23 Mar

UK Fencing Laws Explained

One of the biggest matchups of the decade happened earlier this year in the UK. Garden fences battled Storm Eunice in what proved to be a long and arduous struggle. Some came out victorious; others fell victim to the gale. Once the smoke cleared, many homeowners were left with major repair work to tend to.

Or were they?

The fiasco led many homeowners to ask themselves important questions about their garden fence for the first time. Do I own the fence or does my neighbour? Whose job is it to repair the fence? Will I need planning permission to install a new fence?

All of these questions and more are answered in this article. We delve into the official UK laws pertaining to garden fences so that you can avoid aggravated disputes with your neighbour.

Fencing laws explained

Who owns the garden fence?

There is no universal rule for who owns the fence. When the landowner initially sells the land and the properties on it, they create boundaries for each plot. Therefore the answer to this question can vary. 

Rules about who owns which side of the fence should be found on your house deed or land registry. If you don’t find any answers here, you should turn to the seller’s Property Information Form. If you still can’t find an answer, your last resort would be to identify the general pattern of ownership in the row of houses you live in.

Do you have to fence your land?

You are only required to fence your land if:

  • You live around railway lines
  • You live around mines
  • You live around quarries
  • You own livestock

If you don’t fall into any of these categories, there is no legal requirement for you to fence off your perimeter if you don’t wish to.

What can you do if your neighbour’s fence is damaged?

If your neighbour is not legally required to have a fence around their property, then there’s very little you can do if it gets damaged. Your best course of action is to politely speak to them. If they refuse to fix the fence, you could plant some foliage in front of the fence on your boundary to cover up any unsightly or broken parts.

How high must a fence be?

Your local council will set out rules to establish how high a fence can be. If you believe your neighbour has broken these rules, you can raise a dispute. However, we’d strongly recommend talking with your neighbour about your concern before taking any legal action.

If you do seek legal action and your neighbour is found to have breached the rules pertaining to fence height, a removal order may be imposed.

Do you need planning permission to add a new fence?

In most cases, you won’t need planning permission to add a new fence to your property. However, you will need to seek planning permission if:

  • The fence is above two metres in height
  • You live in a listed property or your home borders one
  • The fence adjoins a public road AND is above one metre in height
  • The front of your property is open to public paths or highways

Whether you want to fix, build or paint a fence, you should first make sure you have legal authority. Then, get your building supplies from Hitchcock & King. We’re a supplier you can trust.

Hitchcock & King is a leading builders merchant serving London. We offer a huge range of building supplies to domestic and commercial customers. Order for same-day or next-day delivery, or collect from your local branch.

For more information or to place an order, contact our team today.