CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby bambi0895 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:59 am

Hi, i'm new on here and looking for some advice,

I am having some problems with my yard which is reffered to as a 'common yard' in my deeds, but is outlined on the land registry as belonging solely to me.

If you look at the diagram first you might get what i'm going on about because it's quite difficult to describe to someone who hasn't seen it.

So, i am number 83. I own the whole yard that you can see in the diagram - on the land registry thing (sorry no idea of technical terms!) the line is around the whole yard right up to the properties. HOWEVER it is referred to as a 'common yard' in the deeds.

Now when we moved in there was a four ish foot wall between us and 85 and they had a garage. They knocked the garage down and put up a 7 foot fence. I have no problem with this, they're nice and were sick of looking at my wasteland. I would have done the same.

Now i wan't to put my own fence up. Now as its my land i didn't think this would be an issue and i was assured by the estate agent and my solicitor before i bought that i could do this as it was all our land.

So we got someone to come round to measure up and no sooner did we have the landlord of 2 & 6 on our doorstep ranting and raving and demanding to see my deeds.

His problem is that they have access rights and hanging rights. Access rights aren't a problem as far as i am concerned, as my fence wouldn't go anywhere near their doors and they can get from the houses to the road without going through my proposed fenced off bit.

But these hanging rights are what this landlord is bothered about. My deeds say that 2, 4, 6, 81 and 85 have rights to hang washing from 85's garage which has been knocked down, across to their respective properties. LL's deeds say that washing lines should be attached the 'Clothes pole number 3' (i have no idea what this is there is not a single pole in the yard and has not been since i have lived there).

I told LL that i have no problem with lines going over fence and tenants coming in and using garden to hang washing. I said i would put in an unlocked gate and they were welcome to come and hang their washing as they pleased. Apparently this is not acceptable. i even offered to provide the lines. Still not acceptable.

LL said if i put a fence up he will take me to court.

I spoke to my solicitor (the one who did the conveyancing) who said that it would be a very harsh judge to rule against me. However they have now been shut down my the regulation authorities so i'm not sure how much trust i can put in what they said.

I have also spoken to a chartered surveyor recommended by RICS and he couldn't really help as he said nobody could really give me a definite yes or no. He advised me to go to the local library and see if i could get any historical pictures - i am going to do this tomorrow but not sure if they would even keep things like that. Our yard is just on a little back street so i have no idea if i will be able to find anything. I do have another CS to speak to so i will get a second opinion hopefully.

I'm thinking i should risk it and put up the fence and let him take me to court and have started gathering evidence.

Nobody has ever hung any washing in the yard whilst i have lived there. There are no poles. No washing lines and no garage. I can take photo evidence of this. I took several pictures last week including on the hottest day of the year and have timed and dated this. I think this is pretty good evidence that nobody uses this space.

I'm thinking i can get a statement of 85 saying when he took garage down and when he put the fence up and that nobody tried to stop him or mentioned any hanging rights then (I know they didn't as he's told me this but would it being written down stand up in court?)

I can also ask the guy at 4 to say he isn't bothered what i do as i have discussed this with him and he doesn't hang washing out or use the outside space other than letting his many cats out

what else can i do? Is it worth paying a solicitor when apparently nobody could give me a definite answer?

has anyone else had a situation like this? will it even get to court?!

any advice is appreciated!
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby mugwump » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:55 pm

Check their deeds. They probably have right of access over the whole of the 'common yard' so in answer to your question it will be no, you can't put a fence up
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:50 pm

Hi bambi0845,

your very rough sketch doesnt show us 1. what land is yours or 2. which areas of it the other properties have access rights over (not the hanging rights) - please can you provide a sketch that does.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby bambi0895 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:34 pm

Hi,

I have checked their deeds (well 2 and 6) and it just says the same as mine, that they have access right to their doors (which the fence would not affect) and hanging rights. There is no mention of them having rights to any of the space for their own enjoyment etc. They also have rights to put ashes in the 'ashes place' but that no longer exists and nobody has a working fire that i am aware of anymore.

I will purchase 81, and 4's deeds today and see what they say but i imagine it is much the same.

Mac, sorry about my rough diagram. I should explain that i own the whole square in front of my house (83) up to the door steps of 81, 2, 4 and 6. I don't own the land in front of 85. 2, 4 6 and 81 do not own any of the yard at all.
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby bambi0895 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:34 pm

i will draw a new diagram shortly which will hopefully be a bit more helpful!
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby jdfi » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:58 pm

The dotted line at the top of the diagram, is that the public highway?

Are 81 83 and 85 older properties than 2 4 and 6?

Do any have a right to walk over your land? If so, does it stipulate a walking route?

Similarly do they have a right to walk over 85?

I must say (going on what has been said so far) I would probably get this fence erected asap and see what happens.
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby bambi0895 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:11 pm

Hi,

please see my updated diagrams.

One shows my proposed fenced off area, what i actually own, and where the tenants of 81, 2, 4 and 6 would need to get access. 85 does not need access as he accesses his door from his own yard.

The other shows where the washing lines should be as per my deeds. It states they should hang from a hook on the garage of 85, and run to 2, 4, 6 and 81. Please note - this garage has been knocked down now, and a 7ft fence put up between me and 85.

The deeds of 2 and 6 say that the lines should hang from their properties to 'clothes line number 3' - there are no clothes poles at all in the yard. I have absolutely no idea where this was.

Yes, the dotted line is a public highway ( i understand i will need planning permission for a fence, which i think i would be fine getting as 90% of the other gardens backing on to it have fences) its like a back street. Minimal traffic, mostly just kids playing.

