Boundary Disputes UK: Has Your Neighbour Put Up A Fence On Your Land?

A boundary dispute is one of the most common disputes here in the UK. A boundary dispute generally happens when a neighbour puts up a fence or wall marking out their boundary without confirming with the neighbours.

Boundary Disputes & Solutions
Boundary Disputes & Solutions

Another popular boundary grab is when a neighbour sells a property and another neighbour erects a fence overnight outlining their “NEW” boundary lines.

This type of behaviour can quickly deteriorate into a neighbour dispute, which will include court costs with chartered surveyors and solicitor fees.

In this guide, we are going to share our experience when it comes to outlining your boundary wall with your neighbour and what to do if you have a neighbour that has grabbed land not belonging to them.

Before Erecting A Fence

If you and your neighbour are on good terms then we suggest you share your plans with your neighbour.

You should approach your neighbour and explain you want to fence off your garden/land area.

You can use a string line and stakes to come to an agreement before you erect the fence or brick wall.

If you have the land registry plans or house deeds at hand they will give you a better understanding of where the boundary walls should fall.

HM Land Registry Example
HM Land Registry Example
  1. Use stakes and a string line for accuracy
  2. Order your land registry for comparison
  3. Compare your boundary with the deeds and land registry
  4. Agree with your neighbour before erecting your fence
  5. Take pictures of the boundary lines you have agreed upon

Common Boundary Disputes

When the removal of trees or bushes is replaced with a fence is the number one cause of boundary disputes.

Another common dispute is a new driveway and/or out builds such as sheds and garages.

If your neighbour has erected a fence DO NOT try and remove it because you will cause a confrontation or in many cases be arrested for criminal damage or breach of the peace.

Wezaggle Boundary Disputes!

The best thing you can do is follow our guide and keep calm. Nothing will come of you ripping down your neighbour’s fence or arguing with your neighbour in the street.

Just explain the boundary is wrong and it will be disputed in court if need be.

Sometimes an initial solicitor letter and a copy of the deeds and a chartered surveyor report will persuade your neighbours to correct the mistake and then you can agree.

ENGLAND & WALES BOUNDARY LAW HANDBOOK
ENGLAND & WALES BOUNDARY LAW HANDBOOK

My Neighbour Has Erected Their Fence On My Land

If you have discovered a fence you believe to be on your property then you will need to dispute the claims made by your neighbour.

You should first take any pictures and start building a case if the dispute ends up in court.

  1. Take pictures of the new fence
  2. Order the land registry for you property
  3. Deeds will also have boundary lines (measurements)
  4. Speak with your neighbour and explain your dispute
  5. Hire a chartered land surveyor and have everything needed for them to carry out a survey of your property (1,2 & 3)

Once you have reached this point you will have a more definite answer as to your boundary lines.

If your chartered surveyor has disputed the fence then you should move onto the next level and contact a solicitor.

Disagreeing With Your Neighbours Chartered Land Surveyor

In many cases, the chartered land surveyors for each neighbour will dispute each other’s claims.

If this is the case and you cannot agree with your neighbour on their findings then you should go ahead and have a judge rule on the boundary rules.

  1. A chartered land surveyors report is not the law
  2. If your neighbour still disputes their report then a court case is needed for clarification on the boundary walls.
Neighbour Disputes - Law and Practises
Neighbour Disputes – Law and Practises

Settling A Boundary Dispute

Your solicitor will note the FACTS and correspond with your neighbours on your behalf.

Generally, this is when your neighbour will remove the fence or double down and a court case will be noted.

Make sure you keep all land documents, surveyor reports, pictures and even dates of any discussions with your neighbour.

These are all the things that will conclude the court case ruling.

After A Boundary Dispute Ruling

Once a judge has settled the boundary dispute through the facts and expert experience, you must adhere to these laws.

If the judge ruled in your favour then be courteous and you can start correcting any fences, sheds or buildings on your property.

How Long Does A Boundary Dispute Take?

Disputes can take a few years to complete, all parties need to collect information and surveys for the case to conclude.

But the majority of the time it takes a few months for land surveyors to conclude on the information provided.

If your neighbour is reasonable they will agree with the surveyor and there will be no need for expensive solicitors and court costs!

On average only around 20% will need a court ruling.

Conclusion

We love to help our readers and share any experiences we have for other readers having the same boundary issues.

Ask a question or let us know your own experience when it comes to neighbours and land disputes.

6 thoughts on “Boundary Disputes UK: Has Your Neighbour Put Up A Fence On Your Land?”

  1. my neighbour has sold her house 2 years ago and the new owner pulled the house down and
    subdivided the block had it surveyed and now tells me that 30cm of my concrete driveway are on his land. Most of the houses have been here for over 50 years and all were happy with the existing boundry even though they are out by approx. 30cm. Do I have to dig up my driveway and shift my carport?

    Reply
    • Hey Ray,

      It does sound like your driveway was there before they moved. If it’s confirmed to be on the property by a registered surveyor then you will have to move it. But, you do not have to do anything unless under a court order. 30cm is a lot to get wrong.

      Hope it works out for you

      Reply
  2. we bought a property over 4 years ago and when clearing the garden we clear right to the fence that was on the adjoining property at the back (back to back). We have since had the garden landscaped to the fence, including a raised rockery as the property is lower than the one at the back.
    Last year new people bought the property at the back and is now saying that they fence (erected by previous owners) is now 18″ short of their garden, claiming that the deeds state that we now have 18″ of their garden. I don’t know what is the law. He wants to take the fence down and claim back his land! We didn’t know as the fence was already there.

    Reply
    • Hey Lorraine,

      If the property was purchased like that why did the surveyor not notice it? You need to get yourself a boundary surveyor if your neighbour is disputing the border. Double-check your deeds and get an independent surveyor in case they take you to court ETC.

      Hope this helps and good luck 😉

      Reply
  3. Hi, I am responsible for the maintenance of the boundary at the front of my property and next door are responsible for the rear. I’m assuming the boundary runs directly through the party wall (my deeds have a very straight line). At the front of the property, I have a fence which has horizontal slats and is about 4ft in height. It is situated just on my side of the boundary line.

    My neighbour (a tenant) has erected a 6ft fence at the front and nailed it to the existing fence causing damage to the wood. They did not ask my permission to attach it, and also in doing so have blocked access to the shared storm drain.

    Am I within my rights to persue them for the cost of repairing my fence, and also am I within my rights to have them remove the nails that they have knocked through to secure their fence?

    I have tried contacting the owners and the letting agent but they never replied. The tenant is rude and abusive and behaves like the law is only applicable to everyone else. Whilst I am not against them putting a fence up, I dont see why my existing fence should be used (and damaged) as a supporting mechanism.

    Reply
  4. My new neighbor has moved in w his jack of all trades business in a put a driveway 40 feet from my house and windows…the noise dirt and ALL the traffic has caused my house to very unpleasant….dont wanna turn into code enforcement and hang other few neighbors….thinkn of writing a letter and hand delivering …..he doesn’t know bothers us……unless we say something…….:)

    Reply

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