Simple trick to tell who owns which side of the fence

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Stormy weather can leave fences severely damaged or even battered beyond repair, often becoming the subject of a neighbourly dispute. It can be hard to determine who’s responsible for footing the bill without knowing who owns which side of the fence, but according to experts at Jacksons Fencing, there are a few easy ways to tell. They explained that one of the first things to look for is whether the “good” side is visible on your property.

How to tell who owns which side of the fence

They said: “Typically, you can guess who owns a fence by seeing where the rails are, with the fence typically facing away from their property so that their neighbour gets the ‘good’ side of the fence.

“This is the most secure way of facing fencing so there are no rails for anyone to use to climb into your garden.

“This is then repeated with the neighbour on the other side to ensure that each home has both a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fence side.”

While this is an easy way to make an estimated guess as to who owns which fence, Jacksons Fencing noted that it isn’t foolproof.

Check the Title Deeds

They explained that there is no law that your neighbour has to get the “good side” of the fence, so it may be the case that both sides look the same.

For this reason, it is best to check the legal documents which should state the ownership of property boundaries.

The fencing experts said: “Contrary to common belief, there is not a designated side of the fence to each property. The only way to know for certain who owns what side is to refer to the Title Plan or Land Registry.

“In this, the ‘T’ mark is used to indicate who the boundary belongs to and therefore who is responsible for its upkeep.”

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If the ‘T’ mark appears on both sides to form an ‘H’, the fence is shared.

This means that both neighbours are responsible for maintenance and is known as “a party wall”, or “party fence”.

While walls built on the boundary of two properties are covered under the Party Wall Act, ordinary garden fences are unconnected to this legislation.

In a terraced property, you may share more than one fence with your neighbours.

Check the Land Registry

In some cases, the boundary listed in the documents could be outdated and therefore inaccurate.

This usually occurs if the boundary has been altered since the deeds were drawn up, or if your neighbours have been using your land unknowingly.

If you think the boundary is incorrect, the experts recommended checking the Land Registry to find out who is responsible for the fence.

You don’t need to own the property to search this database so it is still worth looking at even if you’re renting.

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Can you ask a neighbour to repair their fence?

If you are unhappy with the state of your neighbour’s fence, it’s not always as easy asking them to change it.

The experts at Jacksons Fencing said: “Frustratingly, there is no way to make your neighbour repair their fence, even if it is rotting and making your garden look unsightly.

“You can look to hire a disputes expert but this will go down as an official dispute and will have to be declared when selling your house.

“The only way to get around this would be to install your own fence within your boundary right next to it.”

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