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Laws Regarding Neighbours Fencing

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  • 23-02-2021
Laws Regarding Neighbours Fencing

What Are the Laws Regarding Neighbours Fencing?

What are the laws regarding neighbours fencing? Find out more about the legal requirements for domestic fence installation.

What Are the Laws Regarding Neighbours Fencing?

What can I do if my neighbour won't repair their fence? 

 Although a rotting fence wall could spoil the view in your garden, if you are wondering what you could do about your neighbour refusing to repair their fencing, unfortunately, there isn't much that can help you. After all, it's your neighbour who owns the fence, and if they want to watch it fall to pieces, then it's up to them; you can't force them to spend money repairing or replacing the fence between your properties no matter how much it may bother you. 

 Neither you nor your neighbour is obligated by law to fence or wall the boundary between your properties, so you can't get any help legally. Instructing a boundary fence ownership demarcation with them and employing a disputes expert to create a report is also not a good idea. Your neighbour will most likely know that their fence or fencing requires repair, but again, there is no way for you to make them repair their garden fencing. So there would be no help here either.  

The one option that is open to you regarding your neighbour refusing to repair their fencing is to leave it alone. Allow the fence panels on the boundary between the gardens of your homes to rot away. Besides this, you can construct a garden fence yourself between yours and your neighbour's properties, or even against your neighbour's fence panels if any of it is still standing. While their fencing remains on the land on their side of the boundaries and your garden fence wall remains on the land on your side of the boundary line, then there would be no problem. As a line of no thickness, the boundary fence around the gardens of your homes would run between the two fencing panels, even if they are touching one another. So this may help if your neighbour's fencing is bothering you.     

Which side of the fence do you own? 

 People often receive advice or help regarding their garden fence ownership, stating that each home owns the one fence wall on the property's left side looking out from the home's rear. But does it help to know this? And is this fencing boundary advice accurate? 

Ultimately there is no rule concerning fencing boundaries, regardless of whether the fences are on the left-hand or right-hand side of your property's boundary fence wall. Similarly, your neighbour's home boundary responsibilities may be completely different from your own, even though you live next door to one another.  It's up to the vendor who parcels the land sold to decide which home buyers are responsible for which home boundaries. 

Therefore any new fences or fencing constructed on these boundaries are the responsibility of that buyer. That is if the vendor remembered to identify whether the left-hand or right-hand boundary fences are yours or your neighbour's responsibilities when creating the conveyance deed after the construction of the homes. These documents could help you to know which side of the fence you or your neighbour owns. Aside from left-hand or right-hand fence boundaries, your neighbour's fences may even back onto the rear of your property boundaries. In this case, it would be a good idea to see what your conveyance deed says. Again, consulting these documents could help you to know the boundary fences you are responsible for in your property. A "T" will denote where these boundary lines are around your home.

Your conveyancing company or the Land Registry will have copies of your property deeds if you do not have access to them. Supposing your property deeds do not help establish which boundaries are your responsibility and which are your neighbour's. In that case, you may find it helpful to check the Seller's Property Information Form that you received from the vendor when you bought the property. Another way to know which boundary responsibilities are yours or your neighbours' is to follow the fencing ownership pattern on your side of the street. 

Can my neighbour remove the fence between our properties? 

 Depending on whose side of the boundaries the new fence wall stands and who owns and is responsible for it, there may be different ways to help with this query. If your neighbour built the new fence wall that stands on their side of the property boundary, they are entirely within their rights to remove the fence wall. Conversely, if you constructed the new fence wall panels which stand in your garden on your side of the boundary you need to care for, they may not remove it.  

 This question may become complicated if you know whether you or your neighbour have put the fence wall on each other's side of the property boundary. In short, if you know that your neighbour has constructed the fencing on your side of the property boundary, while it may lie on your side of the boundary fence, the fact that your neighbour chose to erect a fence wall means they need to maintain the new fencing. Imagine if they were to park their car on your property. While the vehicle may be on your side of the property boundary, it's still their car. The same applies to the fences. 

Again, if you were to build a fence wall on your neighbour's side of the boundary, then the same would apply, and you would be responsible for the fence, even though it's on your neighbour's side of the boundary fence.   

