19th Jun 2023 -

As the boundary between two properties, fences play a crucial role in defining ownership and providing privacy and security. However, there is much confusion among UK homeowners regarding their specific rights and obligations when it comes to fences. 

To provide clarity on this matter, we have compiled this simple guide to cover everything you need to know. From determining fence ownership to understanding the regulations governing fence installation and maintenance obligations, we’ve got you covered.

Who Owns a Fence?

Determining fence ownership can be a source of confusion for many homeowners. While there isn't a set rule that determines who owns a fence, there are ways to establish ownership. The most reliable method is to refer to the Title Plan or Land Registry, where the T mark on one side indicates ownership of the boundary. In some cases, both sides will have a T mark, indicating a shared boundary.

However, it's important to note that not all boundaries may have been specified in the paperwork, leaving room for uncertainty. In such cases, further research into the Registry of Deeds or reaching a boundary agreement with your neighbours may be necessary.

Another common assumption is that the side of the fence with the rails facing your property belongs to your neighbour. This arrangement ensures that your neighbour gets the 'good' side of the fence, providing a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. However, it's crucial to check the legal documents and not rely solely on visual cues. Some fence designs also have comparable facings on both sides.

Ultimately, understanding fence ownership requires research and communication with relevant authorities and neighbours. By taking the time to clarify ownership, you can avoid any potential disputes.

Can I Paint or Otherwise Alter a Neighbours Fence?

man painting fence

You should never make any alterations to a fence that you do not own unless you have the explicit permission of your neighbours to do so. Even if you are making seemingly innocuous changes, painting, repairing, or hanging items from your neighbour’s fence would be considered criminal damage. In many cases, your neighbours may welcome structural or aesthetic changes, but you should always get their permission beforehand.

The Requirements Your Fence Needs to Meet

The first, and perhaps most surprising thing to know is that in most cases you are under no obligation to install a fence. There are some exceptions, such as living near a railway or a field with livestock, but for most UK homes you can simply leave the border empty. However, the security and privacy benefits offered by a fence are something that most UK homeowners wish to have, and you run the risk of alienating your neighbours if you leave the border empty, which is not advisable.

Within the UK, the only rules governing the look or design of a fence tend to concern height, with most local areas requiring a back garden fence to be no higher than 2 metres. This could be different in your area and is always worth checking before you invest in fencing panels. When it comes to designs you’ll be able to choose between solid looks, models with small gaps for light like Venetian fencing, and decorative trellis or picket-type fences. 

However, maintaining cordial relationships with your neighbours is usually in your best interests, especially if looking to sell your property, so it is worth discussing with them before installing a less common design.

Do You Need to Maintain a Fence You’re Responsible For?

No, as a homeowner you are under no obligation to maintain a fence that is rotted, damaged, or otherwise unsightly. Similarly, you cannot obligate your neighbours to repair a fence that they own. One solution that some resort to is to install a newer fence within their own property boundary, to block out the sight of their neighbour's damaged one. However, this will cost you valuable garden space.

Is it Time For a New Fence?

Whether you’re looking to change the look of your existing fence, replace a damaged fence, or add extra privacy and security to your garden, we stock a wide range of fence posts, panels, and tools through our website, all of which can be delivered to you across the UK. We want to simplify the supply process for both professionals and DIYers, offering a comprehensive selection of materials and products.

  1. 2 - 3 Week Delivery

    • Durable and eco-friendly solution for fencing projects
    • Designed to withstand outdoor elements
    £24.64 £29.57

    • Extra vertical battens for added strength
    • Pressure treated for durability and dip treated to resist rot
    Price from: £28.71 £34.45

View All Fencing