The person who owns the fence between two houses will differ from property to property. There is no definitive rule for who owns which side of the fence, so unfortunately, the only real way to find out who is responsible for the fence is to obtain official documentation for the house.
If you have only recently bought the house, then you may already be in possession of these documents. But, if not, you will need to obtain a copy of the transfer, title plan, or conveyancing deed to identify the legal owner of the fence. In these documents, you will be told exactly which parts of the land surrounding your home that you own, including the fences.
However, sometimes you might not need to go to this hassle. In some cases, the fence between two houses will be labelled with a ‘T’. This ‘T’ indicates who is responsible for that fence, and who is the rightful owner.
So, if you find the ‘T’ on your side of the interior fence, this means that you are the owner of the fence. Whereas if the ‘T’ is on your neighbor’s side of the fence this means that they are the owner.
But, in some cases you will find a ‘T’ labelled on both sides of an interior fence. If this happens this means that both you and your neighbor share ownership of the fence. If you can’t find this ‘T’ on either side then you should obtain the official documents to identify the rightful owner.
What height is a fence allowed to be?
Generally speaking, any fences in your backyard are allowed to be any height up to 2 meters, or 6.5ft. However, the exact specifications of what you are allowed will change from area to area, so you should always contact your local authority before you build any fence. Just to ensure that you are sticking to the regulations for your area.
When it comes to the height of fences, this is a planning regulation, so you have to stick to the guidelines for your area. If you do not, then you could be asked to take your fence down. Even if you have only just had it put up. Depending on the area that you live in, you might also need to stick to the housing development regulations for your neighborhood unit. Especially if you live in a newly built residential area.
But, the general rule of thumb is that you should not build an exterior fence surrounding your home any higher than 2 meters in height. This height provides you and your garden with ample privacy, but does not interfere with your neighbor’s garden or the amount of sunlight that they will receive throughout the day.
So, if you are looking to build a new fence around your home, it should never exceed the height of 2 meters, unless this has been agreed with the local authority for your area.
What’s the rule for garden fencing?
The legalities surrounding garden fencing are often a little blurry, and this is mainly because the ownership of garden fencing can be quite confusing. In some areas you will be able to tell who owns the fence between two homes as it is labelled with a ‘T’. But in other areas you will have to obtain official records if you want to identify who is the rightful owner of the fence.
Once you know who owns the fence, this will impact the rights that you have to change this fence. Even though it is technically on your property. So, if your neighbor is the rightful owner of the fence, you will not be able to make any changes to it unless you have their written approval for these changes.
Technically, if you make any changes to the fence without your neighbor’s written permission then you are breaking the law due to criminal damage. This means that you could face prosecution if your neighbor’s press charges.
By changes, we mean absolutely anything that changes the appearance of that fence. This includes increasing the height, adding hanging baskets to it, and even painting it. So, even though you can see one side of the fence on your land, you have no legal right to change it unless your neighbor approves. But if your neighbor gives written permission then you are able to make the changes without the risk of criminal charges.
Can I put a trellis on top of a 6ft fence?
Just like the laws surrounding fencing are blurry, so are the laws surrounding trellis. A lot of people believe that trellis is a separate entity from fencing, and so the laws for fencing do not apply. However, this simply isn’t the case. From a legal perspective, there is no difference between trellis and fencing, so the laws for the height of fencing also apply to trellis.
In most areas, the maximum legal height that a fence can be is 2 meters. This converts to just under 6 feet 6 inches. So, technically speaking, you could legally add a trellis to a fence that already measures 6 ft. in height as long as the new height does not exceed 6 ft 6 inches. However, this small difference will not make much alteration to the height of your fence.
It is also important to remember the legalities surrounding ownership of a fence before you make any alterations to a fence between you and your neighbor’s home. If your neighbor owns the fence then you cannot add any trellis to it without their written permission. Even if the height of the fence does not exceed the legal 2 meters.
So, yes you can put a trellis on top of a 6 ft. fence, as long as the new height of the fence and trellis combined does not exceed 6 ft 6 inches (2 meters). You will also need to obtain written permission from your neighbor for this change if they are the legal owner of the fence.
Who gets the good side of the fence?
If you do not currently have a fence and are installing a new one, then it is generally accepted that you should give the good side of your fence to your neighbor. The ‘good side of the fence’ is generally accepted as the side which looks properly finished, and it is generally seen as the courteous thing to do if you give this side to your neighbor.
Not only is this the nice thing to do. But if you give the ‘good side of the fence’ to your neighbor then it will also look better from your perspective. Traditionally, the good side of the fence would face outside into the world, so if you install it the other way around then it will look like your fence has been installed backwards.
So, there is no legal reason that you should give the good side of the fence to your neighbor, but this is the way that fences have always been installed. This means that you don’t necessarily need to give your neighbor the good side of the fence. But if you do not, this could make your side of the fence look strange, and it could upset your neighbors.