- Responsibility for boundary features
- Common beliefs about ownership of boundary features
- Legal boundaries and general boundaries
- Fixing boundaries more precisely
- Boundary agreements
- Can Land Registry resolve a boundary dispute between my neighbour and me?
- Further information
You or your neighbour’s title registers or title plans may give information about who owns or is responsible for boundary features such as fences, walls or hedges but generally only if this information was mentioned in the title deeds sent to us when the land was first registered - and it rarely is mentioned - or if part of the land in a registered title was sold off and provision was made for ownership or responsibility in the transfer. So it is unlikely that we are going to be able to help you in finding out who is responsible for your boundary features.
The most common marking on deed plans indicating who owns and is responsible for the maintenance and repair of a boundary feature is a 'T mark'. Such a mark normally means that the owner of the land within that boundary feature owns it and is responsible for its maintenance. But you must read the wording in the deed to make sure this is the case.
We do not often reproduce 'T' marks on a title plan. If a 'T' mark is referred to in a deed we usually add a note at the end of the register entry which mentions the deed, such as: "The 'T' mark referred to affects the northern boundary of the land in this title."
Sometimes registers refer to deeds as 'Copy filed'. If you want to get a copy of any such deed to see if it contains any information as to the ownership of and responsibility for a boundary feature, see 'How can I get copies of deeds?'
Even if a register refers to boundary features, these may have changed since the land or property was first registered. For example, new boundary features might have been built and the owners at that time might have agreed who was responsible for them.
Deeds may contain wording where one owner covenants (promises) to maintain a wall or fence but such covenants do not necessarily mean they own the wall or fence.
Regardless of any information in the title register or on the title plan, it is best to agree with your neighbour who owns a fence, wall or hedge or other feature before doing anything to it.
There is no legal foundation for the belief that boundary features on the right (or on the left) as you look at the property from the front are automatically owned by the owner of the property. Nor is it the case that the post and rails of a fence are necessarily on the owner’s side.
Every property has precise legal boundaries. These are the invisible lines separating the land owned by one person from that owned by a neighbour. They are rarely recorded on pre-registration title deeds and not shown on Ordnance Survey maps. Very often the owners do not know where they are.
When an application is made for the first registration of land, we find that the title deeds rarely identify the legal boundaries. The owner probably does not know where the legal boundaries are. Trying to find out the exact position of the legal boundaries at the time of registration can be expensive and may lead to unnecessary disputes. As a result, we usually register the land with “general boundaries”. In other words, we show the general extent of the land in the registered title – and we do so by a red line on the title plan. Therefore the title plan cannot be used to establish the precise legal boundary.
Note that, because of mapping specifications, measurements taken by scaling between features shown on the title plan may not agree with the actual distance measured between the same features on the ground.
You can fix your boundaries more precisely by a procedure known as ‘determining the boundary’, but it is quite a complex process.
You must send us:
- a plan showing where the exact line of the boundary is. You may well need to use a qualified surveyor to draw up a plan that meets our requirements.
- a completed application form DB (Word 71KB)
- the fee.
You need to make sure that the exact line of the boundary you ask for is consistent with the title deeds and, ideally, agree its position with your neighbour.
If you apply to determine your boundary without the written agreement of your neighbour, and we think you have a case, we have to write to your neighbour to give them notice of your application and give them an opportunity to object. Any dispute that arises and cannot be resolved will have to be determined by either the Land Registration division of the Property Chamber, First-tier Tribunal or a Court.
If you have reached an agreement with your neighbour about where your boundaries are, you may be able to use it as the basis of an application for the determination of exact line of the boundary. Alternatively, you can apply for it to be noted on your individual register. This will effectively record the agreement. If you want to make such an application you should send us:
- a completed Form AP1 (PDF 89KB), in panel 4 under ‘Applications in priority order’, write “To note a boundary agreement”,
- a copy of the boundary agreement
- a fixed fee under Schedule 3 Parts 1 and 4 Land Registration Fee Order (PDF 207KB)
No, we cannot. It is not our function to determine disputes between property owners.
- What are title deeds
- What is a title plan
- What is a title register
- How can I get a copy(ies) of deeds?
- Practice guide 40, Supplement 3 - Boundaries
- Practice Guide 40, Supplement 4 - Boundary agreements and determined boundaries
These guides are aimed at the legal profession rather than members of the public.
(Jan 1995 = 100)Avg. Price £165,515 Change:
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