Insights

Navigating Fence Repairs After Storm Jocelyn: A Guide to Property Boundaries and Responsibilities

In the wake of a storm we often find that there is an increase in clients needing help finding out who is in charge of reinstating a fallen or damaged boundary fence. With storm Jocelyn fast approaching, we can expect that this issue won’t stop anytime soon.

Since boundary disputes can often escalate into heated debates with neighbours, this guide will explore the intricacies of property boundaries and provide practical advice on resolving fence disputes.

Ownership of Boundaries: Debunking Common Misconceptions

It is common to think that HM Land Registry would show the outline of a property, and therefore what side the fence resides on. Unfortunately their title plans only show the general area and boundaries of a property, and can overlook small details (like juts or bay windows) and therefore are not the best at proving the property responsible for the fence.

Another common misconception is the belief that everyone owns the boundary to the left of their property. In reality, the ownership of a boundary is not determined by a general rule but is specified in property deeds. If the deeds include a repair or maintenance covenant, the property owner is obligated to maintain that particular boundary structure.

Identifying Ownership: The ‘T’ Mark on Title Plans

To determine if a fence is your responsibility, examine the title plan. If it features a ‘T’ mark on your side of the boundary, you are accountable for its maintenance. In cases where two ‘T’ marks connect to form an ‘H’ mark, the responsibility is jointly shared between you and your neighbour.

A representation of the T and H mark that you find on a Title plan
The ‘T’ mark on the left, the connected ‘T’ mark (forming a ‘H’) on the right

Deed Ambiguities: Resolving Ownership Uncertainties

In situations where property deeds do not explicitly state ownership of a fence, it is advisable to engage in a discussion with your neighbour. A mutually agreed-upon solution should be formalised with the assistance of a solicitor, who can draw up an agreement and register it with the Land Registry for official recognition. Moreover, our firm offers litigation services to organise and mediate discussions like these so that everyone comes to a positive outcome.

Seeking Resolution: Who Can Help with Boundary Disputes?

In the aftermath of a storm, addressing a fallen fence becomes more straightforward when armed with an understanding of property boundaries and responsibilities. Whether it’s deciphering title plans, negotiating with neighbours, or seeking professional assistance, clarity and communication are key to resolving fence-related issues amicably. By seeking legal advice you are making sure that you are prepared should a similar event happen.

Remember, while information from the Land Registry can provide insights, the larger picture involves cooperation and communication with neighbours. If you are in doubt, get in touch with our solicitors to ensure a fair and lasting resolution to property boundary disputes. You can contact us today by calling 01273 604 123, emailing us at enquire@bbc-law.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form

More information:

Hookway (2018) Drawing the line on boundaries

Smart (2024) Storm Isha: Who is responsible for repairing a garden fence? 

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