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Which side of the fence are you on?

It’s the last thing you want. You’re all ready to put up your new fence and suddenly you’re stopped in your tracks by your own mini Brexit as boundaries and repair responsibilities come to the fore. In our 3 years experience we’ve seen some trivial matters over boundaries escalate into all out war, and in some unfortunate cases even violence. But worry not, with just a few of our handy hints and tips we can make sure not of these issues face you.

So which side of the fence is yours? When do repairs need to be done? How high can I put my fence? We look to answer the questions that can mean you and your neighbours remain the best of friends.

My first tip with all neighbours is a simple one. Rather than worry about what might arise when work begins, go and see your neighbour. If you feel there is a boundary issue go and discuss it with them. In 99% of cases you’ll find them to be more than reasonable. It is surprising how many things have come up before, or exactly what answers they’ll have for you. It can save you a lot of time and effort if they already have the information on boundary lines and responsibilities, plus from a landscapers point of view it is always good to have an amicable neighbour when it comes to undertaking work. Not only does it mean the extra cup of tea here and there for us, but it helps your contactor understand your neighbours needs on cleanliness and avoiding damage. You also never know when you might require some help with access.

But what if this doesn’t solve the issue? You may be surprised to know there is no strict law governing which side of the fence is yours in the UK. The first place to check this information is the property deeds which quite often will explicitly state which boundary is yours. In the event no agreement is in place you are then best consulting the Land Registry. Here you should find both the exact boundary lines and who is responsible for them. A letter ‘T’ with the base pointing in towards your property indicates the boundary is yours to maintain. Occasionally you will see a ‘H’, this is two ‘T’ back to back meaning shared responsibility.

It is often best if you’ve come this far to consider drawing up a boundary agreement to avoid the dispute arising with the same or another neighbour in the future.

It doesn’t however stop there as far as responsibilities are concerned. In many cases there is no legal requirement to actually have a fence, and if a neighbour so chooses they can leave theirs to rot. What now? Well regardless of what your neighbour chooses remember you can always put your own fence up right up to theirs on your own land.

When it comes to height of fences the law states,

 ‘Planning permission is not required provided that: 1. The wall or fence is not more than 2 metres in height anywhere on your property except where it adjoins a road or footpath. In this case the height is restricted to 1 metre.’

Remember this is not strict, only that you have to apply for permission outside these parameters.

Another issue that often arises is people lowering their boundary fence and reducing your privcy. Unfortunately, again there is no law for this and the easiest solution is to install your own added height as close as you can to theirs.

In no circumstance should you hang, paint or fix to a neighbours fence. This is their responsibility and therefore there property.

And, again, remember….

It is always best to talk to your neighbour first!