BISCOES: Boundaries – Everyone owns the one to the left, right?

There are a number of common misconceptions around boundary maintenance and, in truth, there is no general rule as to which boundaries a property owner is responsible to maintain.

The start point for determining boundary maintenance is the title deeds. Hopefully when the property was originally conveyed, the conveyance or transfer document clearly set out who was responsible for each boundary. However, it is not unusual for a property’s title not to contain any information about boundary ownership or responsibility for maintenance. Even if it does, the situation may have changed. For example, new boundary features might have been built and the owners at that time might have agreed who was responsible for them.

If the property’s title does contain this information, the most common marking on deed plans indicating who owns and is responsible for the maintenance and repair of a boundary feature, is a ‘T’ mark. Such a mark normally means that the owner of the property into which the ‘T’ extends owns the boundary feature and is responsible for its maintenance, but you must also read the wording in the deed to make sure this is the case.

Another source of information may be available from when you purchased the property, as the seller usually completes a Property Information Form. This form includes the seller’s understanding of the boundary maintenance position. However, these replies are less reliable than official documents as the seller’s replies may not be based on the true legal position.

In the absence of any documentary evidence, you could look into how the boundaries have been practically maintained in the area. For example, if both your neighbours believe they are responsible for the boundary to the right of their properties, it’s probably worth going along with this. In any event, regardless of the information in the property’s title, it is probably best to talk to or write to your neighbour before doing anything to a fence, wall or hedge or other feature between your properties.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Residential Property Team please contact us on 01983 533938.