Neighbour trying to get some land (or charge me for it) HELP

Neighbour trying to get some land (or charge me for it) HELP

Postby Grendel » Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:25 pm


Last November we decided it was about time that the ever-falling down fence needed replacing. This runs along one side of our property and at the end of three others to our right.

I tried to find out who owned the fence, to see if I could share costs. There are not T marks on any deeds (mine or the neighbours') so I could not find out for sure who owned it.Only one of them offered, so I thought I'd just pay myself as it was easier.

I spoke to one neighbour on the 'phone (who is currently letting his property) who was quite rude and said that it had nothing to do with him and it was all mine.

So, the fence was erected in November 2004 to replace the existing fence.

I have just received a letter today from that rude neighbour's solicitor saying that the fence is in his boundary and to avoid him trying to recover the land, he wants me to sign deeds to say that I won't make any attempt to claim the land for £1 per year.

Now, £1 is nothing really, but this is a big principle issue to me. The new fence was erected slightly in front (more in my land) of where the old one stood and there is even a fence post from the original one still standing. Nobody has ever made claim to that miniscule section of land or the fence itself in the time that we have lived here (8.5 years) and the old fence was standing for quite some time before we moved in (at least five years, possibly 15 according to anther neighbour).

So, the questions really are :

1) Has he really got a case, considering the new fence is more to my land than the old one and there is evidence of the old (undisputed) fence still standing?

2) If I agree to his terms, as the new fence would be deemed to be on his property, would he then own the fence I paid for?

3) Does anybody have any suggestions as to what I should do or who I should ask about this - would the Land Registry be able to help?

4) Does anybody know any good solicitors in the Nottingham area who deal with this kind of thing?

5) If I argue it without using solicitors, would I have to pay any kind of costs if he took it all the way and did manage to reclaim the land?

I would rather pay to get the fence moved than sign the deeds and give him £1 per year.

Why are people like this????? The piece of land we are talking about is very small (probably less than 1 foot wide and only 12 feet long) and at the bottom of his garden that is never used!

Thanks in advance,

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Postby despair » Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:38 pm

The man is deranged

Take lots of photos of the old posts etc and get witnesses to see them too

Then write to the idiot and tell him that actually you have given him land by virtue of setting your new fence x inches back from the boundary and within your own land

Tell him that you are quite willing to accept from him £1 a year for your bit of land that is now in his garden and that you have proof by way of photos and witnesses that the original fencing posts are still there in his land

Also if you had use of the land for 12 years you in fact can claim adverse possesion so if he takes things to a solicitor unless he is made of money they will tell him not to be so stupid

You are perfectly within your rights to write direct to his solicitors
Mind you do be careful to check that you do not already have legal expenses cover attached to your insurance policies , credit cards or union membership

If you dont then get it added because while it wont cover you for this problem it will for all future agro ......once neighbours start this kind of nonsense its inclined to change to something else
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Postby nigelrb » Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:40 pm

Hi Grendel.
You did everything right by contacting neighbours and you still get persecuted? Disgusting.

Given that your neighbour has demonstrated his seriousness by engaging a solicitor, you now need to gather hard evidence. ASAP take a phote of the original fence post in situ and try to find one at the other end and photograph also. If no post there, try to find any evidence of attachment of a fence, i.e. mark on tree from post rubbing, attachment to wall etc. If you find such a position photograph that also. Try to photo the distance/relationship between the old post(s) and your new fence.
If, as you say, your new fence is fully upon your property, your neighbour can lay no claim (legal or financial) against you. If your fence is upon the boundary line your neighbour has given permission for its erection by virtue of him giving you tacit approval to erect by claiming it not to be his and that it had nothing to do with him. (Agreement in principle of contract - although he may deny this)

If the fence is, in fact, on his property; YES he does own the fence and can prevent you from doing anything with it including removing it.

The Land Registry can assist with identification of correct boundaries, but with dwellings etc in place it may be very hard to accurately measure. Only a surveyor could prove and identify the correct boundary intersections.

Can't help with solicitors in your area, but perhaps start with the Citizens Advice Bureau if you have one near. Ask Q5 at the Cit Adv Bureau, whatever you do is going to cost you!

Hope this helps for a start, regards, Nigel
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Postby Grendel » Sat Apr 09, 2005 3:29 pm

Thanks for the replies both.

I have searched around on the web a lot and come to the conclusion that this guy just wants to throw money at a solicitor for nothing. Either he hasn't told his solicitor everything, or the solicitor doesn't seem to be telling him that this is going nowhere.

I have just found a letter from this neighbour from when we were going to put the new fence up saying
".....we believe that is it your liability"
"I have been informed that should ownership not be made clear, then the liability belongs to the house owner who has the fence to the right hand side when facing the bottom of the garden from the house"
"Consequently we believe that is it your responsibility to repair the fence"

Now, from what I have read on various websites, this is just not the case about a fence on the right.

And, he's admitted that the fence is nothing to do with him, so surely if he thought it was on his land, it would be his responsibility.

I will check with my insurance to see if I am covered by any of them.

Thanks again,


P.S. If anyone is interested, I found some useful information here : and the part I'm interested in most is :

"Most owners of registered land assume that their boundaries are defined by the Land Registry title plan. This is not the case........this allows them to show only the general position of the boundary.....
that Land Registry title plans are not the authoritative source of precise definitions of boundaries; and
that the maps on which the title plans are based are not accurate enough to permit the precise identification of a boundary's position.....So the red edging of the title plan only indicates the general boundary and does not define the boundary itself.

"You cannot tell from the Land Registry title plan, or from the Ordnance Survey map, precisely where the boundary is"

Also, further to the dispute about who owned the original fence, there are no 'T' marks on the land registry plans to show ownership, so I was told that made it a 'party fence'. But I ended up paying for it all anyway. Should I get this changed now, so that I do officially own the fence?

I also particulary like the section on adverse possession on the same site.

"It is possible for a squatter to obtain title by adverse possession if the owner has failed to demonstrate his ownership of the land for a prescribed period (usually 12 years)......Gaining repossession of your own land once it has been encroached upon is a difficult and serious matter and should not be undertaken lightly.....You should not even consider writing to the encroacher to politely ask for the return of your land unless you are prepared to immediately follow up his reply with either repossession or the commencement of legal action. Your letter would be taken by a court as confirmation by you that the encroacher was in fact in possession of your land adverse to your interests, and this would only serve to strengthen your neighbour's claim."
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