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Fences and the Law

Since fences are among the most common causes of disputes between neighbours, you should consider one more thing, the law, before looking at the types of fences available. Unfortunately, it is very complex, so if a dispute arises, try to find a compromise before involving a solicitor.

Post positions and so on are no guide to ownership. You must consult the property deeds. These are also the only guide to the property`s boundaries, which do not always coincide with the position of fences.

Unless the deeds say differently – as on some modern estates – provided a fence is not encroaching on neighbouring property and is not a nuisance, you are not obliged to maintain it. In fact, you need not have a fence at all. The need to repair or build one does not give you the right to trespass on your neighbour`s land, so you need his/her permission to enter their property.

The other source of conflict, the choice of fence, is covered by planning laws. Unless you live in a conservation area or listed building, almost anything goes. But there is a height limit. The maximum allowed without planning permission is 1M facing a public highway or at the front of your property, 2M at the rear and sides.