Fences

Hello all. I could use some advice please. My neighbour says the boundary fence is mine and he wants me to replace it. The problem is he has several very large shrubs and trees planted right against the fence and they are growing through the fence and over the fence (breaking the wooden strips) and pushing entire fence panels towards my garden. I think it's a matter of time before the fence comes down. He also has thick ivy growing all over his side of the fence. When the shrubs and trees grow through the fence and when I see the ivy coming through, over and under the fence I cut it back to the boundary. There is also a matter of the roots of his larger shrubs and trees which are visibly coming through to my side and I wonder if they too could be affecting the fence panels and posts (and who knows what else as they're growing under my drive towards my house). I have sprouts of his plants popping up on my side from the roots which go under my drive. I cut off anything I see. I think it's obvious that his plants are damaging the fence. He doesn't agree and insists that his plants are 'not to be touched' meaning he won't cut them back and he won't allow me to do so either. He also suddenly feels the fence is 'in the wrong place'. Apparently he thinks the boundary line should be moved a few feet into my property. I only recently bought my house and there was nothing mentioned of a boundary dispute. The neighbour bought his house about 5 years ago. There are no plants, trees or shrubs on my side of the fence.

I don't want to fall out with my new neighbour, but I also don't feel I should pay to have a new fence installed and especially when it's clear to me that his plants are damaging the fence. I don't even know that it is 'my' fence. I also think that the more his plants grow they will end up damanging any new fence that is installed and I don't want him thinking I'll just keep paying to replace. I also do not want to move the boundary and I'm not sure why that is even coming up now. The boundary is currently right down the middle of the two properties.

Any advice would be appreciated.


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Posts

  • HexagonHexagon Posts: 1,021
    edited 24 March
    Unfortunately I'm a cynic who doesn't see this being resolved other than by a court case. Someone else on the forum may see an alternative solution.
    Your deeds should tell you whether or not you are responsible for the fence. Mine say that the boundaries are shared responsibilities, but I would argue that if someone did something that required the fences to be replaced, then they should pay for it and therefore I would go to court to enforce that.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 35
    A carefully worded and well written letter, requesting that the neighbour put in writing where he gets his assumptions from, adding a clause that it will be useful in forming the basis of any future negotiations, will probably make him think.  We had a stroppy young couple descend on us some years back and started saying what they were going to do to their property, so I did just that and they eventually moved.
  • Thanks Hexagon. I'll have another look at my deeds. 
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,554
    If the fence is where it's shown on the deeds then they can't insist on it being moved - they're most likely just trying it on and hoping to grab some extra land.
    I'm afraid in your situation I would probably weedkiller the shoots coming up from underground, or maybe dig them out back to the boundary if I was feeling energetic.
    If the fence is yours and it falls down, you could trim the shrubs on the boundary line and call it a hedge >:)

  • Thanks nick615. I'm willing to give it a try.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 4,349
    Legally you are entitled to cut off any parts of a neighbours hedge, including roots, if they are on your side of the boundary. He hasn't got a leg to stand on and cannot force you to put up a new fence, he's just trying it on. Stand your ground and tell him you will consult your solicitor.
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 197
    There is a requirement during the conveyance of property that the seller complete a Property Information Form (PIF) declaring such things as ownership of boundaries and whether any dispute exists etc 
    I'm guessing that you will have employed a solicitor to conveyance your property.
    That would be your first port of call, I would suggest.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 4,349
    edited 24 March
    You're quite right @owd potter. I'd forgotten that, a long time since I did conveyancing! Your solicitor should have sent you a copy of the PIF.
  • Thanks JennyJ. I felt like he was trying it on. Given the circumstances, I'm not willing to pay for another fence so I like your idea of a hedge for now.
  • Thanks Lizzie27 and owd potter. I'll have another look through the solicitor forms and deeds. There was definitely nothing at all mentioned about a dispute because I specifically asked that a few times of both the solicitor and the estate agent. Both previous owners (my house and the neighbour) had lived here since the properties were built so I think this neighbour is just trying it on with me for some reason. Why someone would behave like this is beyond me.
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