Outside ProblemsTaking Action

Do Me or My Neighbour Own the Boundary Fence, Hedge, or Wall?

If you want to alter, or repair, parts of boundary to your property clarity over ownership is useful.  It can be confusing which neighbour owns the boundary or whether it is jointly controlled. It is important to know where ownership lies to lessen the risk of disputes later on. If this question has come about as you want to trim a tree or bush, have a read of our article here.


Title Plans

An often touted method is to check the property’s title plans stored with the Land Registry. However, as stated on GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/your-property-boundaries), these plans don’t show exact boundaries. The boundaries shown on Title Plans are “general boundaries”.


Orientation of Fence

It is sometimes report that the orientation of fencing will indicate ownership. However, there is no basis for this, the following is an extract from The Land Registry Guidance (Practice Guide 40 Supplement 3) :

There are various notions that the way a wall or fence is constructed indicates ownership, for example that the posts and arris rails of a fence are on the owner’s side. There is, however, no legal foundation for such beliefs. Deeds may contain covenants to maintain a wall or fence but on their own, such covenants do not confer ownership. Where the ownership or responsibility for maintenance of a boundary cannot be determined, that boundary feature is generally best regarded as a party boundary. Any alterations or replacement of the boundary should only be done with the agreement of the adjoining owners.


“T” Marks

One method which can be used to show who owns a fence is through “T” marks. There are caveats to this method and you may not find them at all on your Title Plans. The following is an extract from The Land Registry Guidance (Practice Guide 40 Supplement 3) :

The register will only show information concerning the ownership and/or maintenance of boundary features when this information is specifically referred to in the deeds lodged for registration. The most common marking on deed plans that relates to boundaries are ‘T’ marks. An entry referring to a ‘T’ mark is normally a statement concerning the ownership of a boundary structure or the liability to maintain and repair it.


If the ‘T’ marks are expressly referred to in the deed lodged for registration and the text of the provision(s) is set out verbatim in the register, then we will:

  • reproduce them on the title plan and refer to them in the register, or
  • describe the boundaries affected by ‘T’ marks verbally in the register, for example “The ‘T’ mark referred to [in paragraph/clause…] affects the [north western] boundary of the land in this title”, or
  • make a note to the said register entry that a copy of the plan to the deed is filed

‘T’ marks on deed plans which are not referred to in the text of a deed have no special force or meaning in law and unless an applicant specifically requests that the ‘T’ marks be shown on the title plan, we will normally ignore them.


Next Steps

If there is a dispute it may be worth seeing this page on how to approach your neighbour. Boundary disputes can be very complex. If you are in any doubt you should seek expert legal advice.

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