Fence & boundary line query

Discussion in 'In the Garden' started by Sam777, 27 Mar 2013.

  1. Sam777

    Sam777

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    Hi, I hope someone can help me. Having moved into our semi detached property a year ago I am now getting round to doing up the rear yard. We are looking at creating a contemporary paved area and to put up a nice hardwood horizontal fence. The thing is there is already a fence there that faces onto my attached neighbours decked area. Apparently a number of years ago there was a hedge there and "allegedly" the neighbour removed it and installed the fence without the consultation or agreement of the previous little old lady who owned our property at the time.

    Basically, the query I have is in regards to whether there is likely to be any issue if I was to use the uprights to support the fence I intend to install on my side. I have attached some pictures which demonstrate that the fence posts sit either exactly 50:50 on the boundary line or if I was being very picky about it arguably they are actually more on my side than his. Does this mean that I have a right to use these posts? I naturally will speak to my neighbour, however, I am wondering whether I need to seek his permission to use them or more or less tell him I plan to use them as they are on the boundary line?

    PS pics are in one of my albums named rather aptly as fence pics.
    Would really appreciate your views on this matter. Regards Sam
     
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  3. Stivino

    Stivino

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    I had a similar situation with a fence and the legal stand point was as follows.
    If you bought that house with the fence in the position it is now in, that is the new boundary, so none of it is on your land, even if it had been build say 2Ft into your land, it is now his.
    Why not ask your neighbour if he objects to you attaching your fence on to his?
    Also, when building a new fence, it's good practice to put the nice side facing your neighbour.
     
  4. You can't attach anything to the neighbour's fence without permission. As far as the fence position is concerned, as the previous poster said, you bought as seen. You would not succeed with a claim that the posts are partly/all on your land as the law would deem the claim de minimis.

    Having multiple boundary features by putting up a second fence is not a good idea. It creates an area of no man's land between the two properties. If you do so, your neighbour could take down his fence and gain another few inches of your land.

    The existng fence looks perfectly serviceable, why do you need to put a second one up?
     
  5. xdave

    xdave

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    Sam (the OP) does not state where he lives but in England that is not the case at all. Scotland have different land and property laws. Boundaries do not change just because titles have changed hands, otherwise every bad neighbour would simply move the boundaries every time a for sale board went up. Boundaries are defined on the deeds and will not change without a formal variation.

    However - title plans are not that accurate -typically only to within 600mm or so- which is why most people will accept that you buy property with the boundaries as seen. That does not change the legal boundary though. An incursion of a few inches is typical when fences and hedges are replaced over the years and would be classed as de minimis.

    It doesn't appear to apply to the OP, but for reference if a neighbour errects a fence/wall at their expense on your land then that does not change the boundary, however they have gifted you a new fence if you choose to accept it. You must however notify them that you accept the fence/wall is on your land and that it does not change the accepted boundaries. Serve the notice officially (via a solicitor) as by giving them permission you remove any right they or a future owner might try to claim by adverse possession. The same works in reverse should you build on your neighbour's land.

    Whether the existing fence and posts are Sam's or his neighbour's it would always be a good idea to ask permission first. "I would like to..." rather than "Would you mind if I..." is the way to go. You should do so both to reassure them that you are not trying to encroach on their land but also because if they are aware and do not protest until after it has been completed then it is often possible to prevent them taking action to remove them should the fence or posts be theirs as they should have protested before you incured the cost of the new fence.

    Good practise, but not always possible. With a close boarded fence such as the one in Sam's photos it can only be constructed to face the neighbour without errecting from Sam's side.

    My advice would be to place entirely new posts in directly abutting the rear of the current fence (leaving a gap of a whisker), staggered in between the current posts, and attach your new fence to that. That removes the problem of duplicating boundary features because both fences share the same physical boundary.
     
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  7. Sam777

    Sam777

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    Hi thanks or the responses gents. Just a couple of points to help clarify:

    - I am in Northern Ireland

    - Ceres not sure what you mean as such about the other fence being perfectly serviceable. I am looking to have a finished fence on my side as my neighbour has on his. I am not looking to put up another fence per se but to use the existing uprights to support my fence boards.

    - From a very quick scan at rules over here it appears that the rules are as per xdave says. It looks like the legal boundary does not change even if the physical one does. It needs a change of deeds to do that.

    Overall I have and had every intention of discussing this with my neighbour and asking permission to use them. However, I am also swaying towards what xdave said at the end of his post and I reckon that it may be easier and less troublesome to just install my own posts. No issue then and long term if he changes things it does not affect my side.
     
  8. Most fences have a fair side and, as said upthread, conventionally the fair side would be towards the neighbour. I'd suggest it's pretty unusual to construct a second fair side.

    It's a bit more complicated than that. The deeds do not identify a precise boundary line. A fence can move a few inches or a couple of feet from where the original boundary was established and still represent the legal boundary, no change of deeds required.

    If the fence in this case was put up by your neighbour in a different position to its predecessor and it was not challenged by your vendor and has stood there for sufficient years, it is now the legal boundary, no change of deeds required.

    England and Wales situation. NI may be different.
     
  9. seco services

    seco services

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    Not always i had a fence/extension moved off my land by 5" after being up 22yrs and all costs in court had to be payed by her.
     
  10. Not enough information there to comment.
     
  11. DIYnot Local

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