Boundary Fence Rules UK: Who Owns Your Garden Fence?

Find out about boundary fence rules in the UK and what to do when you have an issue with you or your neighbour’s garden fence.

Boundary Rules And Neighbour Disputes
Boundary Fence Rules UK And Neighbour Disputes

Buying a property is one of the most stressful things that a person can go through. It is also one of the most exciting things that we do in our lifetime.

Buying a new home is such a milestone, and it doesn’t matter if this is your first, second or sixth property, that sense of a fresh start never goes away.

Sadly, it isn’t always plain sailing as time goes on, particularly in regards to neighbours or boundary walls and fences. There are lots of problems that can arise from noisy neighbours and neighbours not getting on.

However, some of the most impactful and problematic disputes occur about boundary rules. Even with areas as little as a few inches, massive legal disputes can arise.

These can be stressful and costly on both neighbours, so knowing the legal law in the UK surrounding boundaries and party walls are key for avoiding long court cases.

To help you avoid boundary disputes and potential fence issues, we’ve some useful information and handy tips you’ll want to read:

Always Check Your Mortgage Deed
Always Check Your Mortgage Deed

There’s No Law Saying You Have To Fence Your Land

Drive around your neighbourhood, and you’re likely to see walls, fences and hedges creating the boundaries for properties. So you might be surprised to know that there is no law that you have to border your property.

If you have boundaries around railway lines, mines and quarries then there are laws saying you have to add solid fencing. The same goes for livestock ownership and when there are building sites near public walkways.

However, for the majority of properties, there is no official need for fencing and boundaries in the UK.

When A Neighbour Will Not Repair Their Fence

Unsightly Fence Issues
Unsightly Fence Issues

When a neighbour refuses to repair their fence, there is nothing you can do. There is no law in the UK saying there has to be a fence and so if their wall is in disrepair, you can gently speak to them, or you could erect a wall next to their fence ensuring your fence remains on your boundary.

How High Can My Fence Be?

UK Fence & Gate Height Rules
UK Fence & Gate Height Rules

It depends on the local council rules, but in general, 2 metres fence height in the UK is standard. If you want to build a higher fence or add trellis on top of the fence you must seek planning permission.

  • Hedges have no limit on height
  • Maximum fence height is 6.6 feet (2-metres)
ENGLAND & WALES BOUNDARY LAW HANDBOOK
ENGLAND & WALES BOUNDARY LAW HANDBOOK

How High Can My Neighbours Fence Be?

They have to operate within the same local council rules that you do, so if you know that their fence is too high, you can dispute this. However, you may wish to avoid taking legal action first and instead, speak to your neighbours to try and seek a resolution.

If the neighbour has increased their fence size drastically recently, then you may be able to dispute this on the lines of privacy. Again, it is always worth speaking to your neighbour before taking legal action.

  • A removal order will be issued if a neighbour did not have prior authorization before extending their fence height

Fence Ownership Rules

Fence ownership rules can become a little complex in the UK. When the person initially sells the land and the properties on it, they break up the area and use boundaries for each plot.

This is why the official rules about who owns which fence side will be on your house deeds or land registry.

Neighbour Disputes - Law and Practises
Neighbour Disputes – Law and Practises

All the houses in a row could be responsible for properties on the left side with one being responsible for both the left and the right. All the houses in a row could be accountable for the homes on the right with one house being accountable for the house on the left.

SO, Who Owns Your Garden Fence?

Understanding Your Property Deeds!
Understanding Your Property Deeds!

The deeds could say the boundaries that you are responsible for in the form of a T on the conveyance. Or, there could be an H mark that suggests that both neighbours own the fence.

If there is nothing to suggest who owns your garden fence, then the answers could lie in the Seller’s Property Information. If that holds no answers, then understanding the general pattern of ownership in the row of houses you live in will provide a solution.

The Verbal Agreement

It is essential to tread carefully with verbal agreements with neighbours about these things, as this is where issues can arise. There could be fallouts, and a boundary dispute may arise.

Where there is no legal agreement written, they can dispute a verbal conversation, and you may end up in hot water.

Nailing Things To Your Neighbours Fence

Choosing to hang things on your neighbour’s fence like plants, or leaning things on your neighbour’s fence should not be done without their express permission.

If you damage their fence in any way, you are liable for fixing it and even painting their fence on your side counts as criminal damage.

My Neighbours Fence Is Ugly, Help?

If your neighbour’s fence is ugly, it can be a real issue when you’ve tried to make your garden look lovely. Who wants a colossal eyesore running along the entire side of the garden?

