Home Truths

Fencing match

The fence that separates my garden from next door was recently damaged during a storm and needs to be repaired or even replaced. How do I find out whether the fence is on my side of the garden boundary or my neighbour's?

CH, Lincolnshire

The title deeds to your property will reveal which fences (or any boundaries) you are responsible for. Where these cannot be easily established, it is assumed that they are party boundaries, which means you and your neighbours are jointly liable for the repairs.

I suggest you contact the solicitor who acted on your behalf when you brought your property. Part of their job is to carry out searches and to make enquiries of the vendor's solicitor to discover your maintenance liabilities.

Some buildings insurance policies cover for this type of damage, so check out yours.

Colour bar

I live in a converted property within an "A" listed development of special historical interest. My neighbours say that I can only paint my property in certain colours. Is this true?

SR, Edinburgh

Very probably. The planning laws in Scotland can be very strict, particularly for an "A" listed building. You should check with your local planning authority for details of any restrictions that apply to your property and how strictly they apply.

Mortgage panic

My girlfriend and I are looking to buy our first home but don't know which mortgage package to choose. Can you help?

FE, Hereford & Worcester

Choosing the right mortgage package is often the biggest nightmare for first-time buyers. It is also the area in which a specialist mortgage adviser can be invaluable. Not all lenders offer a full advisory service and you should ask when arranging a mortgage interview about the level of service the lender can provide. Reputable lenders and mortgage brokers have signed up to the Mortgage Code - ask for a copy when you go for your first interview.

The range of options are vast. First, you will need to decide whether you wish to have a repayment mortgage or an interest-only mortgage. With a repayment mortgage you repay the capital you borrowed together with the interest over the term of the mortgage. With an interest-only mortgage your monthly payment to the lender covers just the interest and you repay the capital at the end of the term usually through an endowment policy, a pension or a PEP. The next step is to choose between fixed, capped, discounted, or variable interest rates.

Make sure your adviser explains all the options and that you understand fully the mortgage package recommended, including the fees involved, such as administration, reservation, early redemption charges and any compulsory insurances.

George Wise is managing director of NatWest UK Mortgage Services.

Send your queries on practical property issues to: Home Truths, `Independent on Sunday', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; fax 0171-293 2043; e- mail sundayproperty@independent.co.uk. Home Truths is not a substitute for professional advice. Readers are urged to take appropriate legal and tax advice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'