Property boundaries separate the space a home is built on and are often marked with walls, fencing, or hedging to create a clear divide. However, when these are erected away from the legal boundary, it can become a grey area for neighbours to determine who owns what, as one homeowner discovered. After catching his “nuisance neighbours'” using his front garden as a shortcut, the Reddit user was left with “no other solution” but to build a new fence within his own boundary to block it off. However, this fuelled a new dispute over re-establishing the legal partition between the two houses.
Going by the username GI_Van_Helsing on Reddit, the Scotland-based homeowner reached out for advice after several attempts to end the disagreement with his neighbours.
He explained that he and his wife had moved to the property just two years ago, but the people next door had been in their home for several years prior.
Soon after moving to the house, the Reddit user discovered a gate within a boundary fence between his front garden and his neighbour’s back garden.
The Reddit user wrote: “My neighbours had been using the gate as a shortcut for the last 10 years as an agreement between them and the last owners of our property. There is no official right of way over my lawn into their garden.”
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After catching his neighbours walking across his front garden, the homeowner politely asked them not to do it in the future.
He said: “This was met with resistance and a clear attitude of entitlement. My wife and I decided to erect our own fence on my side of the boundary line solely within our property to prevent further access through the gate into our garden.”
Despite asking for the gate to be removed before erecting the new fence, GI_Van_Helsing wrote that his neighbours “insisted” on keeping it as they had previously used it to “pop in and out of each other’s property” with the people who lived there before.
According to the Reddit user, ever since the fence was put up, the neighbours have done everything in their power to regain access to the “shortcut” route across his front garden. He revealed that their efforts included removing the gate from the boundary fence, and even painting it from “their side”.
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The frustrated homeowner explained that his solicitor sent the residents next door a letter explaining the fence was not their property and was entirely within his garden, along with a copy of the Land Registry titles.
He noted that this “had no effect” on them and that they continue to use his new fence as a boundary, placing items against it and painting it.
Left with no other solutions, the Reddit user reached out for advice after raising concerns about where the legal boundary now lies.
In the post, he asked whether his neighbours can now completely remove the old fence and claim the land right up to his new fence.
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According to Citizens Advice Scotland, a person can use a barrier that belongs to them as they wish, without their neighbour’s consent, as long as it’s safe.
The neighbour “has no rights” over the barrier – whether it be a fence, wall or hedge.
Legally, the Reddit user cannot ask the people next door to remove their old fence, just as the neighbour cannot re-establish the property boundary.
Posting in the forum, Revivedadam recommended that the author of the original post verbally establish the boundary. They wrote: “Obviously, you will remember and you could say to your neighbours and their successors that it is your land, which it is, but that takes you back to what use can you make of it anyway.”