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    Former MSE Debs
    Real-life MMD: Should we pay to shrink our garden?
    • #1
    • 2nd Jan 13, 11:10 AM
    Real-life MMD: Should we pay to shrink our garden? 2nd Jan 13 at 11:10 AM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we pay to shrink our garden?

    We've just bought a house and moved in. Last weekend, our new neighbour came around and apologetically explained she'd just found out the garden fence is in the wrong place (and has been for years). Moving it will mean we lose a portion of our garden. We've checked with the Land Registry and she's right – but she wants us to share the cost. As I see it, she is the one gaining garden, so she should pay.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 03-01-2013 at 2:13 PM.
Page 1
    • lauh88
    • By lauh88 2nd Jan 13, 10:16 PM
    • 118 Posts
    • 172 Thanks
    • #2
    • 2nd Jan 13, 10:16 PM
    • #2
    • 2nd Jan 13, 10:16 PM
    They've probably been waiting for ages for you to move in so they can get their hands on the extra land. If they want it they should pay for it, it's not your fault!
    • barginpleasure
    • By barginpleasure 2nd Jan 13, 10:18 PM
    • 45 Posts
    • 43 Thanks
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 13, 10:18 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 13, 10:18 PM
    This should have been picked up on in the conveyancing and you could have said you would only buy the house if the fence was moved before contracts exchanged or your not paying as much because you will loose a bit of garden.
    Unfortunately as you say the land is theirs so they can not be made to pay for that. !I would say to them you wont pay for the fence as if it was you, you would do it yourself or as you can appreciate just bought a house money is tight. !No way you should pay.
    I would say go back to the conveyancer/solicitor and question why they did not pick up on this and maybe make them pay.
    Last edited by barginpleasure; 02-01-2013 at 10:26 PM.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 2nd Jan 13, 10:19 PM
    • 30,038 Posts
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    • #4
    • 2nd Jan 13, 10:19 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Jan 13, 10:19 PM
    People with a tape measure and a Land Registry plan are a menace!

    Boundaries move over time. If the boundary has been in place "for years" then that is the new boundary.

    You shouldn't be paying towards it and you shouldn't be letting her move the fence either.
    • BigAde
    • By BigAde 2nd Jan 13, 11:51 PM
    • 424 Posts
    • 98 Thanks
    • #5
    • 2nd Jan 13, 11:51 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Jan 13, 11:51 PM
    I wouldn't take the word of the neighbour on this matter.

    Check with the solicitor who did the conveyancing. You can also check the filed plan on the deeds - it may indicate who is responsible for the boundary fence.
    Ah! Good old trusty beer... I hope you never change.
  • kittycat204
    • #6
    • 3rd Jan 13, 12:32 AM
    • #6
    • 3rd Jan 13, 12:32 AM
    No way would I pay, I would question them every step of the way. You will be losing garden and value on your property.

    Get some professional legal advise. There are free drop in's at places, use a few of them to get a clearer idea.
    Opinion on everything, knowledge of nothing.
    • scotsbob
    • By scotsbob 3rd Jan 13, 12:32 AM
    • 4,462 Posts
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    • #7
    • 3rd Jan 13, 12:32 AM
    • #7
    • 3rd Jan 13, 12:32 AM
    Shoddy work by your solicitor, get in touch with them first.

    If your neighbour pays then they will be choosing the new fence, it may not be a style/size/colour of your liking and you are going to be looking at it.

    If you contribute to cost then you can be involved in choices.
    • darkwarrior
    • By darkwarrior 3rd Jan 13, 1:16 AM
    • 183 Posts
    • 80 Thanks
    • #8
    • 3rd Jan 13, 1:16 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Jan 13, 1:16 AM
    Absolutely not, like paying to be punched in the face. Like others have said, check if the boundary hasn't changed in your favor.

    How much space are we talking about?
    • telsco
    • By telsco 3rd Jan 13, 1:42 AM
    • 101 Posts
    • 429 Thanks
    • #9
    • 3rd Jan 13, 1:42 AM
    • #9
    • 3rd Jan 13, 1:42 AM
    Go to your solicitor and A: ask them why the hell they missed it and B: get them to contact your neighbour to suggest selling you the small strip of land and have the new land registered. Land is cheap compared to a building, so shouldn't cost much.
    It could save money and a lot of mess for both sides.

    If your neighbour refuses that idea, then just say you won't pay for your share of any new work as the fence in that area doesn't belong to you as its not on your land.
    • Cumbrian Male
    • By Cumbrian Male 3rd Jan 13, 2:12 AM
    • 1,488 Posts
    • 689 Thanks
    Cumbrian Male
    If the fence has been there for more than, I think 7, years then the land is yours. If they haven't contested it then the deeds should have been changed by the previous owner. Get legal advice now. A. your solicitor should have picked up on it. B. If it hasn't been contested then ownership has changed and C. Is this a long running neighbour dispute which you haven't been made aware of and now you're new they are chancing their arm?

    Sue the vendor if the later is the case, but get your solicitor onto it now. They are insured for !!!! ups and you shouldn't lose out.
    I have a cunning plan!
    Proud to be dealing with my debts.

