FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IS IT YOURS?
Sounds like a crazy question but a fairly common scenario is that the property owner isn’t sure which fence is theirs. Over the years fences have been taken down and renewed, sometimes a property owner will do both sides of the garden to get what they want. Sometimes someone has just got it wrong and it sets off a chain reaction down the street.
The boundary which is the responsibility of the owner should be marked on the deeds with ‘T’ mark. Frustratingly more often than not it isn’t.
Usually the right hand fence, right? Wrong. We’ve even heard solicitors say this. This is not the case. Without clearly marked deeds it can be a guessing game. We find that there are usually tell-tale signs, one being that the fence in question should be sitting entirely on your property, that is with the boundary running along the outside of the fence.
Older style types of fencing were usually put in facing a certain way (not always the case) so this can sometimes help. More often than not there is a consensus of opinion down the street. Asking several neighbours can help.
In some instances it is in the deeds that the boundary fence is shared responsibility.
WHICH WAY ROUND?
There are a lot of people out there who believe that a fence, particularly fences built on a frame onsite such as traditional close-board and picket fencing should be facing a certain way, with the smooth or ‘best’ side facing your neighbour. There is no legal requirement for this. It is seen as customary, or courteous, to do this but you are not obliged to by law. For external boundarys ‘smooth side out’ is the best option as there are no rails on the outside to act as a ‘hop up’ for intruders.
With the introduction of manufactured panels, which are often the same, or similar, both sides this dilemma has become irrelevant. Tecnicaly you can put the fence up any way you like as long as it sits entirely on your property. It is always worth considering your neighbours views on this before investing money, only to then cause a dispute between you and your neighbour because of their strongly held beliefs, however erroneous. It is you that has to live with them for the foreseeable.
THE BOUNDARY AND FENCE TYPES
Fences are constructed differently depending on the style. Traditional fencing is constructed on a framework with the boarding fixed to one side. This allows for the fence to be ‘flush’ to the boundary with the posts and rails on your side (see Fig 1). If this fence is turned round to have the boards facing in then the posts must still sit within the boundary line (See Fig 2).
More modern panel fencing is sited within the ‘H’ shaped post. This means that the posts are set against the boundary and the panel itself is set back slightly from the boundary line.See Fig 3 Remember that the outermost part of the fence must not be over the boundary.
In normal domestic situations 2 meters/ 6’6′ is the legal maximum height before planning permission is normally required. This is usually enough to ensure privacy. Going over this height with trellis is usually allowed but again considering your neighbours views on the subject may prevent problems later. On hilly ground and where your land is higher or lower than your neighbours it is advisable to discuss with your neighbours what would be acceptable, a 6′ high fence for you may mean 8′ to them! The base of the fence should always start on the lower ground level.
All softwood timber used is pre treated against decay, the majority being ‘Tanalised’ under pressure. These treatments are water based and will dry out, eventually fading in colour then eventually turning silver in colour as with all timber exposed to the elements. It is our recomendation that no timber should be in touch with the ground if possible. By using concrete posts and gravel boards along the base, the fence life can be increased dramaticaly. We recomend that all timber components be re-treated at least once within 4-5 years of installation using Cuprinol shed and fence protector to help preserve colour and increase lifespan, this of course can be done regularly for added protection. Cuprinol offer a comprehensive range of colours to enhance the look of your fence.
Hardwood posts are an option particularly with driveway gates as this timber resists decay considerably longer.
If your garden slopes then the type of fence should be considered carefully so you get the effect that you want. Panel type fencing will need to be stepped as the land drops away however the more traditional types of fencing can be built to slope with the ground. This can be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, depending on your point of view.
BOUNDARY DISPUTE & RESOLUTION
Sadly, boundary disputes are common, often this is more to do with the relationship between the neighbours than the position of the fence but need to be addressed just the same. Good fences make good neighbours they say and here at MGF we make it a priority that there are no issues arising from what we do when removing old and installing new fences. Most issues arising from fence replacement can be sorted out quickly and amicably by us onsite.
However, some people are naturally inclined to find an issue, particularly if there is some other areas of ‘dispute’ between neighbours.
It is worth noting that ‘The fence should sit entirely on the property of the property it belongs to’.
We believe that the best way to deal with disputes is 1. know the facts. 2. Stay calm and present your case clearly and factualy. 3 Be prepared to compromise, within reason.
When it gets ‘legal’ it gets expensive. One way to end a dispute over a boundary line is to appoint an independent surveyor on behalf of both parties, but this can still run into hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Court cases run to considerably more.