Fences and the law

WHAT IS A DIVIDING FENCE?

A dividing fence is generally constructed on the common boundary line of adjoining land. A fence is a structure, ditch or embankment, or a hedge or similar vegetation barrier, natural or artificial watercourse, enclosing any land, whether or not it extends along the whole boundary of land separating the neighbours. A retaining wall is NOT a fence.

WHO OWNS A DIVIDING FENCE?

A dividing fence is owned equally by the adjoining neighbours if it is built on the common boundary line. However, a fence or part of a fence built on one neighbour’s land is owned by that neighbour, even if the other neighbour contributed to the cost of construction of the fence.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A DIVIDING FENCE?

Generally neighbours must contribute equally to building and maintaining a dividing fence. Either neighbour should not attach things to the fence which may damage or alter it unless agreed e.g. clotheslines, car ports, shade sails.

WHY IS A RETAINING WALL NOT CONSIDERED A FENCE?

Retaining walls serve a different purpose than fences. They are engineered to support built up or excavated earth. Retaining walls are not normally a matter of joint responsibility for neighbours because a retaining wall is usually of more benefit to one neighbour. Read More Here