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You can't always sit on the fence

One of the most common disputes arising between neighbours is determining ownership of the boundary fence or wall (“fence”) which separates each property.

The law classifies two types of fence. The first type relates to a fence wholly on one side of the boundary line separating the two properties. The second type is erected on the boundary line i.e. half of the fence is on each of the neighbours land.

Ownership of the first type lies wholly with the neighbour on whose land the fence has been or will be erected on. It will be that neighbour who is responsible for the ongoing maintenance costs associated with the fence. The neighbour on whose land the fence will not be erected on or is not already erected on does not have the right to prevent the erection of the fence or to demand the fence be removed. A Court Order based on a valid legal ground would be required to prevent a fence from being erected or for the fence to be removed.

The second type of ownership is shared equally between the two neighbours with ownership being to the mid-point of the fence. The maintenance costs of this type of fence are shared equally between the two neighbours. Maintenance costs are usually dealt with in the title deeds or Land Certificate for each property.

If in doubt contact Tom Hempleman.

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