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Garden Boundry Query

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  • Garden Boundry Query

    I have just completed on a house and have started work in the garden. The garden was overgrown with trees and bushes, so it full scale couldn't be seen.
    I've removed this vegetation to discover the bottom right end of the garden has been fenced off. Around 5 square meters of land is missing from my garden. Peering over this fence reveals a small allyway full of clutter and my neighbour has a gate opening into it - with a gate also at the end.

    This is not shown on the land registry - they show that this land belongs to me.

    The missing land has not been mentioned throughout the purchase by either side, and as stated above, can only now be seen with everything cut back.

    This is my first house, and I'm a bit naive about what I should do next. Could my neighbour have any claims on the land even though it is show as mine? Should my first step be in contacting my solicitor? I don't want to get into arguments with the neighbour before I've even moved in.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Garden Boundary Query

    A relative in the building trade has been helping me with a few projects on the house and says the fence is fairly new (the fence aswel as the concrete posts show this).

    The house I bought belonged to a buy-to-let investor who fell on hard times I think. It was empty for around 9 months before I moved in, and previous to that it was rented out for 4-5 years.

    The state of the garden shows that it hasn't been touched for about that time. I have a feeling that the neighbour knew this, knew that back of the garden couldn't be easily accessed, and so stole the back 4/5 meters (which was hidden behind overgrown trees and shrubs).

    I've contacted my solicitor who says she would write to the neighbour. She also said that they could only claim ownership if they have had the land for 12 years. Either way, she says that would be very difficult to prove and that the land registry office usually sides with the land owner (in her experience of such cases).

    So the question is, what to do about this? I think jumping in with a letter from a solicitor might be a bit of a sledgehammer approach, but i'm unsure of how to approach the neighbour.

    I haven't seen anything of them, and tried knocking on their door earlier and received no reply. If they had replied I'm not sure what I'd have said: "excuse me, why have you stolen some of my land?"

    If the fence is on my property, does it belong to me? Or should I not touch it until this issue is resolved?


    • #3
      Re: Garden Boundry Query

      If you are sure the new fence is on your land, you are entitled to remove it (and block the gate)

      But I suggest you -
      (a) get your solicitor to write the letter she proposes BUT TO GIVE IT TO YOU, instead of posting it
      (b) make further attempts to contact the neighbours, to point out that they have grabbed part of your garden and you cannot allow this - quite apart from anything else, you are obliged to your mortgage lender not to allow any third party rights to be acquired over the properfty
      (c) if you cannot contact them, or they refuse to remove the fence themselves and block the gate, deliver the solicitor's letter to them and remove the fence and block the gate yourself
      (d) make a diary note of what takes place, so that you can remember the sequence of events later - a few "before and after" photos would be useful, too
      This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum


      • #4
        Re: Garden Boundry Query

        Thanks JustinN. I'll get the solicitor to send the letter to me, and as I still haven't been able to contact the neighbour, tomorrow I'm going to remove the fence. I'll make sure to take lots of photos etc.

        I've been given a lot of advice on this, and due to the nature of the gardens on this road (victorian terrace - so long rectangles) and the way he has cut into my garden (when considering the LR boundry records for both properties), it would be very difficult for him to claim this as his land.

        Further investigation has shown that the neighbour in question has built a huge shed at the back of his garden, this blocks his access to the passageway at the back of the houses. To compensate for this, he appears to have created a passageway by stealing a part of my garden and my back gate.

        Looking at the situation from the passage way at the back, its blatently obvious "his" gate is actually part of the fence to my garden.

        I figure best to remove it and claim ignorance ("well my deeds show this is my land, so I presumed the previous owner had done this") and let him try and get the land back, rather than him guarding the land and me having to fight for it.
        Last edited by chrisuk; 23-07-2010, 01:25 PM. Reason: spelling


        • #5
          Re: Garden Boundry Query

          That all makes sense - good luck

          If the neighbour retaliates by (eg) removing your fence, that would be criminal damage which can be reported to the police
          This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum