Where is my legal boundary and who’sresponsible for it?

Back in February, Storm Eunice caused widespread property damage and destruction, together with power cuts, to many households. Because of the resulting damage and destruction, particularly to fencing, many have been left wondering where their legal boundary is and who is responsible for paying to repair or replace the damaged fence.

Neighbourly disputes
Many household insurance policies specifically exclude fencing as an insured risk. It can be expensive to fence and the choice of structure and colour scheme are often a very personal choice. It is not uncommon for neighbours to disagree over what type of boundary feature should be erected; the precise position of the posts; who should have the ‘best side’ facing them; and what colour to paint it. In circumstances where a fence needs replacing, and the fencing quotation far exceeds £1,000, it is not surprising that many people would then look to their title deeds or documents to try to ascertain the answers to the questions posed above.
The truth is that deeds or registered title documents and plans are often silent on the question of ownership of boundary features. Some plans contain ‘T marks’ that can be taken as evidence of ownership; most plans do not. There is also a common misconception that the red line shown on registered title plans shows precisely the position of the legal boundary between properties.

Don’t reply on the red lines
Land Registry plans are for identification only, based upon ordnance survey plans. The red line shown on the plan and depicting a boundary may in fact provide for an error of a couple of metres from the position of the true ‘legal boundary’. It is a far from satisfactory position, and often misunderstood.
In the absence of express obligations as to ownership or maintenance, it can be extremely beneficial to obtain professional legal, and also surveyor’s advice, if you are looking to establish the position of your legal boundary and who may be responsible for maintenance or replacement of the boundary features.

We’re here for you
Porter Dodson Solicitors has a designated Property Disputes Team who can provide advice and assistance where a boundary dispute or boundary question arises. To find out more, contact Helen Williams:
helen.williams@porterdodson.co.uk or 01935 846758.

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