Fence Ownership

Who’s responsibility is it to arrange and pay for the maintenance of a damaged fence?

Garden fence responsibility can often be a subject of dispute between neighbours, especially when it comes to knowing where you stand legally. Our first piece of advice would be to talk over any issues with your neighbour calmly, and resolve it between you. However, if they don’t seem interested, it’s always good to know who is legally responsible.

There is no general rule about whether you own the fence on the left-hand or right-hand side of your property. So forget any ‘rules’ you’ve heard previously that state otherwise – not everyone will own the left-hand side of their fence.

The first way to help determine which side of the fence you’re responsible for is simply by looking. Now, although this isn’t guaranteed, or by any means an official way to define your boundaries, it can certainly help give you a good idea. Here’s how.

Walls and fences are most likely to have been built on the land that belongs on the boundary’s owner with the further edge of the wall making the actual boundary.

Because of this, you can often guess who owns a fence by looking at where the frames are. The installers should have put the fence up facing away from their property so that their neighbour gets the ‘good’ side. This in practice should be repeated with each neighbour so that everyone receives one ‘good’ and one ‘bad’ side. As mentioned though, this shouldn’t be taken as a definite.

For an official and accurate answer, dig out the title deeds for your house. A copy can be found amongst your paperwork received when buying your house, or if lost, ask the solicitor who did your conveyancing. If the information isn’t listed on the plans, you’ll need to check with the Land Registry.

When looking at the plans, ownership is indicated with a “T” which will mark one side of the boundary.

If you can see a “H” (which is actually two Ts joined together) the boundary is shared by both parties.  In this case, you have a party fence, so will have to speak with your neighbour about how you want to deal with maintenance. Perhaps you decide to take it in turns, or split the costs 50/50.