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Fences and boundaries

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by oculushut, 26 Jul 2019.

  1. oculushut

    oculushut

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    Hi,

    Chapter 1 - The Fence and the Boundary

    When we bought our place we were left a note by the previous owner to let us know that they believed that it was our responsibility to look after the fence on the LEFT of the house.

    However, several years ago, the neighbour on the left removed the original fence and installed a nice new one without asking for permission.

    Our neighbour seems to acknowledge that that side is our responsibility...

    The previous owner's note said that they should not have done this, but she did not pursue it further.

    I downloaded the title register and plan from the land registry and I cannot see any mention of who should maintain the fence.

    Chapter 2 - The Great Battle

    About 2 years ago, we had grand plans to carry out a side return extension. After reading up on the matter we learnt that the best thing to do was to formulate our plans, share them with our neighbours and then discuss any concerns.

    Our neighbour on the LEFT wanted us to make the extension so low that we would need to dig down to get a reasonable amount of internal headroom inside. We asked some contractors for their comments on the matter and the 3 that we spoke to said that this would make the build far more risky and expensive - they said something about issues with the foundations.

    After many design iterations with this neighbour it became clear that we could not agree on the design that we both liked. We spent a substantial amout of time and money on this.

    We eventually submitted numerous further variations of design through planning applications, permitted development (larger development) and certificate for lawfulness for a build following normal permitted development rules. Our neighbour objected to every single application (even the permitted development one).

    Only the certificate of lawfulness for a normal permitted development extension made it through the battle.

    We have spent a chunk of money on architects, engineers and planning fees. We have also spent a LOT of time over the last 2 years to get to this point.

    Oh, an additional detail - our neighbour is an architect... I am not!

    Chapter 3 - Serving Party Wall Notice

    We decided to arrange a meeting with our LEFT neighbour so that we could walk them through our plans.

    Under ideal circumstances, we would like to remove part of the fence on the LEFT of the property so that it is easier for our contractor to work.

    Our neighbour does not want to do this as it will disturb the creeping plants that they have now grown over the fence (into our garden too...). They just don't want any kind of disturbance basically. (Noted that this is the fence that should not have been built by them in the first place...)

    We have asked our contractor to try and accommodate our neighbours demands if it will not break the bank. Our contractor said to us that he was a little worried that the wall that will be built behind the fence may suffer damp issues if they cannot point it properly (no access since the fence would be in the way). They have therefore suggested using blocks to build up the wall up to the height of the fence and then adding bitumen on to this part of the wall to make sure that it is waterproof. They would then use brick above the fence line where the wall would be visible to my neighbour.

    We also agreed to build an integrated gutter which would look better from my neighbour's point of view.

    We are using bricks and slates to match the existing. My contractor was going to also send samples to them so they knew what they would be looking at in the long run.

    Generally, we were happy to be accommodating to help rebuild our relationship with our neighbour. Additionally, if they could agree to not use a party wall surveyor then this would also save us some money.

    After our meeting, our contractor drew up new plans following the details agreed (they wanted more details than what already existed in the drawings that we showed to them). We also drafted out a party wall notice with all the usual assurances (we would inspect the party wall for cracks etc before work starts). The notice was based on the government website template. We also provided a link to the website and explained the process. They said that they wanted to see the draft before they decided on whether to sign or not.

    I sent this over to them via email. They waited a week and then responded back to say that they now want to use a party wall surveyor because they wanted to make sure that the proper process was being followed (no comments on any of the detail that we took so long to discuss and agree face to face...).

    We understand that this is their right so have asked them who they would like to use. We have made some recommendations and so has the contractor. We are now waiting for them once again.

    As you can imagine, we are a little worried that this may get dragged out and we then cannot build this year...

    Questions:

    1. How can we clearly establish who is actually supposed to look after the LEFT side boundary of our property if it is not mentioned in the title plan I downloaded from Land Registry?
    2. What are the legal ramifications of our neighbour removing the previous fence?
    3. Who owns the fence that was erected?
    4. Can either neighbour just grow plants up and over the fence or is permission somehow required before this can be done?
    5. Do we have a right to remove this fence to build our extension?
    6. Do we need to pay reasonable compensation for the plants which would need to be moved? (i.e. the ones growing on the fence)
    7. Any views on the blockwork + bitumen solution for the part of the wall that would never see sunlight? I am a little worried that creating a waterproof wall will mean that the wall will never dry out should we have a gutter leak in the built in gutter so any things to look out for when building this part would be useful.
    8. Lastly, any comments or advice welcome!
     
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  3. JohnD

    JohnD

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    I'll shorten it for you.

    If the deeds of both the properties do not specify who is responsible for the boundary, responsibility is assumed to be shared. But you can't enforce it.

    The fence belongs to whoever's land it is built on. If you consider that the face of the fence is the boundary, the the posts must be on the owner's side. You couldn't build your own fence and put the posts on somebody else's land, could you? However, you could build the whole fence, including the posts, inside the boundary and on your own land. How would you prove you had done that?
     
  4. oculushut

    oculushut

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    JohnD - thank you for this. Before I go into the detail about the exact positioning of the fence I have a more basic question. What is the difference between the Title Plan and Title Register that I downloaded from the Land Registry vs the "deed" that you mention? Are these different words for the same thing?

    If Title Register + Title Plan = Deed then I'll download my neighbour's deed too and see if there is fence related information on there.
     
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    the land Registry documents, including a plan, replace the old paper deeds.
     
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  7. Notch7

    Notch7

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    :eek::eek:

    Oh gosh thats a surprise, theyve chosen the option thatl cost you money and cause delays.
     
  8. rssteve

    rssteve

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    Wait until they go on holiday. Get the foundations dug and filled. Job done.

    Failing that cant you pursume your foundations are going no lower than theres and therefore no party wall needed.
     
  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    I'll wait for this to be serialised in one of the tabloids. Might be easier to understand. o_O
     
  10. It could go for the record on here which I think currently stands at 17 :D
     
  11. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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