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Your rights when your neighbour won’t pay his half for a new garden fence

IT is often that neighbours end up arguing about fence repairs, and some even take it to court to settle this dispute once and for all.

To avoid the hassle of having to quarrel with your neighbour, here we explain your rights on fence repairs and why your neighbour might need to split the cost with you.

If a homeowner fully owns a fence, they might need to fully cover the cost of repairs

If a homeowner fully owns a fence, they might need to fully cover the cost of repairs

My neighbour won’t pay his half for a new garden fence – what are my rights?

The issue was raised in The Times when a reader asked if they can make a neighbour pay for the cost of fence repairs.

The homeowner said she is responsible for fixing the fence, but it goes onto her neighbour’s land so she wants him to pay half.

A solicitor from Ramsdens said it is still the homeowner’s full liability if she is responsible for the boundary and fence.

Fence repairs can cost more than £900 on average, according to Checkatrade, or £1,750 for a replacement.

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That makes it important to understand who is responsible for repairs when a fence is damaged and needs replacing or fixing.

There a plenty of assumptions when it comes to who is responsible for fence repairs.

Some say a homeowner is responsible for the fence on the left side of their garden, or that you give the neighbour the good side of the fence when installing it.

But Joanne Ellis, partner in the dispute resolution team at solicitor Stephensons, said these sayings are myths and legal responsibility can vary.

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She said the first step is to check your property deeds, which you can purchase from the Land Registry website for £7.

This will show the layout and boundaries of the land you own.

It may also have a T mark that shows which fence side is yours to maintain.

Ellis said: “The deeds are the key thing to check.

“Some deeds may say what height a fence needs to be and who owns it.

“If there is nothing to go on, then you have to start looking at who put the fence up.

“There are certain assumptions such as if the material or features are the same as something else on your property.

“A property information pack may even show who owns the fence when you first move in.”

If a homeowner is responsible for a fence, she said, that would suggest they have to fund the full repair costs even if it goes onto a neighbour’s land.

However, Ellis said they may have to share costs if the neighbour had made changes to their land that impacted the fence.

She said it is best to try to resolve disputes amicably as it can be costly to use a solicitor.

Ellis said she has seen boundary disputes go to trial, which can cost £40,000 to £50,000.

To avoid that, you may be able to get your local council to solve a dispute or use a mediation service.

There may still be a fee but it will be cheaper than using a solicitor.

Ellis added: “Neighbour disputes are stressful and costly and can take years to sort out if you can’t find a resolution.

“If you can come to an agreement, then it doesn’t really matter what the legal position is.”

What is the legal height of a fence between neighbours?

The legal height of a fence is that of two metres in total.

If you want to include a trellis topper with your fence, note that this will be included in the maximum height.

By legislation, the height of your fence is made up of the actual fence and the trellis topper together.

Trellis is used to add some height to the fence and also makes a garden looks nicer.

If your fence goes over the legal height, then you will need to apply for a planning permission.

Can a neighbour paint my fence?

This depends on who owns the fence.

If you fully own the fence and it lands on your side of the property, then they cannot paint it.

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If they do, they can be fined for vandalism.

On the other hand, if the fence lands on their property line, then they can go ahead and paint it.