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Boundary dispute with council

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in In my home (includes DIY) MoneySaving
27 replies 1.4K views
Hi, my house is owned outright but my nextdoor neighbour's is council owned. About six weeks ago the council put up scaffolding to do repairs next door. The scaffold posts are on my path outside my back door. I've not been contacted by the council about them doing this and I'm fed up of then being there.
The council sent a letter asking me to pay half for a boundary fence. I didn't reply. Today I had another letter threatening me with court action if I refuse to pay. They say I'm responsible for both the walls on either side of my house.
I'm annoyed because there's been no discussion about this and because they are using my property freely for their scaffold and the men who put it up.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Replies

  • soupdragon10soupdragon10 Forumite
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    I think it should be clear from the deeds of your house who is responsible for the boundaries. In my experience this is something that should have been clarified when buying the house. Might be worth checking deeds etc. to clarify before contacting the council.
  • Thanks for replying. The way I see it is if the boundary is our responsibility then the council should not be able to force us to change the fence. If it doesn't belong to us then they shouldn't be asking us for money. As for the scaffold there's been no mention that we are doing them a favour...
  • GDB2222GDB2222 Forumite
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    You have an obligation to allow your neighbour, the council, to come on your land to carry out repairs to their property. That is on reasonable notice, and they need to act reasonably. Putting up scaffolding for six weeks needs to be justified. Repairs can often be done in just a few days.

    The question is whether you are prepared to pay a scaffolder to dismantle the scaffolding?

    I doubt you have an obligation to repair your fences, unless they are dangerous, but how can we know without seeing the documents?
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
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    Two things.

    1/ Scaffold. Most people would find that the deeds do mention neighbours' access for maintenance repairs. That is a common/usual right everybody has, the ability to repair/maintain their property.

    2/ Boundary costs/responsibilities. This is in your deeds, you need to read/understand what costs you are responsible for and if you are not responsible then send the Council a copy highlighting the bit where it's not you.
  • neilmclneilmcl Forumite
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    Hi, my house is owned outright but my nextdoor neighbour's is council owned. About six weeks ago the council put up scaffolding to do repairs next door. The scaffold posts are on my path outside my back door. I've not been contacted by the council about them doing this and I'm fed up of then being there.
    The council sent a letter asking me to pay half for a boundary fence. I didn't reply. Today I had another letter threatening me with court action if I refuse to pay. They say I'm responsible for both the walls on either side of my house.
    I'm annoyed because there's been no discussion about this and because they are using my property freely for their scaffold and the men who put it up.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Then why don't you actually speak to someone from the council about your concerns rather than ignoring their letters.
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    Depending on the wording of the letter from the council about the fence you may have agreed to pay by default by not replying. If there had been no notification about the fence, or the cost, then it would be unreasonable for the council to try to force you to pay, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
    As they are threatening court action I would suspect they are pretty certain they have a case, although it could be scare tactics.
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    2/ Boundary costs/responsibilities. This is in your deeds, you need to read/understand what costs you are responsible for and if you are not responsible then send the Council a copy highlighting the bit where it's not you.


    Who owns a boundary and who owns the fence (and thus liable for maintenance costs) are not always the same - I have a neighbour on one side that has put up fencing along my boundary. More than happy to let them continue.
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  • GDB2222GDB2222 Forumite
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    The documents may say you have an obligation to repair a fence, but it may well not be enforceable.
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    The boundary fence and the scaffolding are two entirely separate issues.


    The scaffolding can be there because of the Access to Neighbouring Property Act, which is a piece of legislation that trumps anything in anyone's deeds and allows that sort of maintenance, however inconvenient it may be. Yes, the council should have warned you, but there are no real consequences if they didn't.

    If the scaffolding was hired by the council, they may have no direct control over when it comes down, though they might be able to apply pressure. It's convenient for scaffold companies to leave stuff up, rather than take it down and back to a crowded yard until it's needed elsewhere. Private hirers have the same problem.

    As for the responsibility for the boundary fence, we can't see your title documents where that responsibility, if it exists, ought to be recorded. However, if you didn't engage with the council after their first communication, you've simply laid yourself open to speculative worry from the follow-up, rather than facing the issue squarely and knowing where you stand. Only you can help yourself on that.
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  • GDB2222GDB2222 Forumite
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    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/23/section/1

    You won’t want to force the council to apply for an access order, because you will end up paying their costs. In theory, they cannot enter your garden unless they either have an order or your permission. They currently have neither.

    The practical way to deal with this, at minimum cost, is to complain to your councillor that you want the scaffolding removed.
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
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