Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby keepingfitgirl » Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:18 pm

Hi everyone, I'm hoping some of you could offer me some advice as I'm going out of my mind.

In January 2014 we asked our neighbours if they would mind us taking down the chain link fence which is their responsibility to maintain, as it wasn't in the best of conditions and all their overgrown grass and weeds were coming into our garden and replace it with a nice wall, as we was having this built on the opposite side and at the front.
They gave permission and once done, commented on how nice it was. The lady has said how she would like one to match the other side.
I would like to add that the wall was built in the same place as the chain link fence was but is obviously thicker as breezeblock and not chain link fence! The old fence had stood in that positionfor at leat the last 13 years as was there when I moved into my property in 2002.

Then in June 2015 we was clearing out our garden and replacing all of our fence panels.
next doors side which they are responsible for was in a terrible state, broken, tied together with string, and in some places falling right over into my side as the shrubs were the only thing holding them up.
My husband asked if they were going to sort the fence to which they replied he had got quotes but were coming out very expensive, my husband said that we were doing our fence panels and would he mind if we replaced their broken fence, again he was very pleased and agreed. It was A very hot day and my next door neighbour came out and offered the fencer, my husband and my husbands employee at the time 3 cold bottles of drinks and again commented on how nice it looked.
This fence was put in the exact same place as the one we took down that had stood for at least the last 13 years as was there when I moved into my property in 2002. My neighbours moved in 6 years ago in 2010.

2 weeks ago I get a letter from next doors soliciter, stating that we built a wall and erected a fence without giving my neighbours warning or getting their permission, so I am encroaching on their land and that he demands I take down fences and wall and erect them on the proper boundary and that i pay £1500 for the surveyors report he has had done (I knew nothing about this) and to pay all his legal fees or else he's taking me to court and I can expect £30,000-£50,000 on court fees!!!

I can't believe what I'm reading, We DID ask permission , they did consent, I don't know why he's got a surveyor in, I've never assumed this was now my fence and wall just coz I paid for it, it was a gift to replace his broken ones which he accepted and they have all been put in the exact same places as the previous ones had stood for at least the last 13 years!
We would never have knocked and asked for permission if we was putting it on our side, we literally just paid to replace the broken ones, I've not demanded it's mine or tried adding it to my deeds.
We just done a kind thing.
The walls and fences look lovely and compliment both of our houses.
I can not understand how 2 years 10 months after the wall was erected and one year 5 months after the fences were replaced he is now saying all of this.
I suffer with extreme anxiety since the diagnosis of my sons medical condition, and this is making me ill, I can't eat, can't sleep, I just don't know what to do, we don't have any money left now as all the money we borrowed has been spent on the house.

Any advice I would greatly appreciate.

Thankyou in advance
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby mr sheen » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:02 pm

No need to get stressed about this.
How you handle it is important though and since they have taken a legal route you need to keep your cards close to your chest ie keep info short and precise, don't talk about permission or other 'legal' details and get them to give more info to you.

At this stage my reply to the solicitor would be along the lines......


We acknowledge receipt of you letter dated...xyz.

The boundary features have been in place for many years and their position has never been disputed.

In order for us to consider our response to your client's assertion that the long-standing boundary is in the wrong position, we will need to review the evidence that he is relying upon to support his assertions.

We trust that you will forward a copy of the Surveyors Report and other evidence forthwith so that this matter can be resolved amicably and in accordance with the spirit of the Civil Procedure Rules.


.......and see what happens
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby despair » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:18 pm

Ditto
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby arborlad » Fri Nov 18, 2016 6:35 pm

keepingfitgirl wrote:2 weeks ago I get a letter from next doors soliciter, stating that we built a wall and erected a fence without giving my neighbours warning or getting their permission, so I am encroaching on their land and that he demands I take down fences and wall and erect them on the proper boundary and that i pay £1500 for the surveyors report he has had done (I knew nothing about this) and to pay all his legal fees or else he's taking me to court and I can expect £30,000-£50,000 on court fees!!!




That seems to be a wholly disproportionate response to any perceived wrong - you simply donated a fence to them, a not uncommon thing to do.

Although you seem to have received a letter from your neighbour's solicitor, talking to your neighbour and trying to find out what has brought about this change, has to be preferable to any form of letter writing at this stage.

Have there been any changes next door?..........a partner moving out/back, a child moving back in.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby keepingfitgirl » Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:32 am

Thankyou for getting back to me.

the surveyors report is in the letter, he is saying that the boundary line runs off the edge of their house, which is where the fence and wall runs so the fence posts are in his garden if you see what I mean, I think they want the fence like an inch into my side. Letters hard to understand, there's land title forms and all sorts attached although they don't really say much and the boundary is obviously just a general red line. They are saying the surveyor was £1500 and he wants me to pay it. I didn't even know he had got a surveyor out, I can't see why he did this, all we did was pay to replace the exhausting fence as he couldn't afford to so out everything in the exact same place. The front wall as I said before is a lot thicker as its breeze blocks and not a skinny chain link fence.