What is the standard height of a fence between Neighbours? 

 Regarding the height at which any fencing is allowed to be, it's a matter you would need to check with your local council authority. These authorities could help you to know of any property regulations that affect your local area. As a rule, fencing, including trellis, will require planning permission if it exceeds 2 metres in height when measured from the ground on which it stands, not how high it is relative to the earth on your side of the boundary. 

If the fencing lies around your property's boundary line and a highway or public footpath, it must not exceed one metre in height. It's a good idea to check with your local council authority beforehand, as they could help to explain any planning permission you might need before constructing any new fencing.  Likewise, your neighbour could need to apply for planning permission if they are thinking of erecting any fencing that falls within the criteria mentioned above.

If your neighbour's fence wall meets the standards required by your local council authority, then they may construct it when they wish; again, there is nothing to help you dispute this. However, if you know your neighbour plans to reduce the height of their fence from, say, 2 metres down to 1, then you may have some privacy problems as they may easily be able to see over the fencing and into your garden. 

Do I have to tell my neighbour I'm putting up a fence? 

 You do not need to tell your neighbour if you are putting up a fence; you do not even need to do this when applying for planning permission. As long as the fencing remains on your side of the property boundary and you have the relevant planning permission, then you are free to construct it. 

As mentioned before, if the fence you wish to build is larger than 2 metres in height, then you will need to apply for planning permission before you erect it.  It's a matter of courtesy that you should mention the construction of any new fencing to your neighbour. Doing this will help make them aware that you want to construct new fencing around the boundary between your homes and give them an occasion to voice any concerns or problems they may have about new fencing on your properties' boundary line. 

Again, mentioning your new fencing to your neighbours, whether it would require planning permission or not, would help resolve any disputes that may arise in the future.   

Who is responsible for the fence at the bottom of my garden? 

 One way to discover this, along with any fencing within your property's boundaries that you must care for, is in the conveyance deed completed after constructing the house with the other fences on your property. If you are unsure of who is responsible for the fence wall at the bottom of your garden, then you may wish to consult this deed again. You may contact the Land Registry or your local council if you do not have a copy of the document in your possession. 

Can I remove my neighbour's fence? 

 If your neighbour's fence stands on the land on their side of the boundary line between your gardens, then you may not remove it. Their property is standing on their side of the home boundary; therefore, they do not need to do anything they do not want.   

 In some situations, if their fence panels are in disrepair, they may not have the skills or resources available to mend or replace the fence or wall. If their fencing is an eyesore for you, one way to solve this may offer to help repair or replace the fencing on behalf of your neighbour. But again, the fence wall belongs to your neighbour, and if they want to leave it alone, then you must do the same. 

My neighbour's fence is leaning on my property. 

 Your neighbour is the one person responsible for their fencing. If their fence is leaning into your property around the boundary line between your home's gardens, then raise the issue with your neighbour and ask them to remove or repair the fencing.  

 You may put new fencing alongside your neighbours if you are worried that their fencing may become a hazard. But remember, you are the one responsible when you erect a fence wall on your side of the boundary of your home's garden. 

By law, which side of the fence is mine? 

 If your neighbour is the one who has constructed the fencing and it lies within the boundaries of their property, then it's their fence. In this situation, you cannot alter, remove, or even paint the fence wall if it belongs to your neighbour. 

Likewise, if you have constructed the fence on the boundary between the property of your homes, then it's your fence, and there is no need to change your fencing if your neighbours ask. 

My neighbour damaged my fence. 

If your neighbour damages your fence, then the best way to raise the issue with them. Ask your neighbour if they are willing to pay to have the fence wall repaired; or if they want to mend it themselves.  If this does not get you anywhere, you may sue your neighbour for criminal damage in a small claims court. 

Legal action is not a good idea and could severely harm your relationship with your neighbour. It's best to be pragmatic and civil and avoid relying on the law; first, try to resolve the dispute over your damaged fence verbally between the two of you and see what your neighbour says. 

If you are considering garden fencing for your property within the Suffolk area, get in touch to ask about our fencing services. Find out more about our domestic fencing supplies.