Real life MMD: Should we pay for the fence?

edited 10 May 2011 at 7:02PM in Money Saving Polls
86 replies 50.9K views
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  • Just follow Martins Mantra, clearly unnecessary expenditure and of doubtful benefit so just say no.
  • Augustus_the_StrongAugustus_the_Strong Forumite
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    Tell your neighbours that you are happy with the existing fence so would prefer not to pay half the cost of replacing it, but you would be willing to make a contribution if they still want to go ahead. The main thing is not to fall out with your neighbours - keep it friendly.
  • JoannaS_3JoannaS_3 Forumite
    103 Posts
    We live in a terraced house and to the best of my knowledge we are only responsible for one of the two fences not half of each!

    We used to have beautiful Conifer trees as our 'fence' which had been there since before my parents bought the house 30 years ago. The neighbours decided they didn't like them and instead of discussing it with us they butchered their side of the trees (this is the side that is our responsibility), resulting in them all dying so they evntually got what they wanted, the trees removed and a fence put in! Nice neighbours!

    Anyway, as your neighbours just seem to want more privacy (what they don't realise is if in a terraced house no matter how high the fence is, you can still see into their garden from the upstairs rooms in your house!) then it only seems fair that they pay for it!

    I would say that you have no problem with them increasing the height of their fence but as it is not something you are chosing to do, you won't be making a contribution (and you probably don't have to if you check your deeds)

    All of this reminds me why I want to buy a house in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours!! lol

    Good luck!
    Debt owed £4000, Saved (to pay back) £300, only £3,700 to go!!

    My best money saving tip: Good manners cost NOTHING! So please be nice to each other! :happylove
  • JoannaS_3JoannaS_3 Forumite
    103 Posts
    I have a situation where a fence blew down in the wind about 2 years ago. The deeds say our neighbour is responsible for it. After about 6 months with no fence, he "got someone in" to repair it (replacing just the 2 panels that collapsed and the pole between). After fixing the fence, he asked me to contribute. Not wanting to sour relations, I paid about 40% of the cost. However, 9 months later in another storm, one of the posts that wasn't replaced collapsed (rotton at the bottom) pulling down 1 old panel and 1 new panel. 6 months later, our neighbour still hasn't replaced the fence and is hinting at me contributing again (which I am reluctant to do). What can I do? As the deeds state it is his responsibility, is there anything I can do to force hime to replace the fence?

    Hi there, sorry to hear about your problem....

    If I were you I would say to him that you contributed last time when it wasn't your responsibility to do so, so you won't be contributing again.

    If necessary, show him the deeds and if he won't replace the fence approach your local council for advice as to what you can do!

    The other option is you do such a bad job of 'fixing' the fence yourself he's forced to replace it to save himself from looking at the mess!

    Good luck and I hope it all works out ok!
    Debt owed £4000, Saved (to pay back) £300, only £3,700 to go!!

    My best money saving tip: Good manners cost NOTHING! So please be nice to each other! :happylove
  • alfacatalfacat Forumite
    13 Posts
    A shared fence would be very unusual, but in my capacity as a commercial surveyor (residential can be quite different!) and so far as my memory serves from uni, the fence on the boundary to the left of your property (looking at it from the front) is the one you are responsible for.
  • SeakaySeakay Forumite
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    Will the new, higher fence be taking away sunlight from your garden? Will it affect plants growing/your enjoyment of the space?
    Check if there is a hight restriction for fences in your area (Council should know)

    I would double check responsibility issues.

    If current fence is fit for purpose and you don't want a new one then don't pay. If new fence affects you adversley then take steps to prevent it. Even if you are worried about hassle then a dark garden with the Berlin Wall of fences on one side won't help resale value of your property
  • DJ9DJ9 Forumite
    18 Posts
    I am an Architectural Tech. It seems a little unusual to have a shared boundary as all housing estate jobs I have done for numerous developers over numerous years have always been set to show which boundary is which property owners responsibility. I have never shown or been asked to show a shared boundary as this can cause problems and disputes as you have now.

    Check out the deeds to your property or if in a modern house and know who the developer/builder is, you could contact them and ask for a copy of the Legal Plan for the site - this is usually a 1:500 scale plan showing your property and neighbours with all boundary ownerships indicated.

    You can also check out the land registry website to check ownerships although they dont always have boundaries shown on there plans

    You may also want to check with your local planning authority or check out the following link for the government planning website at planningportal.gov.uk. Your neighbour may need to get planning permission especially if he wants to increase the height of the boundary.
  • kate83kate83 Forumite
    290 Posts
    I'm amazed at the number of people who have never heard of shared boundaries!
    On my estate, owners are responsible for their front and back boundaries but the sides are shared between the two houses - so when the fence blew down next door we were both jointly responsible for replacing it.

    However, whatever the ownership, if the current fence is fit for purpose and they are just wanting to raise it for privacy they they should pay.
  • JayDJayD Forumite
    614 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
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    Whilst I agree that raising the fence is their choice and that they have chosen to get the perfectly servicable one replaced with a higher one that they think will benefit them ...

    trust me - you WILL benefit from it and will probably find that half the cost of it will be small price to pay for the extra privacy afforded to both households and the maintainance of a good relationship with your immediate neighbours.

    I agree that they are behaving in a rather bulldozer fashion if they are getting quotes with the expectation that you will share the cost. But bear in mind that you will then have some say into just what style of fencing will be erected and just how much the spend on it will be.

    I would suggest that you explain that this was not an expense you had anticipated or an improvement you had ever felt need of and are concerned as to just what will be going up between the gardens - especially as the deeds clearly show this to be a joint repsonbilitiy and therefore something in which you both clearly have equal says.

    However, you should then go on to say that you would consider going halves on something that you both agree on with regard to size, style and cost if they feel it to be necessary/desirable.

    That way you will have laid down the conditions of your contribution and ensured that you have some control over the venture and its cost.
  • SunnydaySunnyday Forumite
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    Is the fence on the original boundary?

    At one of our previous homes we had a shared boundary fence and when it was ready to be replaced the people who lived in the house behind wanted the new fence to be a foot higher and they wanted it to be on their side of the boundary so that they ended up with the final say in how it looked. This meant that it was no longer a boundary fence and was on their property so we had no maintainance costs nor any need to contribute towards the cost.

    We did put a nice woodstain on the side that faced us so that it matched our existing side fences and they were more than happy with that. Result - everyone was happy.

    You could consider this option with your neighbours if the extra height does not bother you and then you would be excluded from any future maintainance costs/responsibility. I would not consider contributing towards something that did not benefit both sides and certainly not something that was unwanted. The request for funds may have been a cheeky one just to see if you would cough up to help them out and they may not really expect you to but i would still remain on a friendly footing with the neighbours.
    Good luck.

    SD
    Planning on starting the GC again soon :p
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