours have evidence of ownership of the current fence.
If you had wanted to retain ownership and control over the fence, you had the option to replace the old fence and pay for the replacement, or at least have offered to pay half for the replacement. Since you chose not to do those, the balance of evidence of ownership now favours the neighbours.

You can claim to own the fence, but the neighbour can just ask for proof whilst offering the invoice as their proof in which case they have evidence of ownership and you do not. If you want to try to prove to a Judge in court that you in fact do own it, then that is your prerogative but the costs will be high and they start off with better evidence of ownership.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby arborlad » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:42 pm

Reena wrote:But the real question, does this new fence still belong to us as it once did before? It sits on the original boundary line so it's nether on their side or ours. When the new fence was put up all they did was fit new gravel boards and fence panels, the concrete posts that we put in ourselves are still there, they just slotted them in.




Yes - unless there is something we are unaware of.........the whole fence hasn't been changed, only some of the components , gravel boards and panels, once they were slotted into your posts - they became yours.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby mr sheen » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:17 pm

arborlad wrote:
Reena wrote:But the real question, does this new fence still belong to us as it once did before? It sits on the original boundary line so it's nether on their side or ours. When the new fence was put up all they did was fit new gravel boards and fence panels, the concrete posts that we put in ourselves are still there, they just slotted them in.




Yes - unless there is something we are unaware of.........the whole fence hasn't been changed, only some of the components , gravel boards and panels, once they were slotted into your posts - they became yours.


Good luck getting a neighbour to accept this. It assumes that the neighbour has gifted fence panels. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the OP took down and retained the new fence panels claiming they now owned them....try convincing the neighbour and the police that the people who paid for them has no claim to them.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby arborlad » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:35 pm

mr sheen wrote: It assumes that the neighbour has gifted fence panels.



As the previous neighbour asked permission to do so - that is a fair assumption to make.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby mr sheen » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:54 pm

YOU may assume that, perhaps the neighbours' assumptions and intentions need to be checked.

Interesting definitive 'yes' that OP owns the fence panels based just on basic info from one side.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby despair » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:43 pm

no idea what you term " industrial " fence treatment

the correct treatment is

Ronseal/ cuprinol Shed and fence preserver or its equivalent at Wickes

this comes in a tall rectangular profile not round tin

its thin and goes a long way and other than the very dark brown, red cedar or green colour ones will not show through or drip the other side

Hence whilst its more like £20 a tin it only needs repeating about every 3 to 5 years and preserves rather than paints so its end cost is cheaper
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby arborlad » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:02 pm

Reena wrote: With regards to the paint, our side of the fence is completely bare and untreated and exposed to the elements.



It's very unusual these days to have panels that are completely untreated, most will get a dip in a tank of 'creosote', the better ones will be pressure treated.

Have you had a chance to read the thread I linked to - very similar situation to yours.

Your thread title is a bit misleading, it gives the impression that the entire fence has been replaced - which is clearly not the case.
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:13 pm

Hi,

My understanding is that if somebody attaches something to my property, the attachment becomes my property.

In this case, the original fence posts remained in place, and therefore remained your property. New panels were slid into slots in the posts. You did not mention whether they were nailed in place, so I assume they were not ... and can be slid out again. This suggests that the posts are yours, and the panels are your neighbours. But hey, what do I know?

After that, my brain starts to hurt.

Can you demand that your neighbours remove their panels, so that you can fit your panels?

Can your neighbours remove their panels, turn them round, and refit them with the painted side facing you ... after which they can paint their new side with the dregs left in the cans.

IF you do not own the fence panels, are you allowed to paint the side facing you?

What do your Polish neighbours think of the colour of their fence? They may not even realise that they have a choice in the matter. Presumably their LR Certificate tells them the fence is yours. But do they understand UK land law as well as I don't? Would the previous owner have bothered mentioning the history of the fence?

There's more, :roll: , but that should do for now.

John W
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby arborlad » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:43 pm

jonahinoz wrote:Hi,

My understanding is that if somebody attaches something to my property, the attachment becomes my property.



You are correct, it's a basic tenet of land law: Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit , "whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil".
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Re: My Neighbour Replaced My Fence

Postby Collaborate » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:15 am

Reena wrote: It sits on the original boundary line so it's nether on their side or ours. When the new fence was put up all they did was fit new gravel boards and fence panels, the concrete posts that we put in ourselves are still there, they just slotted them in.



The problem you have with the principle referred to by Arborlad is that the fence straddles the boundary, so belongs to both of you jointly. Look at the deeds carefully. Do they say that you own the fence/boundary feature, or do they impose a positive covenant on previous owners to maintain the fence? Whilst the latter may suggest ownership, it doesn't make you the owner. As you say it straddles the boundary, the fence is jointly owned. You own the posts and they own the rest. Neither can alter the fence without the consent of the other, save for repair or replacing like for like.
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