Real life MMD: Should we pay for the fence?

Former_MSE_Penelope Former MSE Posts: 536 Forumite
edited 10 May 2011 at 7:02PM in MoneySaving polls
Should we pay for the fence?

Our neighbours want a higher fence between gardens, and want to split costs. We think it's theirs as the posts are in their garden, but the deeds say we're both responsible. We never considered raising the fence and won't gain from it, but they're getting quotes. Should we contribute?
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  • boots_babe
    boots_babe Forumite Posts: 3,181
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    In one respect this is very clear cut; you don't want the fence and won't benefit from it, so should tell the neighbour you won't be contributing (and why).

    However in another respect, you need to consider what your relationship with your neighbour is like. If you already get on well, then I'm sure they would accept your decision. However if you know them to be potentially difficult, you may be forced to consider contributing just to keep things civil and reduce any problems going forwards.
  • jbet
    jbet Forumite Posts: 4,815 Forumite
    the responsibility of the fence is usually highlighted in the title deeds of the property (usually in a plan)
    North London is Lilywhite
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Forumite Posts: 4,632 Forumite
    If you contribute then you are entitled to have some input over type of fence and materials used. If neighbours pay all the costs then they can make the choices and you could end up with an eyesore.

    My inclination would be to ensure that I had some control by contributing.
  • bogwart
    bogwart Forumite Posts: 117 Forumite
    I have never heard of two properties sharing responsibility for a dividing fence, but I am not a legal beagle. I have to say that if it is them who want a higher fence, which you don't want, then the financial responsibilities are theirs. I really can't see how they can arbitrarily make a fairly major change like that without your consent.

    The fact that this may prejudice your relationship is a red herring,IMO. They are the ones who are planning to rock the boat. I don't know what the qualification criteria are for getting advice from the CAB or a Legal Centre, but I think it's as well to know where you stand legally.
  • kingarhu
    kingarhu Forumite Posts: 133
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
    If they want to change the fence and you don't mind then let them know that you have no objection in principal but won't be contributing as it isn't something you would choose to do. If you have joint responsibility then it would seem fairly clear that also have joint rights and they can't just erect some monstrosity without your agreement, so make sure they let you know exactly what is planned and if it isn't appropriate, then tell them so.
  • mr-tom_2
    mr-tom_2 Forumite Posts: 131 Forumite
    Is the current fence fit for purpose?

    Does it serve as an effective border marking between both gardens?
    Is it safe and sturdy?

    To my mind, that would be where the shared responsibility ends. If one party wants more than that, e.g. privacy or a standard of attractiveness, then it is down to them to either win you over to their way of thinking, or to pay for it themselves.

    Whilst I understand and am sympathetic towards the idea of giving in just to keep the neighbour happy, one does have to wonder how far that principle extends and whether they would do the same if the situation were reversed.

    Why not get the composite picture of all of these responses and then give your neighbour the address of this thread?
  • Marisco
    Marisco Forumite Posts: 42,036
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    If they want a bigger fence, then let them pay for it! If the one that's there now is in good condition, then there is no earthly reason why you should shell out money on something that does not need replacing!
  • MartinWickham
    MartinWickham Forumite Posts: 38 Forumite
    As it's, apparently, a shared fence, tell them your share is the lower half.
  • pennypinchUK
    pennypinchUK Forumite Posts: 383 Forumite
    Funnily enough, just this evening my neighbour has asked me to contribute to a new fence in exactly the same circumstances.

    I'm content with the current fence, and will be politely telling them it's their choice whether they install a new fence, so long as it's in keeping, but I won't be contributing to the cost. I will, however, allow them full access to install the fence.
  • mungaman
    mungaman Forumite Posts: 32 Forumite
    You don't want it, don't pay; it's their choice to do it & if the fence is
    already in good nick, just mention that, & say thanks but no thanks!!
    Good luck.
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