garden fence with flowers showing which side of the fence is mine

Which Side of the Fence Is Mine? UK Boundary Laws and More

A fence in need of repair may seem like an easy job. However, are you sure that fence is yours to repair? Have you ever thought: just which side of the fence is mine? Garden boundary responsibility can cause some disruption between neighbours, especially if you’re looking to find where you stand legally. Although we’d hope your neighbours would be willing to discuss any boundary issues sensibly, the unfortunate truth is that sometimes it just isn’t the case. So, here’s what you should know about UK boundary laws and answering, once and for all, which side of the fence is mine?!  

What Are The UK Boundary Rules?

A boundary is where a specific piece of property ends and another begins. For example, the boundary line usually is where the owner erects a fence in urban areas. However, in the UK, there’s generally no record of the exact boundary between two properties and who owns the divider between these properties, such as the hedge, fence, wall or trees. The lack of specification is down to the fact that there’s no real need to have the exact boundaries of your property record anywhere. As this is the case, it can often be hard to answer, ‘which side of the fence is mine’. However, there are a few things you can do to find out.

Which Side Of The Fence Is Mine?

a garden fence

Now you’re aware of the UK’s boundary rules (or lack thereof); it’s time to start answering the question you came here to ask: which side of the fence is mine? Unfortunately, as we discussed above, the boundaries of UK properties are relatively flexible, so finding the answer to this question can be pretty tricky. However, here are five steps you can take if you’re wondering ‘which side of the fence is mine’ and want to secure that boundary.

Work It Out By Sight

We’ve established that there’s no set rule about whether you own the fence on either the left or right-hand side of your property. So, the first step to finding out where your boundary lies is simply having a look. That’s right – you may be able to determine what side of the fence you own just by looking at it.

You can work out which side of the fence is yours by looking at the walls or fences that separate your properties. This divider is usually built on the land of the boundary’s owner, with the outer edge of the wall marking the actual limit. So, you can make an educated guess as to who owns the fence by looking at the frames. Ideally, whoever installed the wall should have put it up facing away from their property.

However, naturally, answering ‘which side of the fence is mine’ this way isn’t guaranteed.

Find Your Paperwork

a garden fence on a lawn

To determine the exact answer to ‘which side of the fence is mine’, the best step to take is to dig out the title deed of your property. Usually, you’ll receive a copy of the title deed with the paperwork you received when purchasing your home. However, if you’ve lost the title deed, you should ask the solicitor you used for your conveyancing.

Once you’ve found these plans, look for a ‘T’ that should mark one side of the border. This indicates who owns the boundary – if it’s on your side of the fence, that fence is yours.

However, if your perimeter is marked with an H, or two T’s joined together, you and your neighbour share that boundary. You have a party fence wall!

In this case, you should be able to do as you please with your side of the fence, though it’s best to discuss how you want to deal with the maintenance with your neighbour.  

Search The Registry of Deeds

If you can’t find your paperwork or it doesn’t have the correct information, you can turn instead to the land registry. The HM Land Registry has records about almost all property and land sold since 1993. You can find the title register, title summary and plan through the land registry. And it’s in the title plan that you are likely to find the boundaries of your property. As we mentioned previously, there’s no legal record of exact boundaries. However, the land registry will show you the general boundaries of your property.

Strike A New Boundary Agreement

a garden picket fence

Unfortunately, sometimes, your paperwork may not be able to specify the boundary of your property. If this is the case, to solve the problem, you can strike a new boundary agreement with your neighbour. Usually, you can avoid creating a legal agreement by having a sit-down with your neighbour and discussing the boundary lines so everyone is happy. However, a boundary agreement will lay down your agreed boundary and which party is responsible for maintenance to solve any disputes.

A successful boundary agreement will include the date the contract begins and the specified boundary you have agreed on – a map is often the best course of action. Once you have created and both signed the boundary agreement, you must record it with an application to change the register.       

Find out more about boundary agreements on the Gov.UK page.

Apply For A Determined Boundary

If you can’t decide ‘which side of the fence is mine’ with your neighbour, then there is one thing you can do to secure your boundary. And that is to apply to record that boundary. As long as your property is registered, you can apply to the government to have the exact boundary between your and your neighbour’s properties recorded. To record your boundary, you’ll need a plan showing that determined limitation, evidence supporting your application and a filled-out exact line of boundary form.

However, if your neighbour disagrees with your application, it may be referred to a tribunal. So, make sure to get legal advice before applying to record your boundary. 

For more information on applying to secure your boundary, visit the Gov.UK Page here.

What To Do If Your Neighbour Owns Your Fence

neighbours talking in their gardens about which side of the fence is mine

Unfortunately, if your neighbour owns the divide between your properties, there isn’t much you can do short of buying them out. They don’t have to make any changes at your request, like adding height for privacy, and you can’t make changes without their permission. However, usually, a mature conversation will suffice.

Of course, if the wall or fence dividing your properties seems dangerous, you should inform your neighbour immediately. Then, if they don’t fix the problem, you can report the hazardous structure to your local council.

Are you looking to create privacy without affecting the boundary agreement with your neighbour? Then, take a look at our garden screening ideas!

Answering Which Side of the Fence Is Mine

Now you know how to answer one of the disrupting questions between neighbours – just which side of the fence is mine?! Determining your boundary can be tricky, but doing so will ensure you can make the most of your garden without upsetting your neighbours. So, follow these steps to lay down the law on your garden boundary and make the most of all your garden space.

Do you have any tips on securing a garden boundary? Let us know!

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