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Disputes with neighbours - garden


Disputes with your neighbours can be the most depressing and frustrating of all, most disputes and disagreements are to do with the garden regarding boundarys and rights.

It is unfortunate but many people have no idea about the legal rights regarding their outdoor space and boundaries. There are the main issues which are the most popular for disputes;

The boundary itself.
Your title plan which is held at your local registry office(bearing in mind your property is registered – it should be by now!) will show in an inverted ‘T’ the boundary on the property which is your responsibility. It is not always that clear as former residents may have had other agreements with your neighbours about the care of boundaries, but your legal responsibility/right will be indicated on the title plan. It is always prudent to check all of this before you sign any Contracts to buy a house, the Sellers Property Information Form or the new HIPS should give you some indication.

Always talk to the neighbours before you carry out any work on your boundary, they may have plants growing against a fence which will get damaged if you carry out any work without warning them first. If you are errecting a fence it is your responsibility to care for both sides of the panels so access to their garden is required.

On the other hand the neighbour on the other side of your boundary should seek your permission before attaching anything to your boundary/fence, this includes nails, wire, paint or stain or plants. the agreement you have is ‘subject to contract’ and is only verbal, but binding nevertheless. Neighbours do not usually seek to get permission in writing as most people get on but…………………!!

There may be occasions where the boundary responsibility has shifted, maybe the neighbour who does not have a legal responsibility for the boundary has erected a new boundary, buying and paying for materials which are now their property – on your boundary. This may have happened before you lived at the property. This can be a very delicate situation, but communication is paramount. It may end in you having to erect a boundary fence or structure on your side of the boundary already erected by the neighbour and meaning you may lose a few inches of your land to keep the peace. Alternative solutions can be reached through communication.

Any agreements with neighbours should carry on to progressive owners of properties, warts and all and any correspondence between parties should be kept to prove this. Any neighbourly disputes have to be disclosed when you are selling your property so they should be avoided where possible.

Boundary disputes cause people to do the most bizarre and un characteristic things and it is sometimes impossible to reason with the unreasonable and agreements cannot be reached. This can sometimes lead to legal action which is expensive and stressful so my advice is to communicate and be as friendly as possible with your neighbours, you have to live next to them!

I hope this advice is useful, I had a dispute recently with a neighbour and ended up writing several letters to them as they refused to communicate. The matter has gone away, hopefully resolved, and I have kept all communiction as I am going to put my house on the market soon.

Have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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hi Andrea, sounds like you have been through it a lot recently, and yes there are so many rules and regs attatched to all of this. we are quite lucky in our new house as both neigbours are pretty good, but i have had experiences with bad ones in the past, and not only to do with back gardens and boundries, we lived in a flat before we moved here - we did have a small garden attatched as we were on the ground floor, but we had the neigbours from hell upstairs. their balcony overlooked our garden and they would constantly through things from there balcony into our garden, bottles, glasses, cigarette butts and all sorts of other nasties! they were abusive and had wild parties at least 3 times a week that went on until 3am. complete nightmere! and the invironmental heath did nothing about it at all. still we are out of there now and we are in a much nicer area, with decent people living around us. so i hope that your situation is resolved. and you are right it is best to resolve these things between yourselves rather than involving outside parties - most of which are pretty useless anyway in my experience and it does agrevate the issues - but we had no choice as the people (more like animals really lol!) that lived upstairs to us where far from reasonable, and had no communications skills at all - because we did try that first. anyway all over now - hope you have a lovely chrismas x

19 Dec, 2007


you really have had the neighbours from hell!! That situation is extreme for most people. My nasty neighbours are situated on the other side of the back fence in the back garden, the ones either side are really nice.
I didn't even get started on hedges that are the boundary 'article' from thick ones to the really tall leylandii cypress which have their very own legislation!! and have to be a certain height now,not too sure, think it is no more than 2 metres, and it has to be more than one tree to constitute a hedge.
Have a lovely Christmas with your little one and the family x

19 Dec, 2007


thanks andrea, are the cypress yours or theres? they have never been one of my favorites for hedging, they suck far too much out of the soil so that nothing not even grass can grow properly around it, and they block out all of the light. if they belong to the neigbours and they really are horrid people, why not sneek out one night with a big bottle of industrial weedkiller? LOL only kidding!

19 Dec, 2007


We live in a listed building, and the garden in front of the house (cottage) has no fence or wall to show which is our land and which belongs to the other half of the cottage. We would not be allowed to put up any sort of barrier, due to the listing, but we are very lucky with our neighbours - the old man who lived there died and left his cottage to his son who is happy with the 'open' aspect. We both know and agree which areas are our responsibility. If he had sold the property, we could have had such bother! The dog, obviously, treats the whole area as 'his' territory, and they are also happy with that, because being so rural, he barks at anybody walking past or strangers approaching and not at people he knows, like the postman and local horse riders. Good early warning system, isn't it! Over the back and other side, our neighbours are four legged and moo loudly. A bit anti-social due to their poor hygiene and habits - but miles better than the awful neighbours you poor folk have to cope with!!!

19 Dec, 2007


It is always nice to hear the good news as well. Our neighbours are just bullies, but she didn't count on my legal knowledge on Land and Contract Law before she started so I was very lucky to be able to comment correctly and calmly about the situation. My last letter stated that if she didn't respoind within a certain time limit that the matter would be resolved, she didn't so it is and I haven't heard anything for over a year!!
Merry Christmas Sprizthenry to your family and your doggy x

20 Dec, 2007


The boundary in our garden is a fence not a leylandii cypress. The boundary is my responsibility but the fence was erected by the neighbours and the original owner of my house - 2 fences in fact one 4 ft (shared build by both parties) on my side and one 6 ft behind it on their side which they erected themselves, very complicated matter but I managed to survive that one.

20 Dec, 2007

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