Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby conkerwoman » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:26 pm

A couple of years ago, my neighbour's predecessor built a patio towards the end of their garden.

They removed the chain-link fence that defined the boundary and cut 3 feet into the old 6ft-thick hedge that lives on my side of the boundary. Then they built a low stone wall, with the thickness of the wall on my side.

I have only just discovered this. I have been ill for several years and the hedges had become rangy and overgrown during that time, so I couldn't really see what was going on, and had no energy for wrangles.

The new neighbour is now planning to put three wooden fencing panels up between the wall and the very end of the garden, and it looks like he is using the new stone wall as the guideline for placing it.

I haven't had much to do with him, but he seems OK and we had a friendly chat yesterday when I gently broached the subject of his wall jutting onto my side. He became quite upset and said he hates boundaries and such disputes, we would all get along a lot better without all that.

I would leave it, but my hedge has been thinned so much it's see-through, and I can't grow it out more my side as it would then overhang the pond.

It's not his fault, but then again I would like my nice thick hedge back again - the birds loved it.

Any advice?

PS I have just taken the liberty of stepping into my neighbour's garden whilst he was out, and it's VERY obvious what has happened from his side. No wonder he doesn't want any boundary disputes - if I take my bit back his patio will be severely reduced in size.
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Re: Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby despair » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:15 pm

It will depend on exactly how long ago the wall was built and the chain link removed along with what other proof of the true boundary you can provide

As by not doing anything before you may be seen to have aquiesed

Check very carefully all mortgages /insurances/credit cards/union membership for Legal Expenses Cover because otherwise you may need deep pockets to fight this one
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Re: Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby ukmicky » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:11 pm

For the neighbour to claim an equitable right due to acquiescence, firstly the encroachment must have been carried out by the person who did it innocently with no knowledge that they were land grabbing. (Clean hands)

The OP must have also been aware of the land grab and then did nothing, s/he says they were unaware of the encroachment.

You can get this bit of land back but it could be expensive and very hard to prove exactly where the boundary lies.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby conkerwoman » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:56 pm

The first time I saw this grab was last weekend. It happened in summer 2007, at a time when the hedge was overgrown so couldn't clearly see what was going on. In September that year I became ill and am only just recovering so the hedge stayed overgrown, concealing the grab even in winter. From my side, all you can see through the thin hedge is a low wall, but it was impossible to judge where the wall was in relation to the boundary until we cut the hedge right back last weekend, in an effort to neaten it up.

The previous owner did the work while preparing his house for sale. He has made a 12ft wide decked patio at the end of a 9ft wide garden. The extra 3 feet have been acquired by cutting into my hedge, across the boundary. The grabbage is very obvious indeed.

I was certainly not acquiescent, as I was very upset that the lovely old hedge had been thinned so drastically. I assumed the thinning was because they had cut their side of the hedge back to the boundary - I never imagined they would have cut across into my side.

I have two good site plans and these clearly show a straight boundary, with no sign of a dog-leg. There are remains of the original chain-link fence and supporting posts at either side of the grab, and the grab extends 3ft further into my side than both of these. I also have a neighbour at the end of my garden whose family owned both properties in the past - her grandparents in mine and her parents in next doors - and she confirms that the boundary has always been straight.

I have Legal Assistance cover on my household policy, and I rang them this afternoon. They advised that I try and persuade the neighbour to jointly commission a survey, which will cost about £250 and hopefully settle the matter. I would gladly spend £125 to get my lovely thick hedge back, and be able to walk round my pond again - but I would much rather spend the money on plants. Hopefully, when he sees the plans and realises I am serious, he will comply.
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Re: Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby despair » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:10 am

Effectively your neighbour has a claim against the previous owner of the house because what he bought is not actually his
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Re: Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby ukmicky » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:52 pm

You can get this bit of land back but it could be expensive and very hard to prove exactly where the boundary lies.
should have said you may be able to get this bit of land back
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbour moved boundary by cutting into large hedge

Postby Roblewis » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:16 pm

Try and talk to the neighbour once more with the plans, you may find that the google earth picture of use as these are often relatively old. The existence of the old fence posts is good evidence for a surveyor and the courts but unfortunately if the neighbour becomes obstinate you are going to face some court problems. The new neighbour may also have a claim against their vendor - if this boundary has been deliberately moved to increase the market value of the house then a misrepresentation has occurred in the contract of sale and this is actionable by the purchaser against the vendor. Point this out to the neighbour - he has likely been conned
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