    • Tiptaker
    • By Tiptaker 3rd Jan 13, 8:21 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 73 Thanks
    How much land are you talking about - half your garden or a tiny strip? I'd go with Cumbrian Male on this - I guess it's been the situation for years (how long did the previous owners live there?) and your neighbours have tried to get it changed before with no joy and are hoping that you, in the interests of new neighbourliness, will roll over and comply. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot with neighbours so stand back and tell them you will let your solicitor deal with it. On the other hand they may be the neighbours from hell and you just don't know it yet! Any which way, it's not your fault so you shouldn't have to pay - it's either down to them or your solicitor, but not you!
    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 3rd Jan 13, 8:37 AM
    • 420 Posts
    • 229 Thanks
    The boundary fence obviously belongs to your neighbours as well as the portion of land, you do not have to contribute towards moving it.
  • AnturCynhyrfus
    The Land Registry will tell you who is responsible for which borders. It could be all yours, all theirs or a joint responsibility. Check this, as if it's all theirs then you have absolutely no legal requirement to contribute.

    If it's not all theirs then I'd follow some of the other suggestions in this thread and contact your solicitor as I would have thought that this should have been identified in the conveyancing.
    Last edited by AnturCynhyrfus; 03-01-2013 at 8:43 AM. Reason: Apostrophe fail!
    • meurigjones
    • By meurigjones 3rd Jan 13, 9:04 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    I wouldn't dream of contributing to the cost. If she wants to increase the size of her garden, then the cost should be met fully by her.

    This could however create a couple of problems: Relations from that point on could well be strained, and you would probably have no input on what type of fence or hedge they erect.

    Good luck!
  • smff
    Hi we had a similar issue but with the rear boundary, If you can show that the fence has been in the same place for 12 years you legally have right to the land, and whilst cannot get a full legal title can get partial title.

    As you have only lived there a short while I would suggest you could go on the map sites to see how long the boundary has been in situ or ask your neighbour to prove when it was moved. But in my non-legal view get your Solicitor to sort it as he should have spotted it and pay nothing to your neighbour.
  • debtdesperado
    Do not go to a solicitor and start stirring up a boundary dispute unless you truly have money to burn! Boundary disputes are expensive, and often pointless, particularly in a case like this where you say it's obvious that the boundary is wrong.

    Before you go pay to go a solicitor (and you say that you have checked at the land registry, so if the error is that obvious on the plans then a solicitor will only be an expensive way of confirming what you know), I would consider how much garden you will lose. If it is a substantial amount, I would then get some estate agents round to value the property with the smaller garden.

    If the value is less than the current market value with the bigger garden, you may have a claim for negligence against your solicitor if they did not point this out when you bought the property. You solicitor would be liable for the difference between the valuations. They are the correct party to pursue, and they will have insurance which will cover claims like this.

    In terms of your neighbour, I wouldn't take it out on them. Saying that you won't pay anything is fine, but being more collaborative will have two big advantages - firstly, you will get a say over the fence in terms of appearance, height etc, and you will also be able to have a say in where the fence is located, ie you and your neighbour can agree where it goes. Plus in general, what is the point of falling out with your neighbours and being awkward? It will cause you massive amounts of stress, and them, and to what end? I would agree to contribute something (not necessarily half) and sit down and discuss it.

    Ultimately it's not worth fighting for something which isn't yours anyway, and saying you won't contribute may result in a horrible fence that is more of an eyesore.
  • steve LB
    No way on this planet should you ever think of paying anything towards this.
    Firstly, you are not asking for this work to be done, so if they wish to move or even replace this fence just refuse to pay, however you may not legally be able to with hold permission for them to do it.

    Secondly even if you were liable to pay a percentage of the cost you would almost certainly be able to pass the cost on to your solicitor, as you have paid them to pick this kind of thing up for you.

    If you think about it you will probably suspect that the last owners of your property no doubt also refused to pay, and they have waited for someone else to move in and hopefully be a "simple touch".


    Good luck and all the best for your new home.

    Regards Steve.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 3rd Jan 13, 9:38 AM
    • 30,038 Posts
    • 77,158 Thanks
    Hi we had a similar issue but with the rear boundary, If you can show that the fence has been in the same place for 12 years you legally have right to the land, and whilst cannot get a full legal title can get partial title.

    As you have only lived there a short while I would suggest you could go on the map sites to see how long the boundary has been in situ or ask your neighbour to prove when it was moved.
    Originally posted by smff
    This is good advice.

    Throw the problem back at the neighbour to prove when the fence changed position. Unless it was relatively recently, they have no right to ask for it to be moved back to the line on the map. The longer they have accepted the fence where it is, the weaker their legal position.

    For all you know, the fence was like that when they moved in next door and the principal of "you buy what you see" comes into play. This also applies to you - you bought the garden as it stands now.

    If they really felt they had a right to the extra bit of garden, they would have raised it when the house went up for sale. They're putting pressure on you as the new incomers hoping that you'll cave in before taking time to think about the issue.
  • paolojf
    AnturCynhyrfus post #13 says "as if it's all theirs then you have absolutely no legal requirement to contribute".

    Even if it's your fence, there is no legal obligation to even have a fence. You could leave the land open if you wanted to do so. The neighbour, if they wanted a fence, would then have to erect their own but completely on their side of the boundry line, not on it.
    • ernie-money
    • By ernie-money 3rd Jan 13, 9:50 AM
    • 735 Posts
    • 374 Thanks
    Money is obviously an important issue, but what about neighbourly relations..? I wouldn't want to cough up loads of money for losing a bit of my garden (it sounds insane), but falling out with a new neighbour when you've only just moved in can also have implications. Will you ever need them to accept parcels when you're out, feed the cat, or just generally be a friendly neighbour...?
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