All I have written to the soliciter so far is that I received you letter. As I had 14 days in which to do so. I then have another 14 days to go back with my answer to agreeing to my neighbours request.

I can't afford to rip it all down and place it an inch my side.

The back I can't move anymore into my side as our brick shed and floweredbeds are right up to the fences

If I took it all down is it law that I put anything else up? Could I say well I don't fancy a wall or wooden fences anymore so we will have to have an open plan garden?

Or will my neighbour then say well you threw my fence panels and front fence away so you need to replace them! Then I would say well there you are there's a fence and a brick wall....REPLACEMENT ...it just doesn't make sense :-(
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby keepingfitgirl » Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:39 am

....oh and the reason I think this letter has come about is because the side of their house happens to be a wall in my garden if you see what I mean and we attached 4 screws onto to keep the gutter pipe stable that was collecting both of our houses rain water, he wanted the 4 screws taken out and the gutter pipe put on the back of my house, we assumed as this wall (their back end of house) is a party wall so we could do that. They have no accesses to that part or the gutter there as would mean coming into my property, when this house was a council house as it was when I first moved in the council always replaced that part of the gutter even though it's the neighbours wall so we presumed it was ok. They have had a new roof and their builders have cemented their ridge tiles over our roof tiles so my husband told him he was being petty over 4 screws and a gutter pipe seeing as he's cemented his roof onto of ours. This conversation took place over a year ago! He obviously must have a bee in his bonnet over that still and is now thinking of ways to make his letter sound better as getting a soliciters letter about 4 screws would be very petty!...do now he's lying saying we didn't ask permission etc for the fence and walls. anyhow the pipe and 4 screws my husband removed about a month ago before the soliciters letter turned up.
Next doors roof is still cemented onto ours! However we haven't took this any further than just telling the neighbour a year ago about it
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby mr sheen » Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:59 pm

To protect your interests and prevent them intimidating you into thinking the wrong things, I think it is worth you getting a solicitor to review all the contents and reply. You need a solicitor who deals with land disputes since it is rare for these to go to court since the value of the land involved is so small in comparison to costs and consequently Judges are unsympathetic to these disputes.

They can't make you pay for a surveyor without having got your permission to share the costs first.

The solicitor is trying to scare you but if they have gone down this formal route so quickly you need a professional to reply to set out your defence formally after s/he has looked at the evidence they are relying upon just in case this is a 'letter before legal action' or a 'particulates of claim' which both need formal replies.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby despair » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:20 pm

have you very carefully checked all insurances,mortgages,credit cards,union memberships for legal expenses cover

you probably have it without realising

i cannot see anyway whatever that a judge would order you to move a fence or wall that you have gifted to the neighbours because its just 1 inch over the boundary

if they have illegally attached /cemented their roof to yours that is a far far bigger issue because they did not seek any agreement whatever wheras you sought permission to replace and gift them a new fence
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby keepingfitgirl » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:29 pm

I have put the fences and the brick wall in the exact same places as the previous ones have stood. I think what he is saying because I've paid for them they should be solely on my land, however they are not mine as they were a gift he accepted like I said before 2 years and 10 months ago and also 1 year 6 months ago for the rear. I haven't put them anywhere different and seeing as they are theirs we put them in exact same place. Now his surveyor is saying I'm encroaching his land because I own the fences because I paid for them. I may have paid for them but I gave them as a gift as my neighbour couldn't afford to replace the broken ones. I have no issue with the boundary, we just replaced in a like for like position as the previous ones that had stood there for at least the last 13 years. I don't know why he paid for a surveyor he could have knocked on my door and I would have said they are on the exact same boundary as the last fences , so as your responsible for that side they were naturally put in the exact same place. I just don't get it.
Does anyone know if there is a law to have fences up to seperate the properties?
I've looked at house insurance but says it doesn't cover boundary issues, however I'm not disputing the boundary???
I think he may have gone down this route as the soliciters letter is miles and miles away from here, the same with the surveyors report.

