Neighbour fence issue

Kevin_step
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Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 4:28 pm

Neighbour fence issue

Post by Kevin_step »

Hi,

I have a bit of a strange issue regarding a fence that boarders onto my neighbours property and I can't see any definite legal standing on this forum and I was hoping someone could help please? I will try and be as precise as possible and not waffle on to much.

We purchased our house 20 months ago and kept a copy (fortunately) of our boundaries and fence details. It clearly states we own the boundary fence that backs onto our neighbours who are in a different street. Other than the odd hello over the fence and one one conversation when we asked them if they wanted us to cut back our tree overhanging their garden (to which they said no) we don't really know them at all.

A year ago I pinned some low voltage lights to the baton of the fence on our side, I am very precise with this sort of thing so I did a pilot hole and very short screws making sure there was no way I went through the fence etc. I am 100% sure there is no damage to their side or screws poking out.

Fast forward to Monday and i am washing my car and a lady appears on my dive asking if I live here

Me - yes I do, How can I help you?
Lady - You've screwed lights onto my fence
Me - Excuse me?
Lady - I was doing maintenance in my garden and looked over the fence and noticed you have screwed them into my fence and I'm livid!, you didn't ask permission and you have 28 days to remove them or I will take legal action.

She was visibly shacking and her voice was cracking up and looked like she was about to burst into tears at any minute, she then proceeded to storm off and not let me talk. I very politely asked he to come back and discuss this like reasonable adults but she kept walking.

Not wanting to get into a too and throw with her I have decided to leave it a few days before contacting her as I felt it was not wise as she is very emotional and wanted her to cool down a bit. So I have do some digging around with our neighbour next door and come to the conclusion that they have replaced the fence on our boarder (pre us purchasing the house) at their cost. This leaves one of two possibilities;

1. They think this is their fence / boarder and didn't realise its ours.
2. They think because they replaced the fence its now their property and we needed to ask permission to hang lights.

After reading through the posts here I can see that in fact if this was her fence on her boarder then I would have to ask permission but because this is our boundary I'm not sure where I stand. I am also 100% certain that the new fence has gone in place of the old fence as it lines up perfectly with our next door neighbours fence that continues to run down his property line. So this means they did not build a fence on their side of the boundary line.

I have made a photo copy of our deeds showing this with a polite letter stating that we didn't think to ask permission as we knew this was our fence, also inviting them to talk sensibly about this as we are polite and reasonable people but we will not tolerate shouting and screaming and threats of legal action on our property. I plan to put this letter through their door soon.

So to simplify this;

If the fence is on my boundary and my responsibility but they replaced it before we purchased the property, legally do I have to ask permission to attach things into it?

Sorry I think I did waffle on a bit but any help would be appreciated, I certainly do not want a neighbour war over some lights and fence issues but the way she acted was very strong and I want to make sure we are doing everything correctly.
ukmicky
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by ukmicky »

An old deed saying the fence is your responsibility doesn’t mean the current fence is owned by you . The deed only covers the original boundary feature which was placed on your land . From the time the house was built there may have been many fences put up and the current fence may have been put up on the neighbours land. .


Unfortunately there is ano straightforward answer to your problem . If she put the new fence up on your land In theory it’s your fence but also in theory adverse possession makes it hers after 10 years. The main issue here however is proving who’s land it is on which will not be an easy thing to determine.


Talk to her and come to an understanding because neither of you are in a good place when it comes to proving ownership of the fence and the land beneath it.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
mr sheen
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by mr sheen »

You know you didn’t pay for and erect the fence because it pre-dates your occupancy, so it may have been paid for and erected by the neighbour on their land.
If it was paid for and erected by the neighbour on their land then she is right you shouldn’t have attached anything to it or drilled into it (some would classify this as damage).

So to prove you own it, you need evidence that a previous owner Of your property paid for the fence and erected it on your land.

If you send a letter, you have a dispute and your case is weak since you did not erect the fence so do not know the details for certain.

Sending a letter is inadvisable. Discuss the matter to see if you can agree. If she stands her ground perhaps you should put your lights on a structure you know you own because you erected it.
Kevin_step
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 4:28 pm

Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Kevin_step »

Hi,

Thanks for the reply everyone. It was good to get a basic understanding of where we all are in this.

So the husband was in the garden so I signalled him for a chat and he obliged, we talked it out on neutral ground and he is positive that it also states on his deeds that it's his fence. Anyway we both agreed that it didn't matter as I have not damaged the fence anyway and he didn't have an issue with it. He explained that his wife was embarrassed about going off on one at me but too proud to apologies.

He understands that from my prospective I thought the fence was mine etc and no harm done, he also said the previous owner paid towards the fitting of the new fence anyway and he had no issues with us pinning things safely to it etc.

It was good to know where I stood before talking to him and now we are better off for it.

Thanks again everyone.
mr sheen
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by mr sheen »

Good outcome.
Kevin_step
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Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 4:28 pm

Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Kevin_step »

Oh dear, so the warm after glow of resolving this issue as faded away.

She's posted things on a local Facebook page about the lights and fence situation asking for legal advice tonight.

She has however admitted in writing on this post that;

She took down the old fence and replaced it on the same line.
We in fact own that boundary line and not them.
She is looking to move soon and wants to "take the fence with her"
Or she will sell the fence and posts and have them removed.

What a situation to be in, not sure what to do now as obviously she will not let this go. I would understand if the lights were mega bright and unsightly but they are low voltage and been up for a year without her knowing the husband agreed I have not damaged the fence or compromised it in any way.

