Garden fence responsibility can often be a subject of dispute between neighbours, especially when it comes to knowing where you stand legally. It’s easy to avoid unnecessary hassle and confrontation by making sure you know what you are responsible for when it comes to garden boundaries.
It is a common misconception that a property owner automatically owns the boundary on the left (as you look at the property from the road). There is in fact no general law or rule about which boundary you own.
The vendor who originally owned the land and separated it into plots/houses should have assigned responsibility for the boundaries and may have confirmed this in a document known as a Transfer Deed or Conveyance.
If you are buying a new build, you would be able to query this directly with the developer. If you are buying a much older property, you would then need to consider obtaining documents from the Land Registry.
Am I responsible for damage to my garden fence?
Once you have access to the deeds and can view the plans, you’ll notice markers that show whether responsibility lies with you or your neighbour if there’s damage to a fence or wall boundary between the properties.
A ‘T’ shown on the inside of a boundary line signifies ownership of the boundary fence or wall and means that maintenance responsibility falls on the shoulders of the property owner on that side. When two ‘T’ symbols are attached (as an ‘H’) to one another, this means joint responsibility between both sets of neighbours on either side.
Deeds and plans can often be outdated and not always entirely clear, so it can be difficult to see exactly where the boundary fences or walls start and end – sometimes causing disputes.
If you’re ever wondering: “Which side of the fence is mine?” if there has been damage or maintenance is needed, speak to your neighbour. The majority of the time, they’ll be just as keen as you are to come to a mutual agreement and resolve the issue.
You can find some more helpful advice on this on the Land Search Online website