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Who owns the boundary

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Hello 

We have a fence between our garden and neighbours garden. The fence belongs to them but we want a higher one as this one is too low. We proposed to fully pay for a new one replacing existing one. The neighbour said that its their fence and their boundary and they will pay for it. So far so good but I do wonder: is it "their" boundary? I'd think that he doesnt own any boundary, maybe only the physical boundary i.e. fence. 

We have discussed options because he wants to put a higher panel with trellis, whereas we would prefer without trellis to have more privacy. In the interest of not making enemies I am considering his proposal, as another option is simply to erect our own fence and loose a couple of inches and end up with two fences. But that wouldn't be an amicable solution..

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  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    A 'boundary' is just an imaginary line and therefore cannot be owned as such.  However, a 'boundary marker' is a physical thing and therefore can be owned, ie the fence in this case.

    You would be perfectly within your rights to erect your own fence (subject to planning constraints of 2m I believe) on your own land.

    But, as you're already aware, rights are one thing and amicable solutions are quite another.  It sounds like you've already opened the discussion so perhaps just pursue that angle.  Do you know why they prefer trellis to a solid fence?  Would a solid fence give them light issues?  Is it to do with cost?  

    These sorts of things are often more of a diplomatic issue than a legal one.
  • edited 31 January at 11:32PM
    Jeepers_CreepersJeepers_Creepers Forumite
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    edited 31 January at 11:32PM
    Would he allow you to run climbers along the trellis? This would screen it and also look nice.

    Anyhoo, in theory the person with 'responsibility' for the fence should be placing the posts on their land, and the panels can then run exactly on the boundary (tho' pedants might also say that this should be on their land too...). This has the benefit of giving the person actual ownership of the fence they've put up, so they can dictate the style and height (within reason) of it. Usually, each homeowner will therefore have at least one boundary fence that's their responsibility. Bear in mind that no-one has to put up a fence - if your neighb were to refuse (not that they are) then there's nothing you could do about it (unless this allowed animals and pets from their side to cause damage on yours).

    How to approach the height issue? I guess by being open and frank - tell them that you can easily see on to their side, including windows, garden, patio (delete as appropriate) and you don't feel comfy about that as you always feel you should be looking away when ever you are outside. Add that it must be the same for them? Then try and arrive at a height that would work for both - use a post or stick, and you each stand on your own sides and use the post as a guide. If this doesn't help - if they still want it 'too' low, then you may just have to let them get on with it, but then add a row of taller trellis on your side later, and just explain - again being frank and honest - that you aren't comfortable with it any other way; you value privacy both ways.

    Assuming this doesn't make the fence TOO tall?

    It would be a shame if it couldn't be agreed between you, but all you'd have to do is plant posts and then run the trellis between the tops. Plants some climbers, and it'll be a lovely green screen in a year or two.

  • DedekindDedekind Forumite
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    Mickey666 said:
    A 'boundary' is just an imaginary line and therefore cannot be owned as such.  However, a 'boundary marker' is a physical thing and therefore can be owned, ie the fence in this case.

    You would be perfectly within your rights to erect your own fence (subject to planning constraints of 2m I believe) on your own land.

    But, as you're already aware, rights are one thing and amicable solutions are quite another.  It sounds like you've already opened the discussion so perhaps just pursue that angle.  Do you know why they prefer trellis to a solid fence?  Would a solid fence give them light issues?  Is it to do with cost?  

    These sorts of things are often more of a diplomatic issue than a legal one.
    Thanks! Its not the cost but the light -- they will lose a bit with a full solid panel. Current fence is super low and they agree privacy is an issue but mostly for us: because of the way the gardens are angled, they see directly to our house when they walk along their garden back to their house. Also their soil is a bit raised. 

    Also they are long gardens (roughly 30m) so a trellis is a good idea for climbers (if they let us use it for that), but I dont necessarily want to plant my whole garden with them..

    Jeepers_Creepers said:
    Would he allow you to run climbers along the trellis? This would screen it and also look nice.

    Anyhoo, in theory the person with 'responsibility' for the fence should be placing the posts on their land, and the panels can then run exactly on the boundary (tho' pedants might also say that this should be on their land too...). This has the benefit of giving the person actual ownership of the fence they've put up, so they can dictate the style and height (within reason) of it. Usually, each homeowner will therefore have at least once boundary fence that's their responsibility. Bear in mind that no-one has to put up a fence - if your neighb were to refuse (not that they are) then there's nothing you could do about it (unless this allowed animals and pets from their side to cause damage on yours).

    How to approach the height issue? I guess by being open and frank - tell them that you can easily see on to their side, including windows, garden, patio (delete as appropriate) and you don't feel comfy about that as you always feel you should be looking away when ever you are outside. Add that it must be the same for them? Then try and arrive at a height that would work for both - use a post or stick, and you each stand on your own sides and use the post as a guide. If this doesn't help - if they still want it 'too' low, then you may just have to let them get on with it, but then add a row of taller trellis on your side later, and just explain - again being frank and honest - that you aren't comfortable with it any other way; you value privacy both ways.

    Assuming this doesn't make the fence TOO tall?

    It would be a shame if it couldn't be agreed between you, but all you'd have to do is plant posts and then run the trellis between the tops. Plants some climbers, and it'll be a lovely green screen in a year or two.

    Thanks for all the info, very useful. As said above we haven't discussed whether he would allow me to run climbers. I suppose it would defeat his purpose of having more light vs. a full panel with similar height.. maybe we can negotiate some panels with trellis and some without.

    One extra thing worth mentioning is that their soil is raised by a few inches, so a high fence is definitely a must for us. 
  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    Worth having a think about which bits of the fence matter most to you - there may be a lot of it where the height doesn't matter so much to you.  Or planting a single shrub could shield your window from a lot of their garden.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • sevenhillssevenhills Forumite
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    Dedekind said:
    Thanks! Its not the cost but the light -- they will lose a bit with a full solid panel. Current fence is super low and they agree privacy is an issue but mostly for us: because of the way the gardens are angled, they see directly to our house when they walk along their garden back to their house.
    I have always been a low fence person myself. I like to see people walking past my garden, good to say hello. Might not work on a main road.
    Hope you work something out that pleases you both. You have got on with a low fence for all this time, so a trellis will be an improvement.


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