In the realm of neighbourly disputes, disagreements over fences and walls often emerge as a common issue. These conflicts can be quite perplexing for homeowners due to their unique nature and the emotional tension they often generate. Fortunately, Citizens Advice provides comprehensive guidelines to help navigate these tricky situations. These guidelines are primarily meant for homeowners in England, while renters should look to their landlords to resolve such issues.
One of the primary points of contention between neighbours is the exact location of the boundary line. This information is crucial in determining whether a fence or wall is being constructed on your property, your neighbour’s property, or on shared land. Citizens Advice suggests referring to the legal documents received at the time of purchasing your property to clarify this. If these documents are missing, they can be procured from the Land Registry for a small fee. It may also be beneficial to obtain the documents for your neighbour’s property as they might offer additional insights not covered in your own.
If there is a dispute over the boundary, you can seek assistance from RICS. Ideally, your search will confirm the property ownership, allowing the owner to utilise their land within the confines of any applicable regulations.
Disputes can also arise over existing walls or fences that may require repair or replacement. If you own the structure, your legal documents might mandate its maintenance in a “good state of repair”, as per Citizens Advice. If your structure poses a safety risk, you could face action from either your council or neighbour.
However, if the wall is on a boundary line, it is likely considered a “party wall”, even if it’s an internal one. In such cases, specific steps must be taken before initiating any work. More information on this can be found on GOV.UK.
In unfortunate circumstances where discussions about new or existing fences or walls become contentious, Citizens Advice recommends maintaining open communication with your neighbour. This could involve face-to-face conversations or written correspondence. Keeping records of these exchanges and any agreements reached is advised.
Compromises, such as sharing the cost of a new fence panel, can often be beneficial. Not only does this maintain good relations with your neighbour, but it can also be more cost-effective than hiring a solicitor to settle the dispute.
If further advice is needed, you can reach out to your local Citizens Advice or seek help from a mediator through your council or GOV.UK. In extreme cases, you might consider hiring a solicitor specialising in neighbour disputes, although this can be costly.
It’s important to remember that if your issue with your neighbour’s fence is purely aesthetic, your options are limited. As Jacksons Fencing explains, “You cannot force your neighbour to repair their fence, even if it’s deteriorating and impacting the appearance of your garden.” In such situations, installing a fence within your boundary or opting for a privacy fence could be viable solutions. However, any additions must comply with applicable restrictions and ensure safety.
Lawsons states that in the UK, backyard fences should not exceed 2 metres (about 6.5 feet) in height and front yard fences should not be more than 1 metre (3.2 feet). If you plan to exceed these heights or build next to a highway, planning permission from your local council is required.
Before initiating any work on your fence or wall, it would be wise to consult with a local gate repairs service or seek out a “Colourbond fence painter near me” to ensure compliance with regulations and maintain neighbourly harmony. For those in need of additional services such as garage door painting or fence repairs near me, professional assistance can go a long way in ensuring peace of mind and quality results.