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HouseWorth
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. Can neighbours lean things on my fence?
Advice about properties
04 January 2024

Can neighbours lean things on my fence?

Kimberley Taylor
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. Can neighbour lean things on my fence (UK)
  2. 2. When can your neighbour lean things on your fence?
  3. 3. Your property rights and responsibilities
  4. 4. Fences, neighbouring properties, and the law
  5. 5. Maintaining your fence
  6. 6. How to solve neighbour disputes if they're leaning things on your fence
  7. 7. Building a new fence
  8. 8. Summary: Always ask permission!

Fences are common structures in properties around the UK. They're often used to determine property boundaries, not to mention being a nice addition to your garden.

But there can sometimes be confusion around whether or not you're allowed to lean things on your neighbour's fence, especially if it's difficult to determine where the boundary lies.

When it comes to leaning things on someone else's fence, there's a clear answer: you can't. Unless the fence is so damaged it poses a safety risk, you do not have the right to lean things on your neighbours fence without their permission.

Read on to find out more!

Can neighbour lean things on my fence (UK)

In the UK, many homeowners will have a garden fence to determine the boundary between their own property and their neighbour's.

As a general rule, your neighbour doesn't have the right to lean things on your fence without your explicit permission. The same goes for hanging things.

Because your fence is officially and legally your property, your neighbour doesn't have the right to use it without your consent, and you can take legal action if they do so without your permission.

If you lean things on your neighbour's fence without permission, it could be carrying a much heavier burden than it's designed to, which can cause serious criminal damage to the fence panels and fence posts. In which case, you'd be liable for any repairs - not to mention the tension you'd cause between you and your neighbour!

There are, however, a couple of instances where your neighbour can lean things on your fence.

When can your neighbour lean things on your fence?

As we mentioned above, in most cases, your neighbour can lean things on your fence if you've given them permission to do so.

Other instances where a neighbour may have permission to use your fence is if it's in a state of disrepair and at risk of falling over. For their own safety and for the safety of your neighbour's fence, they may be able to prop up yours temporarily.

But remember - if your neighbour's fence is falling down, you're not allowed to carry out any repairs (including painting, staining, varnishing or installing new panels).

All you can do is prop up your side of the fence alongside your neighbour's fence, or use some free-standing plants and shrubs to hide any damage.

Your property rights and responsibilities

Property boundary

Your property boundary refers to the 'imaginary line' between your property and your neighbour's. You own everything within the limits of this boundary.

To find out more about property ownership, check out one of our previous blogs.

Responsibility

Whether or not you're responsible for maintaining a boundary structure (like fences and walls) are outlined in the property deeds.

If you're unsure about the legal boundary between your property and your neighbouring properties, you can find a thorough outline of property ownership (including fence ownership) on the Land Registry or on the Title Deeds of your property.

Read more about the Land Registry here.

Fences, neighbouring properties, and the law

The law can help navigate disputes between neighbours if you live in a house with shared walls, fences, trees or other structures.

The Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act 1996 helps to resolve disputes regarding shared parts of two or more properties (for example fences, walls, and garden hedges) and how to navigate property boundaries. It doesn't specify any law regarding leaning things on a neighbours fence, but it does outline how you can reach an agreement.

Read more about Party Wall Agreements here.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

This law sanctions against unauthorised use of a fence or adjoining land that could cause a public nuisance.

If you're unsure about any of your rights and responsibilities, it's always better to check your title deeds, or seek advice from a solicitor.

Maintaining your fence

To help avoid neighbours leaning things on your own fence, you should maintain it properly and make sure it's given the proper upkeep. Check for damage on a regular basis and repair any issues as soon as possible.

Keeping your fence strong and well-maintained will give your neighbour fewer reasons to lean things on it.

How to solve neighbour disputes if they're leaning things on your fence

If your neighbour is leaning things on your fence without your consent, the first thing you should always try to do is talk to them about it. This can help avoid future conflict down the line and minimise any stress.

But if they refuse to cooperate and continue leaning items against your fence, talk to your local authority to discuss your legal options.

Building a new fence

If you want to build a new fence for your garden, it's important to understand any planning permission you might need, as well as any consent you need from your neighbour if the work affects their side of the fence.

Summary: Always ask permission!

The bottom line? You must always ask for permission before leaning things on your neighbour's fence. If you lean items on other people's fences without their consent, you could face serious legal consequences and cause unwanted tension between you and your neighbours.

You can find out more about party wall agreements and property ownership on our blog.

And if you're ready to sell your home, don't forget to check out our Estate Agent Comparison Tool for a shortlist of top-performing agents in your area!

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