I'm just so fed up, I can't believe people can be so nasty :(
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby mr sheen » Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:58 pm

There is no law to force anyone to have a fence or any other marker of the boundary, but this approach can lead to problems later on.
The issue that you have is that the communication they have sent is part of a formal process that you should comply with in order to show that you are complying with the civil procedure rules. They have jumped in too early with legal action if there has not been discussions before and the suggestion that you will have to pay for surveyor and then court costs is ridiculous scaremongering at this stage.
It is highly unlikely that a court will require you to move a wall and fence a few inches...the lawsuit is frivolous.......based on what you have said....BUT we have only heard your side and have not seen the deeds or reports etc so we can't pass an opinion on your specific case. If you have just replaced fences in the same place that they have stood for years then they have a very weak case and are just testing their luck and I can't understand why he has had a survey and why that cost £1500 which is extortionate for a surveyors report on a boundary fence.

If you want to outline the specifics of the solicitors letter (made anonymous obviously!), contributors may be able to help more.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby keepingfitgirl » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:16 pm

The soliciters letter says

Despite our client being liable for the maintenance of the shared boundary as outlined in the pre registration deeds you have taken action to erect a wall to seperate the two houses. This was undertaken without our clients permission and without our client receiving any notice of the same. This wall is owned entirely by you, although it encroaches into our clients property occasioning a trespass.

You have also taken action to sect a fence to the rear of the properties again without notice or permission from our client.
Similarly this fence encroaches onto our clients propert, over the legal boundary.

To support the position our client has obtained the encloses report from a senior land surveyor. The report confirms that your wall and fence are all trespassing onto your clients property and as such we truest that you take action to remove these items immediately.

Action required

As part of any settlement our clients requests the following:

That I provide written confirmation that's you accept the legal boundary of the properties as to be stated in the surveyor report

That you take action to remove your wall and fence from our clients property and reinstate the wall and fence along the correct boundary

That you make payment of the cost of our client having to obtain the report being £1300 plus VAT

That you make payment of our clients legal costs incurred to date, to be assessed and confirmed upon your written response.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby arborlad » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:32 pm

keepingfitgirl wrote: Now his surveyor is saying I'm encroaching his land because I own the fences because I paid for them.




The owner of the fence is the one whose land it is attached to: Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit , "whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil"

I think you should check the credentials of the surveyor and solicitor, not unknown for both to be bogus.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby mr sheen » Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:10 am

This is a try on.

You could get advice of a solicitor a nd get them to reply.....or ......send a letter yourself to the solicitor to avoid costs..

If it was me, my reply would be along the lines.....


I refer to your letter dated....xyz.

The Boundary features referred to in your letter have been in the current position for more an 13 years. There are numerous witnesses to the fact that the current position of the boundary features pre-dates the occupation by ourselves and your client. The position of the boundary features has never been disputed.

2 years ago we discussed the poor condition of The original fences with your client. Your client accepted that it was his responsibility to maintain them but had no funds to do so at the time. We graciously offered to replace and repair the boundary features wholly at our expense for the benefit of your client and he agreed to this solution and thanked us for our generous offer.

Works were carried out on The boundary features over a number of weeks, 2 years ago and a year ago respectively entirely at our cost. At no time during the replacement process did your client dispute the position of the boundary feature or indicate that he was unhappy with the works or the position of the boundary features. At no time before or after replacement of the boundary features has your client made any complaint to us or disputed the position of the boundary features.

In view of the above, we are amazed that after this substantial period of time, your client is now complaining for the first time about the position of boundary features.

You are no doubt aware that your client's choice to unilaterally engage a Surveyor was his choice and consequently the costs are solely his.
If your client chose to take legal advice, that is his choice and consequently the costs are his.

We trust that you will now confirm that the matter is closed.


If they persist further, you could consider offering at a later date some options for resolving the dispute (this would show willing and would make them look even more stupid if they proceeded to court with this) .....
1. The neighbour moving the boundary features at his expense 2/3/4 inches (as indicated in the surveyors report towards your land
2. The neighbour removing the boundary features at his expense and erecting his own boundary features in the current position
But whatever solution....you need do nothing nor pay for anything.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby Collaborate » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:24 am

If the wall at the back (to which the downpipes is attached with your 4 rogue screws) is a party wall, then you each own half of the wall. That means that the true boundary starts not on the side of that wall facing your garden, but in the mid point of that wall. Are you therefore sure that the boundary is where their surveyor is claiming, or have I misunderstood the layout?

Perhaps if you could post a diagram that would assist in my understanding.
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Re: Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Postby keepingfitgirl » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:33 am

This wall was where the pipe and 4 screws were attached so it's part of their house but happens to be in my garden. Pipe and screws are not shown in this pic as we hadn't fitted it at this point but am just showing you how their house abuts ours.
Like I said the 4 screws and gutter pipe were removed before I even received the soliciters letter so is now irrelevant.
You can see the old fence in the pic and this is exactly where the new fence has gone.
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