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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10537
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I live in a terraced house in East London. The tenants

Customer Question

I live in a terraced house in East London. The tenants living in house on my right moved out sometime ago and the property is now empty, though the owner did initially have work men in, all work stopped over a year ago. The back garden right side fence that my neighbour is responsible for has been completely broken down for at least 5 years, but probably more. The earth is very fertile and I am continually cutting back, bushes, that have now grown into tress and bramble etc that grows into my space.
While the tenants lived at the property, I spoke to them repeatedly about the garden and gave a few letters for them to pass onto their landlord, which they said they did but nothing was ever done and no response from owner received. Now the property has been empty about 1.5 years and the landlord is nowhere to be seen, though according to the council, council tax seems to be being paid for the property.
I really want to sort out my garden, but while the fence is down, this seems futile. Due to the set up of my neighbours garden there is a fox sanctuary at the back of her space and the foxes roam freely between our 2 gardens, which deters my cat from sitting freely outside. At the back of their garden there is also a now HUGE evergreen fir type tree. which is totally overgrown and taking over space in my garden so that my pear tree is being pushed over. This tree really need cutting back.
They also have a rear extension that has vines growing up the sides and all over the flat roof, I have had to climb on ladders and scale the wall a few times to try and cut it back to prevent it growing into and blocking my drains.
1. Is there anything i can do to force the owner to replace the fence and do something about the tree?
2. I have beeing told that I could replace the fence myself and try to claim back the money but is this risky? What is the likelihood of the claim being successful and what kind of fees would I have to pay. I don't really have the spare cash to give away as I need to do the fencing on the left side that I am responsible for.
Any ideas would be really helpful.
Thanks Jo
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

1. Dear Jo, the bad news is that there is joint responsibility for the errection of the fence between your garden and this next door neighbour landlord who is leaving his property vacant. This is because it is a party and party fence, so liability is imposed jointly on both neighbouring landowners to fix it. So you can fix it up but you will only ever be able to get half the costs of replacement off your neighbour. The good news is that you should make a complaint to your local County Council under the 2005 High Trees REgulations to get the Council to serve a notice on your neighbour to cut back this evergreen tree and whatever other trees are on his land which are impinging adversely upon your pear tree and the light in your garden. The County Council can serve a notice on your landlord neighbour requiring him to cut back these trees and in default, the Council can come in a cut them themselves and recover the cost from your neighbour.

2. In the meantime, you can cut back all trees and branches to the midpoint line of the boundary and throw what is cut into the garden of your neighbour. Additionally, if any roots are trespassing on your property, you can dig a trench along the boundary and cut back the roots to this point. However, I regret to say there is no way you can force your neighbour to take better care of their property. You only have the ability to deal with your own property. The Council can intervene in relation to the trees. But I regret to say that if your neighbour will not take care of his property, you cannot force him to tidy up and keep his property from getting overgrown.

3. Please rate THE answer as unless you RATE the Answer, your Expert receives no part of the money you have paid the website so there is no incentive to answer any more questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks so much for your answer. I am a little surprised by your explanation about the party and party fence and needing to share the cost of replacing the fence with my neighbor.

As a terraced house we have neighbours on both sides and I was of the understanding that the each property was responsible for the fence on their left side. Hence we have already fully paid for the replacement off the fence on our left side and my neighbour to the right would therefore be responsible for their fence on the left (my right side fence).

Has this never being the case? I believe I may have received.

this advice from somebody who works in planning.

Thanks Jo

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

2. Dear Jo, If there is a rule locally that people are responsible for the fence on their left, well, this is only a matter of practice locally. It is not a rule in law. I appreciate you have carried out all this work on your fence. However, the law does not force your neighbour on the right hand side to do up the fence.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok. Thank you for your help.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

3. You are welcome. Best of luck.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

4. Please Rate the Answer as unless you Rate the Answer your Expert receives no payment for answering your Question.

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