As so many of us have spent more time at home in the last year or so, some may have looked outside from their home office and wondered who is responsible for fixing that damaged garden fence.
There is no standard rule relating to the maintenance of boundary structures such as walls, fences, and hedges, and you may be surprised to find that the assumption that all owners are responsible for maintaining the left-hand boundary (as you look from the street) is just that – an assumption with no legal basis.
If your property is registered, then the answer may be found in the Land Register – an electronic record held by HM Land Registry detailing the ownership of all registered land, and which also details all rights and obligations noted against registered land. The Register will often contain a provision from a previous transfer of the land stating which boundaries are to be maintained by the owner, but unfortunately it is frequently the case that the Register is silent as to the ownership and/or maintenance of boundaries. Where do you go from here? Unfortunately, there is no real answer.
The easiest assumption to make, if you have a shared boundary with another property and if your title register is silent, is that you share responsibility and costs with your neighbour. It isn’t always that easy though.
In the event of a dispute between neighbours which cannot be settled by discussion and mediation, the ruling party (usually the First Tier Tribunal) might look at the history of the boundary’s maintenance, to see if one party has effectively assumed responsibility over time. That may however be difficult to prove.
If an agreement can be reached with your neighbour, we would recommend having the agreement recorded in writing, and lodged with the Land Registry, so that any future disputes may be prevented.
Meaby&Co’s Property and Litigation specialists are here to assist if you do require advice on your boundaries or indeed if you fall out with your neighbour over boundary maintenance.
If you have any questions about your boundaries, pleasecontact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7703 5034.
Meaby&Co is authorised and regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA Number 447880) and registered in England and Wales with registered number OC322672 at 2 Camberwell Church St, London, SE5 8QY.