After being buffeted by three named storms in the past week, it’s a small wonder if your fences are still standing in an upright position. If, like thousands of others, your fence is looking a little worse for wear and your neighbour expects you to rectify the situation, B P Collins answers an important question, which is – whose responsibility is it to fix?
A common misconception is that everyone owns the boundary to the left of the property. In fact, there is no general rule to dictate which boundary is owned by a property owner. The legal position is that you are only obligated to maintain a boundary structure where the deeds to the property show a repair or maintenance covenant to that effect. When looking at the title plan to the property, if it has a ‘T’ mark on your side of the boundary, you will be responsible for its maintenance. If the case is that two ‘T’ marks are connected, forming an ‘H’ mark, there will be a joint maintenance responsibility between you and the neighbour.
However, the title deeds don’t always specify a maintenance covenant. Where the property deeds are silent on boundary maintenance, the best way forward is to discuss with your neighbour and come to an agreement. If you go down this route, it is advisable to have a solicitor draw up the agreement and register it with the Land Registry so that future disagreements over boundary maintenance are avoided.
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