Resolution to trespass

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  • mystic08
    started a topic Resolution to trespass

    Resolution to trespass

    The owner of a house that backs onto a rental property of mine has replaced the fence but has taken about three feet of my garden. Immediately behind it he has straddled the correct boundary with a low brick wall topped with paving stones. It would be expensive for him to restore the fence to the correct position although he disputes he's in the wrong. I'm not too bothered about it as it's a small amount of land and would be happy if he covered the cost of transferring ownership to him. Can anyone tell me roughly how much it would cost to do this please?

  • mystic08
    replied
    Hi - it bothers me because it's on my land.

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  • mystic08
    replied
    Hi Pilman. The last photograph shows the trespassers garden and not the tenants garden. I posted it to show the front edge of the low wall he built up against the encroaching fence as the true boundary. I initially offered to let him keep the land if he paid the expenses involved in formally recording the alteration but he declined. I am concerned as any unresolved/inaccurate boundary issues could affect affect a future sale of the property.

    Law cruncher - following your advice I sent him a letter to which he did not respond. He then agreed by text to have a meeting with my husband who is a better mediator than me and then cried off. Having had enough I have twice arranged for a fencer to remove the fence but my tenant is now refusing access unless the fencer re erects the fence where it should be. I will dig out the tenancy agreement but I suspect he is in breach of his tenancy agreement in denying me access. I would happily ask him to do this but it's problematic because the trespasser has constructed the low wall on the correct boundary. The fencer was going to run fencing wire between the original concrete boundary posts and put the ball in the trespassers court so to speak as he will not want an unfenced boundary. From looking at the photos it doesn't look as if the bricks are cemented in place but the paving stones on top probably are and I don't want to be accused of criminal damage in dismantling the wall.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    I agree with Pilman that when faced with an encroachment onto your land you need to stand back and take a businesslike approach. Over on Garden Law, where encroachment comes up regularly, I have said the you need to ask not what your neighbour has gained but what you have lost. If the encroachment is minimal, for example where the fencer has not sited the new fence exactly where the old one was, you let it go.

    Once the neighbour starts to take liberties and the encroachment is signifcant* it is a different matter. The landowner whose land has been encroached on has a dilemma. If he does nothing he runs the risk the neighbour will take a further liberty and in any event why should he give up some land? What action can he take without involving disproportionate expense? If he cannot resolve the matter quickly with the neighbour a letter from a solicitor who does not overcharge may do the trick. The snag with that is if it does not do the trick and no more letters are received the neighbour will take it a sign that the encroached owner has decided not to risk any further expense. That leaves self-help. That will bring matters to a head in no uncertain terms but is always risky - see observations above.



    *In the case the land is a strip three feet wide. That may not sound significant but that is a good flower border. What homeowner would not object if he went away on holiday and came back to find the flower border at the bottom of his garden gome?

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  • pilman
    replied
    The owner of a house that backs onto a rental property of mine has replaced the fence but has taken about three feet of my garden.
    I have only just seen this thread, which started with the above quote posted on 03-02-2019. Then there was a photo posted as #7 which I assume shows how the back of the garden of the "rented" property now looks.

    After a 45 year career developing houses, as well as owning a number of tenanted properties, I have a few questions to ask mystic08.

    1.Why are you at all bothered about this fence position?
    2.Is the tenant refusing to pay rent?
    3.Has the value of the Property been reduced now that there is new fence across the back of the garden used by the tenant?

    As a professional landlord I have to say I found this entire thread a complete waste of time, although as an old retiree with plenty of time to spend on inconsequential matters I decided to present a pragmatist's thoughts on the matter.

    You should ignore something that has cost you nothing but worry, rather than anything of consequence.

    Any further action that requires you to spend money on this matter makes no commercial sense, which is all that a landlord should be concerned with.



