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Who is responsible for maintaining garden walls and fences?

Friday 10 Jun 2022

If you own a property and there is an adjoining wall, hedge or fence in between, it pays to know what you are responsible for as this can prevent hassle or in the worse case, legal wrangling in the future.

On all modern properties there will be a plan drawn to scale which is registered at HM Registry – this will also be on the purchase deed. If you don’t have a copy it can be found from the Land Registry.

Once you have the documents check if there are any ‘T’’s on any of the boundaries (this is referred to as a ‘T’ mark)then this shows the ownership and responsibility to maintain. If the ‘T’ is matched by another ‘T’ so that it looks like an elongated ‘H’, this shows that the boundary is a party fence/wall – this shows joint responsibility.

So, as one would expect, the owner of the property is in most cases responsible for the maintenance.

With fences, the presumption is that the posts will be on the owner’s side (the back of the fence that faces the owner’s side), however, to make the fence appear nicer from the owners side without showing the posts then the fence can be erected with the fence and the posts entirely in the owner’s garden.

You can only hang things on your neighbour’s fence paint it or use it to support your plants with their permission.

Anything you do to your neighbour’s fence without permission, including staining or applying preservatives to your side of the fence is classed as criminal damage.

If the boundary for the front of the property is less than 4 inches high then planning permission isn’t required, however, if you neighbour has decided to put up a fence they need to put this in writing giving you 30 days’ notice ahead of the work going ahead.

Unless the deeds specify that the boundary needs to be maintained, then there is no legal requirement for the owner to maintain the wall of fence or to keep the hedges tidy, however if someone is injured because of negligence then the owner could be liable.

If you would like free market advice or would like a free market appraisal with David Phillip FRICS call on 01134 676 400

A: 86, Leeds Road, Bramhope, Leeds

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