Home Uncategorized How a letter of the alphabet could save YOU a fortune: All...

How a letter of the alphabet could save YOU a fortune: All the garden planning rules you need to know to avoid a £20k fine

31
0


From fence heights to garden boundaries, planning issues are a common cause of squabbles between neighbours.

While, of course everyone wants to make their dream garden become a reality, it’s important to abide by a series of rules and regulations in the UK.

Not going about things properly can not only cause angry neighbours to come and bang on your front door but could also see you digging deep into your pockets to fork out cash fines.

MailOnline spoke with garden planning experts about what not to do and how to avoid getting into an expensive dispute with next door. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know before starting your next big outdoor project. 

From fence heights to garden boundaries, planning issues are a common cause of squabbles between neighbours (stock image)

From fence heights to garden boundaries, planning issues are a common cause of squabbles between neighbours (stock image)

How do I know which fence is mine?

Garden fences are one of the biggest causes of a row between neigbours as it can often be unclear who is responsible for which fence and who is allowed to make changes to it. 

Recent research conducted by Toolstation found that 28% of Brits have previously disagreed with their neighbour about garden fence ownership, with 36% not knowing which garden fence they are responsible for.

To dispel any myths, property experts Jonathan Rolande from House Buy Fast and Greg Richardson at Toolstation have shared a comprehensive guide to fence boundaries.

They explained: ‘The easiest way to establish if you or your neighbour is responsible for the garden fence is to check the property’s title plan or land registry. 

‘These documents can be obtained for £3.00 from gov.co.uk for England and Wales and scotlis.ros.gov.uk for Scotland.

‘When looking at the garden boundary, a ‘T’ shown on the inside of a boundary line signifies ownership of the boundary fence or wall. This means that maintenance responsibility and the full cost fall on the shoulders of the property owner on that side.

‘However, if two ‘T’ symbols are attached like an H, this means it’s of joint responsibility between both sets of neighbours on either side.’

Recent research conducted by Toolstation found that 28% of Brits have previously disagreed with their neighbour about garden fence ownership, with 36% not knowing which garden fence they are responsible for (stock image)

Recent research conducted by Toolstation found that 28% of Brits have previously disagreed with their neighbour about garden fence ownership, with 36% not knowing which garden fence they are responsible for (stock image)

Contrary to popular belief, there is no general rule about whether you own the fence on the left-hand or right-hand side of your property, despite 58% of Brits believing so.

There is also no rule against owning the fence which has the fence posts on the inside boundary, which is another myth.

If your deeds and title plan don’t reveal anything and there are no existing boundary agreements in place, you can try to establish who’s responsible for the fence by making a boundary agreement with your neighbour – this can be as simple as a conversation. 

However, the experts recommend that any agreements to boundaries between neighbours should be recorded on the Land Registry. 

They added: ‘This will outline who’s responsible for garden fence maintenance and repairs. That way if the neighbour moves away or circumstances change there is recorded proof of ownership.’

How do fence alterations and repairs work? 

The maximum height for a garden fence in the UK is two metres and if you want to build it higher, you will need to acquire planning permission before doing so – failure to get it could lead to a £20,000 fine.

If you find out that the fence you want to make a change to is owned by your neighbour, you’ll need to ask for their permission before making any changes to it.

This includes both structural and cosmetic changes such as: 

  • Raising the height 
  • Replacing a fence panel 
  • Repairing any holes 
  • Hanging items from it 
  • Painting or staining it 

However, it’s also important to note that in instances where the fence is owned by a neighbour, that neighbour is not legally obliged to fix or replace the fence – no matter how bad it looks.

The planning experts explained: ‘This is because legally a fence is not required for a property boundary, this is only a common custom. 

If you find out that the fence you want to make a change to is owned by your neighbour, you'll need to ask for their permission before making any changes to it (stock image)

If you find out that the fence you want to make a change to is owned by your neighbour, you’ll need to ask for their permission before making any changes to it (stock image)

Poll

Have YOU ever had a dispute with your neighbour?

  • Yes but it was resolved 0 votes
  • Yes it’s still going on 0 votes
  • No, never 0 votes

‘In this scenario, the best option is to erect a new fence on your own land alongside your neighbour’s old fence.’

For renters, natural forces leading to fence damage including weather events will generally fall to the landlord to cover the costs of repair or replacement. 

Therefore, if a fence is damaged following a storm, high winds, or a flood, the property’s landlord will be responsible for mending it. 

Most fence panels have what is known as a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side which refers to the smooth finished side and the side with the fence posts and support rails.