Sadly you cannot do a thing to change that fence. You can’t paint it, varnish it, attach supports to it – you cannot touch it.

What you could do is consider planting large trees or bushes that cover up the fence along that side. You could also add your wall next to it as we suggested above.

Can I Build A Fence Next To My Neighbours Fence?

If all else fails and you cannot come to an understanding with your neighbours then building your own fence parallel to your neighbours is legal.

As long as the fence is on the outside of your boundary, building another fence is a sensible solution. Many people up and down the UK are opting for their own fence on both sides.

Further Information

If you want to find out more about property boundaries, you can get advice from your local council from https://www.gov.uk/your-property-boundaries.

If you have a problematic issue then you may wish to seek professional legal advice. This is especially true if your relationship with your neighbour is tense, or if your quality of life has been dramatically affected by boundary issues.

If you’re happy with your boundaries and you want to improve your property fencing, we have lots of ideas and information on our Wezaggle blog. We’re always adding handy tips and guides so please stop by and check it out.

13 thoughts on “Boundary Fence Rules UK: Who Owns Your Garden Fence?”

  1. The boundary fence we know is our responsibility, however, it has been in situ for many many years, long before we moved into the property. We would like to replace it with new fencing. However, the current fence does not butt up to the back of our garage which we feel is where the boundary line commences and the present fence falls approx about 1 foot within the rear wall of our garage which determines as afar as we are aware the boundary line. Our deeds do not give us clarity.
    We have many issues with our neighbours not least cutting our shrubbery by hanging over the fence into our garden and attaching trellis etc; which has resulted in us having to send a solicitors letter !!!! asking them to respect our property, so friendly discussion is not an option.

    Reply
    • Hey Susan,

      It should butt up to your garage, if it’s in a straight line, it should go point to point. There is nothing your neighbour can do about building or replacing your wall. Be sure to take pictures before you take it down so your boundary is not in dispute. Also, check the title deeds for your area for boundary lines.

      Hope this helps

      Reply
      • Er, what about the foundations? They often extend outside the walls of a building therefore a building would have to be inside the actual boundary line to ensure the foundations are within the boundary line.

        Reply
        • Er, no because footings for walls are a few inches out from the brick face if done correctly! If this was an issue then footings can be flush with the brick face if needed!

          Reply
  2. In 2017 I replaced all fencing to my garden adding an extra 12inch trellis for security. I have recently been informed by local council that planning permission is need for the trellis. I have also been informed that if I take the trellis off of the fence & bring it inside my garden by a few inches & on its own posts this would be legal & not require planning permission. Are you able to assist in this matter?

    Reply
    • Hi Mr Litten,

      It sounds like you have put trellis on top of a 2m fence panel. If this is correct then you would need planning permission to add this. I have never heard about moving trellis inside your boundary line with its posts because the 2m law applies to the whole garden area!

      Hope this helps, but the only way to be within the law and still have your trellis is to move it below the 2m marks.

      Kindest

      Reply
  3. Our neighbour on the right side facing the back garden had part of her fence blow down two days ago. We own dogs, obviously we need a fence, however she is now demanding we pay to fix her fence because she doesn’t need it and can just get short stakes and a chain for the property line. But it’s still her fence on her property and she was the one who cheaped out. The bottom of the panels are rotting from not being treated and the reason it blew down was because there was no post creat for the posts. We’re not sure what we should do or whose responsibility it is as the neighbor’s on the left side insist we’re responsible for their fence as well. Both me and mum are disabled and on benefits for now the landlord is going to put chicken wire over the gap so the dogs stay in our yard. Is there a definitive answer on whose responsibility it is? I’m not trying to shirk it, I just need to know who should be paying to fix this us or her.

    Reply
    • Hey Jibril,

      If they take the fence down and put up a chain fence then they are within their rights to do so. They do not have to have a fence on the boundary. I would suggest you have a fence built within your boundary, then that fence is your property.

      Hope this helps

      Reply
  4. My neighbour has put up a camera on the back of the garden looking into ours so they can see what we are doing. We are erecting a fence and they want to check how / when we are working up there. I feel this is an invasion of our privacy
    Are they allowed to do this?.
    Where would I report this situation, as we cannot speak to them.

    Reply
  5. Hi my neighbours fence was blown by the wind the other day(the neighbour on my left side facing the garden)and now she’s demanding that we cost share the bill,yet I feel it is her fence so that should be her responsibility.

    Reply

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