“Shared Boundary Woes: Seeking Resolution for Collapsing Fence and Neglected Responsibility”
Q. A few years ago, I noticed that my garden fence was beginning to collapse into my neighbor’s yard. This issue arose because the shared boundary between our properties relied on a raised soil bed in both the front and back gardens. Unfortunately, I later discovered that the previous occupants of my neighbor’s property had removed the soil bed in their back garden without informing me. As time went on, the fence gradually weakened and eventually collapsed.
Since my neighbor’s house is a council property, I reached out to the council for assistance. However, they informed me that the responsibility for the collapsing fence and the encroachment into my neighbor’s garden falls on both parties involved. According to them, it was my duty to replace the raised soil bed in my neighbor’s garden and repair the fence to prevent any further damage from occurring.
Reluctantly, I paid £800 to have the fence repaired, but this proved to be a temporary fix. The fence is now once again on the verge of collapsing into my neighbor’s garden. Replacing the soil bed in their garden would cost me thousands of pounds, and there is no guarantee that the council tenants would not remove it, just as the previous tenants did.
I would greatly appreciate any advice or suggestions you may have regarding the options available to me. Despite voicing my concerns to the council, I was informally informed that they lack the funds and are unwilling to address damages caused by their previous tenants.
A. While the absence of explicit provisions in your property documents may suggest otherwise, in my opinion, it is highly probable that you possess a legal entitlement to support, particularly if both properties are considerably old and the current situation has persisted over time. It is crucial for the council to maintain the soil bed in order to prevent your garden from collapsing onto your neighbor’s property.
The fact that it was the council tenants who removed the flower bed is irrelevant. It is the council’s responsibility to reinstate the beds and ensure the necessary protection you require.
If the council fails to fulfill their obligation, although I am generally hesitant to suggest taking matters into your own hands, it would be entirely reasonable for you to arrange for the required work to be carried out on the council’s side and then request reimbursement from them for the incurred expenses.
Should they refuse to compensate you, it will be up to you to decide whether pursuing legal action against them to recover the costs would be worthwhile. Naturally, this decision will depend on the actual expenses involved in completing the necessary work.