Who Should Pay For The Repair or Replacement Of A Shared Fence?
Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling
In a perfect world we would all live next to great neighbors that can quickly come to an agreement regarding shared spaces. Unfortunately, property disputes do arise, and one of the most common is deciding who pays for a fence shared by two properties. A building surveyor can determine the exact property boundaries to see if the fence is built further onto one property. If you are having a property dispute you will want to know about fencing agreements, the process of legally settling disputes, and situations in which one person pays for all expenses.
If a shared fence needs to be fixed, you will have to come to an agreement about who pays for the repairs. The law clearly states that neighbors jointly own a shared fence and no repairs or replacements can be made without the consent of both parties, even if one party willfully agrees to pay the full cost. When a person believes a fence needs to be repaired, they must give their neighbor a written notice that clearly states the repairs needed and the costs associated with the project. If one side does not agree that the repairs need to take place, then they can either come to an agreement with their neighbor, or take legal action.
If neighbors cannot come to an agreement, they can contact a third party community mediation service that can help facilitate the conversation. This can be extremely beneficial for neighbors who are not completely certain about shared fence laws. If the disagreement could not be settled with the help of a third party mediator, then the last resort is to present your case to your local magistrate. The judge will determine if there should be a fence, the type of fence, who is responsible for the work, and how the costs will be divided. Once a ruling has been made, both parties must abide by the court’s decision, or face civil penalties.
There are a number of situations in which one neighbor will incur the entire costs of repairs or replacement. The most common situation where one party has to pay full costs is damage due to negligence, a deliberate act, or negligence of people they invited onto their land. The fence must be repaired to a similar condition it was in before the damage. One party may willingly pay for the replacement of an old fence as long as the design is approved by their neighbor. Many people are sick of looking at their broken down fence and will gladly pay for the costs to replace it.
If you need to have work done on a shared fence, it would be best to have a conversation with your neighbor and come to an agreement. However, if your neighbor is quoting you an outrageous price for repairs, just remember that there are other avenues to settle these disputes.