My garden fence has fallen down but my next-door neighbour is refusing to pay his half – what are my legal rights?January 27, 2022
ONE man has complained that he is not able to fix his collapsed fence because his neighbour won't go halves with the cost.
The man is hesitant to fix the fence because he feels that if he covers the full cost he will be fully responsible going forward.
Writing to thisismoney.co.uk the man asked for expert advice on what would be the best thing to do.
The man said: "My boundary fence has fallen down and needs replacing but my next-door neighbour is refusing to pay."
Adding: "Is it not his responsibility to pay for half the upkeep cost? If so, are there any legal actions I can take to force his hand?"
The man also questioned if paid this time, would be obliged to in future.
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Thisismoney spoke to three experts. Mary Rouse, head of property litigation at Wright Hassall, Chun Wong, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors and Danielle Lewis-James, senior in-house legal counsel at Slater and Gordon.
Mary Rouse said that when it comes to knowing who is responsible, this is not a straightforward question and it is best to ask the solicitor that was involved when you bought the house.
Chun Wong said: "You should check any copies of the title deeds or obtain an official copy of the title plan from the Land Registry" and suggested that this should tell you who is responsible for the upkeep of the fence."
In the case where the neighbour is solely responsible for the fence, Danielle Lewis James suggests the man approaches him calmly and politely to explain the situation.
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This, she explains is important because you do not want to have issues in future with the person next door.Mrs Lewis-James also suggested that legal costs may not be worth the price of repairing the fence yourself.
"If the cost of the fence is not great then the animosity created, and the risk of legal costs may simply not be worth the hassle," she said.
Mr Wong said that if he discovers that it is the neighbour's responsibility, the man should first send a letter explaining the case, and giving them a time period to fix it before making a legal claim.
If the responsibility is unclear, Mr Wong suggests: "If you can come to an amicable solution this can be formally recorded in a boundary agreement for future reference and will also assist if either of you subsequently sold."
If it does turn out that the man is responsible for the fence, it does not necessarily mean he can rebuild it as he sees fit.
Ms Rouse said If you are replacing a fence, you should be careful about its height – local authority planning policy will determine how high a garden fence can be, but it's usually no more than two metres in a rear garden.
She also explains that if you pay your neighbour should be obliged to ask for permission before hanging plant pots or anything else on the fence.
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