81, 83 and 85 are around the same age, i think they were all build around the same year. 1900 ish.

They only have access rights to their doors, which i have illustrated in the first diagram and an ashes place but this does not exist any more. They also obviously have a right to hang their washing. I have shown the lines on diagram 2.
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby bambi0895 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:12 pm

sorry i have now added the second diagram
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:41 pm

Hi bambi0845,

was a route specified regarding the ROW to back doors? (please share the wording)

assuming your plan does not "substantially interfere" with the ROW...

none of the dominant properties are currently able to benefit from the right to hang washing over your land because the washing lines and fittings have been removed.

therefore, until such time that a replacement washing line is installed over - but not attached to - your property, the installation of a fence as proposed does not interfere with these rights.

and until such a time a gate is not necessary because the dominant owners have no lawful right to be on that part of your property except to hang washing.

it might be determined, depending on the wording in the deed, that by acquiescing to the building of the extension on your property, the right to hang washing for No 2 and/or No 81 has been extinguished.

and it might also be determined, depending on the wording in the deed, that by acquiescing to the demolition of the garage on No 85, the right has been extinguished for all.

all that said, and if I was happy to end all neighbourly relations, I'd install the fence after assuring the neighbours that I'll install a gate if they ever come to have a washing line hanging over my property (note the deed does not require me to provide access over my land for the installation of a washing line, but only an idiot would deny access).

can I ask - why do you want to install the fence - is your yard being used as a "communal" area?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby jdfi » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:29 pm

When was your extension built?
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby mr sheen » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:56 pm

The fact that this yard is referred to as a 'common yard' in the deeds is likely to cause problems.
The principles of law form the basis for more detailed Laws. It is a principle of what is 'reasonable' to infer and apply the 'reasonable man' principle in relation to what he would do/think/believe/interpret etc. Someone has to formally 'own' land and this is recorded at the LR but the full extent of 'common' rights may not have been recorded.

The reference to the yard as 'common yard' allows the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' to the relevant properties and act in accordance with those firm beliefs.

As a result there is likely to be disputes, stress and hassle in relation to this 'common yard'. Some legal professionals may also interpret the wording differently too. So this matter may become very complicated.

Hence......Is there any way hassle could be avoided? Negotiation and compromise?

If I had a property with a 'common yard' and someone put up a fence, I would remove it.
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:14 pm

Hi ukmicky,

[i]The reference to the yard as 'common yard' allows the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' to the relevant properties and act in accordance with those firm beliefs.[/I{

it may allow the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' - but they don't believe that to date.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby mr sheen » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:21 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi ukmicky,

[i]The reference to the yard as 'common yard' allows the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' to the relevant properties and act in accordance with those firm beliefs.[/I{

it may allow the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' - but they don't believe that to date.

Kind regards, Mac


How do you know that.....crystal ball perhaps? Hope it's better than your reading skills...it's Mr Sheen, Mac.

A phone call to a solicitor soon embeds the idea. You can't get away from fact that 'common yard' is how the land is referred to in the deeds. One person owns it but others, the commoners, have rights over it and multiple rights by multiple commoners in this case.
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby MacadamB53 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:47 pm

mr sheen wrote:
MacadamB53 wrote:Hi ukmicky,

[i]The reference to the yard as 'common yard' allows the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' to the relevant properties and act in accordance with those firm beliefs.[/I{

it may allow the neighbours to firmly believe that the yard is in fact 'common' - but they don't believe that to date.

Kind regards, Mac


How do you know that.....crystal ball perhaps? Hope it's better than your reading skills...it's Mr Sheen, Mac.

A phone call to a solicitor soon embeds the idea. You can't get away from fact that 'common yard' is how the land is referred to in the deeds. One person owns it but others, the commoners, have rights over it and multiple rights by multiple commoners in this case.
whoops! sorry mr sheen - too much staring into my crystal ball has addled my brain. :D

my response is based on the notion that merely referring to the yard as 'common yard' when describing the ROW and "hanging" rights does not burden the yard with further rights.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: CAN I LEGALLY PUT UP A FENCE IN A 'COMMON YARD'?

Postby bambi0895 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:07 am

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi bambi0845,

was a route specified regarding the ROW to back doors? (please share the wording)

assuming your plan does not "substantially interfere" with the ROW...

none of the dominant properties are currently able to benefit from the right to hang washing over your land because the washing lines and fittings have been removed.

therefore, until such time that a replacement washing line is installed over - but not attached to - your property, the installation of a fence as proposed does not interfere with these rights.

and until such a time a gate is not necessary because the dominant owners have no lawful right to be on that part of your property except to hang washing.

it might be determined, depending on the wording in the deed, that by acquiescing to the building of the extension on your property, the right to hang washing for No 2 and/or No 81 has been extinguished.

and it might also be determined, depending on the wording in the deed, that by acquiescing to the demolition of the garage on No 85, the right has been extinguished for all.

all that said, and if I was happy to end all neighbourly relations, I'd install the fence after assuring the neighbours that I'll install a gate if they ever come to have a washing line hanging over my property (note the deed does not require me to provide access over my land for the installation of a washing line, but only an idiot would deny access).

can I ask - why do you want to install the fence - is your yard being used as a "communal" area?

Kind regards, Mac



Hi Mac,

Sorry for my late response, i can only access this forum on a computer for some reason!

There is not a specified route as such, all the deeds state that they have a right of access from the road to their back doors. For example this is from the deeds of no 81

"A right of way over such part of the common yard hereinbefore
referred to as may be necessary for the purpose of access to and from
the rear of the property hereby conveyed and the back road ten feet
wide hereinafter referred to"
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