https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2017/06/30/gov-uk-working-june-2017/

GOV.UK - what we’re working on: June 2017

Back-fences and an anniversary

I've been working for HM Land Registry for four years this month. My work anniversary makes me reflect on my role, and some tips that I have learned that could help homeowners. When I joined HM Land Registry I had no knowledge of land registration and a million questions to ask and in this blog I want to answer two of the big ones.

Useful tips about boundary issues

HM Land Registry cannot resolve boundary issues for you.

If you have a problem with a boundary, the simplest and most effective way to deal with it is to talk to your neighbour and try to reach an agreement before it becomes a legal dispute.

We hear lots of myths about which boundary you are responsible for, such as "You always own the left (or right) side" or "If the fence is on your side, you own it" but every property, every boundary and every neighbour is different.

Your title deeds may have information or covenants about boundaries, but often they don't and the information may become out of date if neighbours decide to agree to a different arrangement. The title plan you can buy for £3 from our Find a property service will only show you the general position of the boundaries, because the legal boundary is an invisible line.

Useful tips about updating your details

For some life events, you can easily update property records yourself, for free:

  • if a joint owner of a property has died, use form DJP;
  • if you change your registered contact address, use form COG1; and
  • if you get married and change your name, use form AP1.

Our efforts to answer frequently asked questions

Recently, we've been exploring how we might help our customers find answers to frequent questions, while reducing the number of times they need to contact us. Our forms and processes are not always the easiest to complete or follow, because land and property ownership is a complex topic, and after four years I'm still learning!

I've been involved in some recent research and workshops involving a wide range of people from our enquiry handling teams, operational areas and callers and will be helping to move this piece of work forward. We are trying to improve things for customers, so watch this space!

Another frequently asked question is about the age of properties. We don't actually record the age of a building (it is never polite to ask a lady her age don’t you know), if you want to find out more we wrote a blog about it “How old is my house?”.

4 comments

  1. Comment by Andreas posted on

    You may come across to my situation many times but please guide me. My neighbour erected a new fence which is not straight thus encroaching to my land. He also erected a room at the end of his garden (which does not require planning permission) taking the full width of his garden. This new room is next to our garage which is also at the back of our garden. Our garage is not erected to the boundary line. The new fences he erected are encroaching to my land especially next to my garage. This was done deliberately so a way is left for him to come though the alleyway at the back of our houses to his garden. I cannot do any works even at my garage as he erected the fences in such a way by taking all my free space from my garage to his new room he erected. I have tried all ways and he is not willing to move to the original boundary as he has removed the old posts. I did not take pictures to prove this. Even with a naked eye however one can see clearly that the fences are encroached in my land. He erected the last 7 posts in a gradual way.

    Reply
    • Replies to Andreas>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Andreas - whilst I appreciate the situation explained we cannot offer any advice or assistance as it is legal advice you need here if you and your neighbour cannot resolve the issues. If you are looking for wider comment then online forums such as Garden law can be useful resources as they air and discuss such matters on a regular basis. However you, your neighbour and the boundary/extension are all unique to you so it is very much legal advice you need

      Reply
  2. Comment by JILL FRANCIS posted on

    Dear Adam, we are in a row of 5 houses with a path at the back of our houses. 3 of these houses own a section each of this path. A neighbour (who does not own any of the path) is applying for planning permission to build a house on the other side of this path, the back wall of which butts right up against this path.

    In building this wall footings are going to be needed which we think will mean damage to our path. Has the neighbour the right to do this without our permission. Should we be alerting someone in the Planning Department?

    Reply
    • Replies to JILL FRANCIS>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jill - very much one to get legal advice on or to contact the planning department to confirm next steps. If you are looking for wider online advice then forums such as Garden Law can be useful resources but it is very much legal advice you need here

      Reply

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