Many customers often contact us with regard to broken fences and walls unsure of whose responsibility it is to carry out repairs.
Knowing what fences and garden walls you are responsible for can prevent disputes and even legal wrangles.
The obvious place to start is always your deeds to your property. On modern properties there is often a plan drawn to scale which shows the boundaries. The plan registered at HM Land Registry is a scale plan. Sometimes at the Land Registry is also the plan on the original purchase deed. The plans can be obtained direct from the Land Registry (you can obtain a copy of your title deeds) or alternately you can ask your solicitor/conveyancer.
Once the plan is received you can see if there are “T”s on any of the boundaries. A “T” shown on the inside of the boundary line indicates the ownership and responsibility to maintain – be it e.g. a wall or a fence. If the “T” is matched by another “T” on the boundary so it looks like a “H”, this shows the boundary to be a party wall/fence. This means joint responsibility for the maintenance of the wall/fence.
That is the easy part because if, as is often the case, the deeds and plan do not give an indication of ownership you are then reliant on “presumptions” (and of course presumptions can be rebutted if the facts show otherwise). For example, with regard to a wall, the boundary is likely to be on the far side of the garden wall because naturally it is presumed that the person who erected the wall would build it on his/her own land with its farthest side being the boundary.
As regards fences, the presumption is any posts will be on the owner’s side. Therefore he/she is responsible for maintaining the fence.
For more information on this matter visit the Homeowners Alliance website.