Who owns the fence between two houses and which is yours - left or right?
Find out which side of the fence you're on ...
Fence ownership has always been a popular topic among homeowners. Some people are lucky and don’t have to share theirs with anyone, while others are waging wars with neighbors to settle the questions of “Who owns the fence?” and “Which fence belongs to my property?”.
In this article, Yes! Homebuyers will help you discover ways to figure out who owns the fence and the rules for maintaining and replacing it.
Who is the fence owner?
The most convenient way to uncover who owns the fence between two neighbour houses and the legal owner of the barrier is with a transfer or conveyance deed. To get a better understanding of conveyancing read all about the conveyancing process.
If you can’t locate it in writing, look for the T-mark, which if positioned on your side of the fence, indicates right of possession. However, if you discover a H-mark, then responsibility for the fence is split between you and your neighbour, and the answer of “Which fence is mine?” is actually… both.
There are situations in which the deed does not contain such information, which can be frustrating. Arguments over fence ownership and responsibilities are some of the most common property disputes.
No worries, another strategy to solve the case and figure out which side of the fence are you responsible for is to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat on and find the Seller’s Property Information Form.
Is my neighbour responsible for repairing the fence?
Even if the fence is falling apart as you're reading this article, there is no law that obliges your neighbour to fix it. You can hire a disputes expert to write a report but you could end up throwing money out the window because in most cases people still don’t change their mind.
According to the experts at Fantastic, a good option is to build a new wall next to the old one. It will create a boundary between the two fences, even if they are not touching. Keep in mind that if you opt for this, the maximum height that you can go for is 2 meters. You will have to acquire planning permission if you want to construct it any higher than that.
Can a fence be put up, replaced or removed without my permission?
In case of putting up a new barrier, a 30-day notice (in writing) is required from your neighbour.
If he fails to do that, you have the right to take legal action. Keep in mind that if your neighbour has informed you through a written form and you have failed to respond, the court can decide that you have to pay for half of the building work. Of course, the rule applies to both parties.
Another thing to acknowledge is that the fence can be taken down without a new one being installed. The type of material can be changed as well.
For example: If the old wall was wooden and your neighbour wants to construct a concrete one, you can demand that it has to be entirely on their side so you can put up a fence made from a material of your choosing.
Can I do any changes to my neighbours wall?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you want to sell the house fast, and you don’t have your neighbours consent, you can’t lay a finger on the fence.
If you decide to let’s say, lean a heavy piece of furniture on the wall, you risk affecting its supporting posts and panels, which can lead to major damages. You are fully responsible for covering all costs for any reparations that will be needed in case of harm.
Even if you just want to freshen up the fence with a new coat of paint or decorate it with some flowers, you still can’t do it without your neighbor's permission. It may come as a surprise, but this is considered criminal damage. Yes, you read this right, a pot of roses can send you to court!
How close can can I build to the fence?
If you follow the 4-inch rule, which states that if the boundary for the front of the property is less than 4 inches high, you can freely build without planning permission, advises Mortgage Saving Experts.
On the other hand, if your neighbour is the one planning to put a new wall and you have concerns about it, try to talk this through with them. If you can’t find a solution that suits both parties, check with the local building regulations for any loopholes. Maybe the construction plans breach some safety laws? (wink-wink)
Conclusion and final remarks
Who knew that just a simple task of painting your garden fence can involve so many laws and rules? Still, better be on the safe side with a happy neighbour, clean criminal record, and an intact bank account. No matter the condition of your fence or wall, at Yes! Homebuyers we buy any house. Contact us for more free and personalised advice.