Back to square one I suppose.
alyson
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by alyson »

I would ignore it tbh, sounds like embarrassed bluster..

It’s fairy lights ffs.

Put it down to Lockdown cabin fever.

ON NO ACCOUNT REACT TO HER COMMENTS. That should keep her hubby onside.
Kevin_step
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Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 4:28 pm

Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Kevin_step »

Thanks, yes will ignore it.

My wife is feeling a little intimidated at the moment, hopefully she feels better after sleeping on it.
Collaborate
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Collaborate »

I disagree with the previous posters about ownership. It is trite to say that whoever owns the land owns whatever is fixed to the land. If your plot owned the fence and therefore the land on which it stood, and was replaced in exactly the same place by a new one, the cost of which was shared by the neighbours, you own the new fence.

The only unknown is ht their deeds say. If they say they own the fence (and you can check this by searching at the land registry) then only one of the deeds can be correct. Assuming the houses were built at the same time by the same builder, whichever house was sold first will have been effective in transferring ownership of the fence and the land it stands on. The later transfer could not have transferred ownership of the fence because by then the builder no longer owned it.
Kevin_step
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Kevin_step »

Collaborate wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:33 am I disagree with the previous posters about ownership. It is trite to say that whoever owns the land owns whatever is fixed to the land. If your plot owned the fence and therefore the land on which it stood, and was replaced in exactly the same place by a new one, the cost of which was shared by the neighbours, you own the new fence.

The only unknown is ht their deeds say. If they say they own the fence (and you can check this by searching at the land registry) then only one of the deeds can be correct. Assuming the houses were built at the same time by the same builder, whichever house was sold first will have been effective in transferring ownership of the fence and the land it stands on. The later transfer could not have transferred ownership of the fence because by then the builder no longer owned it.
Interesting thanks.

So face to face the husband was very nice about it all and told me there was not an issue. He also said his deeds state it's his boundary and the previous own paid towards the fence.

On the Facebook posts the wife made she admitted we own the boundary and they placed it on the same line.

She's now pushed a rose bush growing on our side off the fence and it has collapsed into our garden, this was here before we purchased the property. I now need to pin it back to the fence but I know she'll here me doing this. What a mess!
mr sheen
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by mr sheen »

As far as you are concerned, the matter was resolved between you and the husband and the lights remain. This should be all you bother about.

If the wife has gone off on one, then leave her to it.

At least no written correspondence has been exchanged.

So....end of.

If you receive something from them then you can come back again.

This is not the time to start asserting « I own this » etc ....just sit back and see if it develops or just fizzles out.
ukmicky
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by ukmicky »

Collaborate wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:33 am I disagree with the previous posters about ownership. It is trite to say that whoever owns the land owns whatevere to is fixed to the land. If your plot owned the fence and therefore the land on which it stood, and was replaced in exactly the same place by a new one, the cost of which was shared by the neighbours, you own the new fence.

The only unknown is ht their deeds say. If they say they own the fence (and you can check this by searching at the land registry) then only one of the deeds can be correct. Assuming the houses were built at the same time by the same builder, whichever house was sold first will have been effective in transferring ownership of the fence and the land it stands on. The later transfer could not have transferred ownership of the fence because by then the builder no longer owned it.
So are you saying its impossible for someone to place a fence on someone’s land and then gain the land Including the area the fence is on through adverse possession
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
Kevin_step
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 4:28 pm

Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Kevin_step »

mr sheen wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 12:49 pm As far as you are concerned, the matter was resolved between you and the husband and the lights remain. This should be all you bother about.

If the wife has gone off on one, then leave her to it.

At least no written correspondence has been exchanged.

So....end of.

If you receive something from them then you can come back again.

This is not the time to start asserting « I own this » etc ....just sit back and see if it develops or just fizzles out.
Yes this was my exact thinking also, I have a feeling she'll not let it go but I am going to carry on as normal and be friendly and polite.

Again thanks for your help everyone, I just wanted to know run this past a neutral party to make sure I am doing things in the correct manor and you've all been very helpful.
Collaborate
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by Collaborate »

ukmicky wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 1:17 pm
Collaborate wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:33 am I disagree with the previous posters about ownership. It is trite to say that whoever owns the land owns whatevere to is fixed to the land. If your plot owned the fence and therefore the land on which it stood, and was replaced in exactly the same place by a new one, the cost of which was shared by the neighbours, you own the new fence.

The only unknown is ht their deeds say. If they say they own the fence (and you can check this by searching at the land registry) then only one of the deeds can be correct. Assuming the houses were built at the same time by the same builder, whichever house was sold first will have been effective in transferring ownership of the fence and the land it stands on. The later transfer could not have transferred ownership of the fence because by then the builder no longer owned it.
So are you saying its impossible for someone to place a fence on someone’s land and then gain the land Including the area the fence is on through adverse possession
If I extend my house to include some of the neighbour's land then I can gain that part by adverse possession. If I replace my neighbour's boundary wall to what extent do you think that I have excluded my neighbour from that part of the property? I've just replaced their fence with a newer one. Which thereby becomes theirs.
mr rusty
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Re: Neighbour fence issue

Post by mr rusty »

She is looking to move soon and wants to "take the fence with her"
If it all gets a bit messy, surely this is your "get out of jail free" card? just advise her that if you were to register a formal boundary dispute with the land registry, it will cause her all sorts of problems if she tries to sell. As you don't want to do that, perhaps she could agree to play nice?
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