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  • mystic08
    replied
    Many thanks Lawcruncher. This is all extremely helpful. I will send him a letter saying what you've suggested. I have been to my local police station and they have confirmed it is a civil matter and they would only attend if there was an allegation of harassment or intimidation. Hopefully if the police were to be called no officer would weigh in on a claim of criminal damage by the neighbour. I will report back.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    The rule that anything fixed to the land belongs to the land is an old one and not enshrined in any statute. See here for an explantion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quicqu...lo,_solo_cedit The thing has to have to have been fixed with the intention of it being permanent. The fence is clearly intended to be permanent. The fact that parts of the wall may not be cemented in does not mean they are not permanent, but leaves rooms for argument. Even so, you can still move them as they are on your land.

    Since the fence is yours if on your land you can do what you like with it - apart from put it on the neighbour's land without his consent as that would be trespass. There is though no reason you should not ask the neighbour if he wants the materials. In fact, given that parts are loose, I suggest it would be a good idea. It would also be a good idea to give the neighbour warning. I suggest a letter on the following lines:

    This matter has now dragged on for far too long and must now be brought to a speedy resolution. If within seven days you do not move the fence to your own land or instruct a solicitor to act for you in connection with the purchase of the relevant land on the terms discussed, we shall instruct a fencer to remove the fence. In that respect you should please note that as the fence is ours we have no obligation to ensure the fence is dismantled carefully or to offer the materials to you. Once the work has been completed we shall expect you to meet the fencer's bill.

    Such a letter does not of course require you to take any action, but hopefully it will stir the neighbour. As to offering the materials, I suggest that is left to later.

    Whilst I am confident that the legal position is as I have set out, you should be aware that self-help can lead to difficulties. In particular the police, on the whole unfamiliar with the finer points of land, can get hold of the wrong end of the stick and see a crime where there is none.

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  • mystic08
    replied
    My issue is still not resolved. My patience is running out and I'm unable to convince the trespasser we need resolution. Some weeks ago I found a fencer who is willing to take down the fence and place it on the offenders lawn. He suggested I ask the guy to remove the low wall so we can resite the fence in the correct position. He refused by text but said he would meet my husband who is a good mediator. He has put a meeting off twice and now won't respond to texts. He seems to think if he does nothing I will forget about it. I will not and and am going to arrange for the fencer to remove the fence. I'd appreciate some advice about the low wall. From the photographs I don't think the two courses of bricks are cemented in place but the paving stones on top may be. My understanding before my original post was that I can carefully remove someone's property from my land causing only minimal damage and place it on their land. I'm not sure we can remove the wall without damaging the components. However Lawcruncher has said whatever is on the land is part of the land therefore belongs to me. Could you clarify this for me Lawcruncher please if you're around ? Does that mean I can do what I want with the fence and wall? Is there some legislation regarding this I can provide the trespasser with at some point. Thank you.

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  • mystic08
    replied
    My trespasser will be receiving a letter saying more or less what Conveyancer suggested on 5 February, apart from the bit about annual acknowledgements. He can have the land if he pays for the costs involved or he can move the fence back to the boundary. Failing that I will remove the fence and wall.

    I think he's just started another stint on his oil rig so goodness knows when I will get a reply but I'll report back.

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  • mystic08
    replied
    Yes I agree. I will come back with an update when I can. Many thanks.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Originally posted by mystic08 View Post
    I would think about 20".
    That makes the practicality a bit trickier. However, you can still make the point that the wall and fence are on your land, belong to you and can be removed by you. The ideal resolution is for the neighbour to buy the land. Hopefully the possibility that all the work he has paid for could be undone will make him see sense.

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  • mystic08
    replied
    Yes KTC it's just the raised bit. A very low wall consisting of two coarses of brick topped with paving stones. Anything you see in front of that is on his land. The gravel slopes down to a small stream. The old fence was aligned with the ones either side but on the image you can see the new fence is not in alignment.

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  • KTC
    replied
    Reading this thread, I thought you were talking about the just the raised bit with the potted plants. You mean the bit from where the grass ends?

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  • mystic08
    replied
    I would think about 20". I believe the correct boundary is the front edge of the wall. IMG_5816.JPG

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    How far does the wall encroach into your land?

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