It is common practice for fence owners to erect a fence with the ‘good side’ facing outwards towards their neighbours – however, this is not a legal requirement.

The property pros added: ‘Having the fence’s ‘good side’ facing outwards not only can improve the property’s outer kerb appeal but also its security as any intruders can’t use the fence rails for support to climb over the garden fence.’

Other little-known garden laws  

On top of this, from trimming an overhanging branch to installing high hedges, thousands of Brits may be unknowingly breaking the law when maintaining their garden.

Tool station has warned that not abiding by these rules could see you land a fine of up to £20,000.  

1. Tree removal and pruning

If one neighbour wishes to remove or heavily prune a tree that the other neighbour wants to keep, disputes can arise over the impact on the view, shade, or privacy.

The good news is, if the tree is within your property boundary, it is ultimately your choice what you do with it. 

However, the experts warn that some trees may be protected by a Tree Protection Order which makes it an offence to uproot, top or destroy them.

Brits could be fined a whopping £20,000 for breaking this law, so make sure you double-check.

If one neighbour wishes to remove or heavily prune a tree that the other neighbour wants to keep, disputes can arise over the impact on the view, shade, or privacy

If one neighbour wishes to remove or heavily prune a tree that the other neighbour wants to keep, disputes can arise over the impact on the view, shade, or privacy

2. Property boundaries and hedges

Fences aren’t the only things that have height restrictions in the garden.

Hedges should also be no more than two metres high, and you could be asked by the council to take them down if a neighbour complains about the height.

For any confusion surrounding the boundaries of your property, it’s recommended to check the deeds of your property which will determine what is correct.

3. Feeding birds

While there are no specific laws in the UK that make it illegal for individuals to feed birds, the garden experts have advised that if bird feed isn’t stored properly, it can attract rats, which may be a nuisance to your neighbours.

They explain: ‘If the situation turns particularly bad and rats become a problem, you could be issued with an abatement notice asking you to stop and fix the problem. 

If you don’t stop the feeding, you could get a maximum fine of £5,000 or a Community Protection Notice – it would have to get pretty bad to get to this point, though.’

4. Garden structures and additions

Disputes can also arise over the construction of sheds, pergolas, or other garden structures if they ‘obstruct views or violate local building regulations’. 

The Toolstation pros reveal: ‘If you’re not sure, have a chat with your neighbours to let them know what you’re planning.

‘If there’s an issue, get in touch with your local council who can give you more guidance.’

5. Overhanging branches and enroaching plants

Next, overhanging branches and plants making their way onto your neighbour’s property could cause a nuisance.

The experts said: ‘When branches, vines, or roots from one neighbour’s tree or plant extend into the neighbouring property, it can lead to disagreements over potential damage to structures, blocked views, or the burden of maintenance.

‘However, when trimming overhanging branches, you can only trim up to the boundary of your property otherwise this could be seen as trespassing. 

‘You can climb into the tree to carry out the work if needed, but only on your property – make sure to stay on your side of the fence if you don’t have permission to enter your neighbours garden.’

6. Fruit trees and flowers

Even though you can get away with trimming branches that hang into your garden from neighbours trees, the plants, flowers, and fruits still belong to your neighbour. 

The company advised: ‘Taking or cutting them without permission would be against the law, and your neighbour has the right to ask for them back.

‘However, it’s unlikely your neighbour will have an issue – but you should always check first. 

‘You should also avoid tossing any trimmings into your neighbour’s garden, as this could be considered garden waste fly tipping.’

7. Trees blocking light

The next little-known rule involves the Rights of Light Act – it means any property having uninterrupted enjoyment of light for more than 20 years acquires rights to light.

In other words, if a window has been receiving natural light for 20 years or longer, neighbours are not allowed to block it with a new tree.

Toolstation said: ‘If you do plan to plant a new tree, it’s best to choose a different corner of the garden or opt for a smaller tree to avoid interfering with your neighbour’s natural light.’

8. Right to privacy 

Finally, homeowners have the right to enjoy a reasonable level of privacy in their outdoor spaces. 

This means that neighbours should not unreasonably intrude or observe activities within your garden without permission. 

The experts recommend: ‘Make sure to place sheds, outhouses, or security cameras in positions where they won’t affect your neighbours privacy. 

‘Most disputes over privacy can be resolved by having a chat with your neighbour, but your local authority may be able to help if you can’t agree.’



Source link

Previous articleWarning to homeowners after fire rips through homes in tumble dryer blaze as firefighters issue SIX rules to follow
Next articleGodzilla X Kong Pulls Off Everything That Jurassic World 3 Got So Terribly Wrong

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here