Garden Fence Boundary Issue with neighbour


I have a semi detached property. I don’t live in the property.
I have tenants living in the property. So, I DO NOT visit the property often.

This issue is regarding the Garden Fence between my garden and the garden of the property which is attached to my semi.

Both my property and the other semi-detached property had garden sheds close to the party wall.

Recently, the neighbour who shares the other part of my semi detached property replaced the Garden Fence.

I noticed the first post of the new garden fence is starting from the edge of my garden shed which is close to the party wall.
My understanding is that the fence should be exactly in the middle of both of the gardens.
If they move the post 3 inches more to their side, then it will end up in the middle of both of us.

I told them you should have started the fence in the middle not my side alone.

What they told me is that

  • the old fence was starting exactly the same position (my side of the party wall/shed), so we replaced the old fence exactly where it was before.

I don’t know whether the old fence was exactly in the same place where they have the new fence.
This happened a few months ago. Tenants don’t know about the boundaries.

When I was discussing this with my friends, someone mentioned to me about Party Wall Act 1996.
According to this law, the neighbour should have given me a notice before doing the work and as they did not done so, I have the right to take them to court.

I don’t think it is easy. I is going to be expensive and if I win the dispute I may get back a few inches of land.

I am happy to forget whatever happened if this is not going to create any future problems for me.

When I say future problems, if the post or panel is damaged, in the future, will it become my responsibility to fix it becuause the first post is not starting from the middle of the party wall, it is moved more to my side of the wall?

I don’t think anything will happen in the next 5 to 10 years time as it is a new fence.
They are vey tall concrete posts and wooden panels. The height of the fence is more than a normal person.

Will it be my responsibility to keep the fence safe and secure and maintain it in the future?

Thanks for reading this.

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I thought the Party wall act applied to building work . brickwork not fences

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The friend who mentioned to me about Party Wall Act is not a legal advisor. So, he may be wrong. That means there is no proper law to support me even if I take this matter to court.

If building work is proposed within 2 metres of a neighbours boundary. then the party wall act applies. Fence disputes can be expensive. Be very careful

Thank you so much for your reply.

I am happy to forget whatever happened so far.
If I take them to court and if I win, I will probably get a few inches of land.
So, I will forget it.

My worry is in the future if the fence POSTs or panels become a safety issue for the tenants (it may not happen in the near future), will it be my responsibility to fix it, if the neighbour ignores it as the fence starts from my side of the cavity wall, not in the middle of both of us?


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take some pictures and keep a record of what has happened . The neighbour put it up therefore they are responsible for the quality and safety of the work

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I think it might be time to talk to professional legal advice to understand your rights, liabilities, etc.

I’d also get some kind of proof your neighbor put it up if possible. If the discussion about the fence was via email that’s enough.

I have taken a few photographs immediately after they removed the old fence and also my tenants sent me some photographs of the new fence.

They did not discuss anything with me by email or letter. When I wanted to discuss with them about the fence what they told me was this is our money and our fence, you have nothing to do with this.

Their main arguments are:

  1. Old fence was the boundary and all they did is replaced the old fence with the new fence they put up.

  2. When people built my garden shed, which is at the back of my property, years ago (even before I bought the property), they built it little bit beyond the cavity wall which is between our properties. That is why the old fence started exactly at the back of my garden shed.

I don’t know what else I can do to record that they put up the new fence and it is not my responsibility to look after.

The other day a friend of mine told me that by looking at the fence we can say owns the fence - the good side of the fence will be to the garden of the person who owns the fence. By looking at the photographs, I feel like the good side is to their garden. Not sure whether this is a valid argument.

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You can send them written confirmation of the conversation you had. It’s not ideal, but it helps.

If the old fence was there for years (may be more than 10 years) and if according to my land registry deed, it is NOT my responsibility to maintain then do they have the right to go ahead and replace the old fence with new fence, exactly where the old fence was?

Yes they can replace the fence if its their responsibility The "good " side of the fence is NOT an indication of whose fence it is . Its generally just easier to secure a fence from one side.

Thanks Colin3.
If the fence is NOT owned by both me and my neighbour as per the deed then, can the neighbour replace the old fence exactly in the same place, even if the old fence was a little bit INSIDE my garden?

fence replacement is usually shared cost by agreement and being a good neighbour… usually when replacing it goes where the one taken out has been . I have replaced a few for customers in my time. Somewhere in the original deeds it will say which side of the garden is the fence you are responsible for, But if an old property this may be lost in the mist of time.

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Thanks for the reply.
So, what I understand is even if the fence is not in the middle of the cavity wall (more to my side of the garden), that does not mean that I am responsible for maintaining it or I own the fence. Is it correct?

In the future, if an accident happens to a third party by the post or panel, I am wondering who will be liable for it.


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There are a couple of questions here. I think you are talking about trespass and theft of your land? Your deeds usually define who is responsible for maintaining a boundary, have you checked? Secondly, is it clear from the deeds where the precise boundary is? Is there any other evidence of where the previously accepted boundary is? Regardless of the deeds you can put up a fence on your side of the boundary, eg I did this once where the neighbour had erected a rickety low fence with chainlink along the boundary (it was his obligation to fence the boundary). However I wanted a 6ft fence for privacy and offered to help him erect it and contribute to the cost. He wasn’t interested, so I erected my own new fence a few inches within my side of the boundary, effectively giving up a bit of my garden width. It cost me a few hundred quid for the fence, but compare that with legal costs at £200 plus/hr. On another occasion I got dragged into a garden boundary dispute over some 4”. This went to court, took about 5 yrs to conclude, eventually settling by consent. The legal costs for just one party were more than the cost of the whole property, and don’t forget the losing side pays the legal costs of the winner as well as their own costs. Value of garden land being disputed approx £20? Have you got legal expenses insurance? In the meantime if either of you ever come to sell your respective property you will have to disclose the existence of a boundary dispute which is likely to materially affect both the saleability and the sale price.
It sounds like your neighbour has taken time and trouble to erect a half decent fence, I suggest first try getting your neighbour’s agreement (confirm in writing) to the boundary location and the cost and future liability for maintenance of the fence, eg he accepts the fence he erected is on your land but he gifts it to you? Be very clear what you ultimately want to achieve.


We recently found out that our garden fence does not align totally with the middle of the party wall and found out this is totally normal.

You said your neighbours claimed the new fence is in exactly the same position and that you don’t remember if this is the case or not.

If you are not totally sure then I don’t where you would get your evidence from.

In most properties the owner tends to be responsible for the fence to the left hand hand of the garden, if you were to be standing straight in front of the house. So you would not be responsible for your neighbours fence regardless of position.

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@Alan20, @Mr_T, thanks for the reply.

@Alan20, I believe as per my deed, I am not responsible for the fence.
If I am responsible then I should see a ‘T’ mark on the deed near the boundary. But, I don’t see it.

It is not clear from the deed where the boundary is. I thought the cavity wall is the boundary.

I can see Mr_T’s comment just above my reply - “We recently found out that our garden fence does not align totally with the middle of the party wall and found out this is totally normal”.
So, I believe boundaries are not always in line with the cavity wall.

I don’t have a legal expense cover. It is a rental property. I have public liability cover.
I think I should consider buying a legal expense cover as well.

I am sure the neighbour is not going to give me anything in writing. They are just ignoring me.

It looks like it is not worth fighting for a few inches of land though the new fence is inside my cavity wall boundary.

If the fence becomes unsafe in the future and can cause an accident to my tenants who live in the property then I will ask the neighbour to fix it, because it is not my fence and I don’t have the right to fix it.