Which garden fence is my responsibility?
As a garden fence company, we are asked time and time again which garden fence is my responsibility?. The answer, unfortunately, is not as clear cut as the right or left garden fence. Below we dispel some of the myths about whose responsibility the fencing is on your property and answer the question in full.
Am I responsible for the left or right garden fence?
There is no law that defines exclusively whether the garden fence to the left or right of a property is the responsibility of the homeowners. In communities across the UK there may have been many unwritten and verbal commitments to maintain and repair the boundary of one side. But there is no codified law that states left or right across the board.
Garden Fencing laws
There are only a few laws that specifically deal with fencing, or more specifically boundaries. The Highways Act 1980, section 164 (Injurious toppings) states that any fencing with barbed wire or other elements that are likely to be injurious to persons or animals using the highway should be removed. In Section 154 (Overhanging the highway) the same applies for any overhanging trees or shrubbery that could cause injury or a nuisance on footpaths or roads. In both these cases, the local highway authority can request action be taken. These laws only apply to properties that share a boundary with the highway and there the responsibility falls on the singular homeowner who has this one boundary.
The only other fencing specific laws are from the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and 1984. The first of which states that the occupier of a home has a duty of care to visitors to their home. Any part of the home they know to be dangerous or potentially dangerous should be remedied. Care should be taken to ensure anyone visiting does not harm themselves, with special attention to children who may not realise dangers as easily. The second law covers the occupier’s duty of care towards uninvited guests who may enter the property boundary. This mainly alludes o thieves or other trespassers, but it could also be children retrieving a ball or a delivery person. Any fencing that has injurious toppings should have a warning to deter/make others aware of potential dangers.
Garden fence responsibility in property deeds
So whose responsibility is a garden fence? The only way to know is through the deeds of the house. You should be able to attain this information before purchasing a property from the current owners, through their estate agent or solicitors. If you already own the property and are unsure of your boundary, then looking into your property deeds will show you your boundary. Any fencing that sits within your boundary line is your responsibility. If you are in a rented property, then the fencing would be the responsibility of the landlord. The garden fence is usually covered under house insurance and therefore is the duty of your landlord to maintain it.
Damage to the fence
Though the general wear and tear of a fence may be your responsibility, there may be cases where it is up to someone else to fix the fence. If your neighbour damages your fence, or you break theirs, then do the right thing. We would suggest it’s the person that did the damage who should ensure the boundary is fixed. It’s definitely easier to get along with your neighbours if you communicate and ensure that any problems caused are fixed if you are at fault.
Need a new fence?
If you’ve finally gone through the minefield that is your deeds and it turns out that it is your fence blowing in the wind and about to take out the shed, then it is time to get it fixed. We provide a wide array of contemporary fencing panels in all shapes, sizes and colours. Have a look through our slatted panel collection here. If you like what you see, give us a call on 0114 303 5052 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. With a 15 year guarantee against rot, it will be a long time before you start worrying about your fence again.