Damage to a fence – who pays for the repair or replacement?

If you have a damaged fence which separates your property from a neighbouring property, you may be wondering whether both parties are responsible for getting it fixed. The short answer is yes, but it’s not quite as straightforward as that.

The aim of this article is to give you some information that you should find useful, if you are having problems with a broken fence. It may be a simple task to agree responsibility, but it could also be more complicated than you might think.

  • Knowing where the boundary line is

Knowing where the boundary line of your property is, is very important. This is something that you should really get to know when you first move into the property. If you do not know where the boundary is, having a contour survey completed can help you find out.

Once you know where the boundary is, you can establish whether the fence that is damaged is actually on the boundary. If it lies completely within the boundaries of your property you may find yourself having to replace it. You may also face the prospect of the fence being relocated slightly.

  • What if the fence is on the boundary line?

In the majority of cases, the fence will be located on the boundary between your property and that of your neighbour. If this is the case then the cost of repairing or replacing the fence is normally split between the two parties involved. It’s a good idea to talk to your neighbour about the issue. You may even want to try and repair the fence yourselves, to save on costs.

If the two of you agree a plan of action, and the cost, then that is fine. You can proceed with the repair or replacement of the fence. However, there may be a difference of opinion as to what design or size of fence is required. If this happens, it’s important to note that the obligation to share payment only exists for a structure that is similar to the one that is currently in place. This means that if you want to build a higher, or more intricate fence, you have to pay the additional costs, if your neighbour is not willing to contribute.. Hopefully, you will not come across this type of situation.

The most important thing is to determine that the boundary line between the two properties is where you think it is. Once it’s been determined that the fence in question is actually shared, it’s then a case of agreeing the way forward with your neighbour. If the two of you already have a good relationship, this should not present any problems. You may want to do the research together, or one of you may want to take ownership of the project. You should only face potential problems if one or other of you wants to put a fence in place that is a lot different from the fence that is already there.

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