Who owns my garden fence? Boundary rules in England & Wales
Neighbourly disputes are unfortunately all too common, especially when it comes to fences and anything that comes close to the boundary of their home. One homeowner has taken to an online forum to ask if it would be unreasonable to send a complaint to her local council about their neighbour’s recently installed bin shed, which they claim acts as a “platform for would-be-burglars to climb up onto” to access their garden.
Going by the username Passthegin99 on Mumsnet, the homeowner revealed that they were burgled at a previous house due to a similar bin shed being placed by their garden.
They added that they were not sure who the fence belonged to and that her neighbours had also installed a driveway.
The Mumsnet user said: “My house is an end terrace and next door’s front garden shares a fence with our back boundary. I don’t know who the fence belongs to.
“Next door has been a state for years but they’ve started smartening it up a bit recently and have made their front garden into a drive (ignoring the fact they don’t have a dropped kerb but never mind).
“All fine except they’ve now built a whopping great bin store up against the shared boundary which is essentially a massive, stable, platform for would-be-burglars to climb up onto and hop into our garden!
“Given my previous house is not far from this end terrace and we were burgled using exactly this route – standing on bins to get over the fence, and then obviously in through a door – I’m feeling extremely stressed about this.”
The homeowner added that their neighbours are the type to complain about everything, which only adds to their frustration that they won’t move it and say “I’m being ridiculous”.
They claimed it was technically an illegal construction unless the neighbour had planning permission.
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The user said: “Technically it’s an illegal construction unless they have planning permission (no way they do given they made a driveway without a dropped kerb) as it’s in the front garden, so I could complain to the council. Would that be unreasonable?”
The homeowner added their neighbour had done the same to them as they complained about DIY noise coming from the user’s garden and didn’t try to speak to them before writing the complaint to the council.
Passthegin99 said: “So as not to drip feed, they have form for this themselves as they previously complained to the council about DP making excessive DIY noise in the garden which upset him so much he’s barely picked up a tool since.
“If they’d just come and knocked on the door he’d have packed it in happily.”
The homeowner asked other Mumsnet users how to tackle the problem without upsetting their neighbours while easing their own anxiety.
The user wrote: “I could go and knock on their door but I can’t see them taking it down as it won’t have been cheap to build and then if I complain to the council they’ll know it was me (yes, they probably will anyway but still). What can I do so I don’t fall out with the neighbours but also so I can sleep at night?
However, it seemed the majority of people were on the neighbour’s side and said there wasn’t a lot the homeowner could do.
A user going by the name GetOffTheRoof said: “I assume you have no gate, path or other means of access to your own home? You’d be ludicrous to report on the basis of someone potentially jumping a fence.”
Another user called anotherdayanotherpathlesstravelled said: “I don’t see the problem really – a burglar would just stand on the bin itself to jump your fence if the bin store wasn’t there and the bin store looks better.”
A third named ThreeblackCats commented: “It’s a shed, not ‘an illegal construction’ they would not require planning permission for it, bearing in mind you can add an extension to your home without planning permission if it’s less than 10 percent of the footprint of your original building.
“Make sure you have good locks, decent windows, strong doors, maybe a motion sensor operated outdoor light and some security cameras.
“You could paint some anti vandal paint on your side of your fence or pop some barbed/razor wire there, even ask the local police to call around and offer advice. You can’t expect your neighbours to remove their bin shed.”
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