Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

From Hadrian’s Wall to the Great Wall of China, thousands of years before Robert Frost’s prophetic words, neighbours have struggled with the age-old problem of constructing fences.

Just where to put it, is answered by the Romans and the Chinese. You place it along the boundary on your side of the property line. This way, you own it, and whether you are fencing other people out or your people in, this location makes the most sense.

You have the legal right to construct a fence right on the property line, but if you do, you run the risk that it will be jointly owned with the neighbour. If the neighbour is going to own it, then the neighbour should pay for it. The Line Fences Act provides something of a solution. It is an Ontario statute that covers the erection of fences along boundary lines. Both property owners have the right to erect a fence entirely on their own property and both property owners have the right to construct a fence along the boundary line. One owner may wish one kind of fence and the other owner may want a different kind or no fence at all.

The Act provides a mechanism to resolve disputes. The solution will be resolved usually as follows:

1) one party will be given authority to construct the fence,

2) the fence will be located along the boundary of the two properties,

3) the fence will be jointly owned,

4) each owner will have to pay a certain percentage of the cost (not
necessarily 50%), and

5) both owners will have to share in the maintenance.

So, let’s assume that you wish to have a 6 foot wood fence basically to protect your privacy and to keep your neighbour’s dog out of your backyard. The neighbour agrees to a fence, but just wishes to have a 3 foot chain link fence. What do you do? The fence viewers appointed under the Act are likely to conclude that your neighbour need only contribute one half the cost of the cheaper fence. If you go along with this, your neighbour will pay about one fifth of the cost and own one half of the fence.

In this case, it makes much more sense to follow Hadrian’s plan. Pay the entire cost, construct it yourself, own it and maintain it. In order to preserve your rights, the fence needs to be on your own property.

The next step is to determine the potential legal issues associated with the construction of the fence. Are you taking down an existing fence? Do you own that fence? What system of title registration governs your property? This is very, very important and the legal consequences can be different depending upon which system applies.

In Ontario, there are two systems: the Land Titles system and the Registry system. Under the newer Land Titles system, if a fence is incorrectly placed over your property line by your neighbour, you are legally entitled to have the neighbour remove the fence. This is not so with the Registry system. Rights can be acquired after long-term usage.

If for example, the neighbour’s fence is placed one foot over the property line, and you do nothing to object or grant permission, then after a period of 10 years you will no longer have the legal right to have it moved and the neighbour has the right to obtain a Court Order confirming his ownership of that one foot strip of property. It is therefore extremely important to know which system applies.

Another issue that we’ll have consider are the zoning and building by-laws.

Basically, in most municipalities a homeowner is entitled to construct a fence enclosing the rear yard provided the fence does not exceed 6’6″ in height or in the front yard provided it does not exceed 3’3” in height (in some municipalities, the maximum height is lower).

The height is measured from the ground to the highest point of the fence. This includes all decorative trim. In some cases, this maximum height may be exceeded as in the case of a noise attenuation barrier or in the case of a school or park provided the fence is chain link. However, the rules related to measurement may be different from one municipality to the next.

There are also site triangles to consider. If you have a corner lot, you must not construct a fence that would interfere with the visibility of traffic. In this case, you have to stay back from the corner by 20 feet. There is an additional concern with corner lots and the definition of “front yard”. Certain property boundaries may be the front yard for one owner but the rear yard for the adjacent owner. So, can you build a 6’6″ fence? The answer is yes if it’s your rear yard and no if it’s your front yard. The result is that along one boundary line, one owner could build a 3’3″ fence while the other could go to 6’6″. If you wish to have a fence of this height you may have to approach the other homeowner for permission.

Generally, the by-law does not concern itself with the materials you use. It is very important to contact the municipality to confirm the precise rules outlined in its by-law.

There are some further issues to consider in the form of registered restrictions or covenants registered against the title to your property. Often they will be registered by the developer and continue in force for 20 years and in some cases up to 40 years. These rules are specific to your subdivision and generally they deal with the nature, type, materials and the aesthetic appearance of the fence. These rules can be enforced through the Courts by the developer, the builder or any of the other homeowners.

In some neighbourhoods, only wood fences are allowed to ensure privacy, in others only chain link or other open fencing is allowed so as not to restrict visibility. These are the rules that are often overlooked by the homeowner at the time of fence construction. You may not worry about it, your neighbour may not worry about it and the purchaser of your property may prefer it; however, the mortgage company financing the purchase may require that it be demolished. The new purchaser will want to be compensated for the cost of construction of a new fence that is in compliance with the covenants. In this case, do your homework ahead of time.

Certainly, the best place to locate a fence is on your own side of the property line. For disputes with neighbours, you may need to resort to the Fence Viewers under the Line Fences Act. They will be appointed by the Clerk of the City (or municipality), if required.

The next step to consider is the materials you wish to use and any design or height restrictions imposed by the City under the zoning and building bylaws or the property developer by restrictive covenants.

However, now you come to the hard part. Just where is your property line? And, don’t forget about the underground services, water, hydro, sewers, gas lines, telephone lines and cable TV. If you call them, they will pleased to attend at your premises and mark out the approximate location with spray paint. Since this will last only 10 to 14 days, you should be ready to build.

Let’s assume you wish to construct a 6 foot wood fence. The standard posts are 4 inches by 4 inches and your boundary line is thinner than the narrowest thread. If you build it on the property line, it will encroach over your neighbour’s property by 2 inches. If you are both building the fence, then this is fine, but if it’s your project, move it back just inside the line.

How do you find out the exact location? The answer is: you don’t. You will have to call a surveyor to do this. The next best solution is to see if one of the utility companies can show you where it is, and mark the location for you.

The homemade solution is to obtain some markers from the survey of your property and the adjoining property. The corners of both buildings measured from the foundation should be shown as setbacks from the property line. This will provide you with four starting points. Take four strings and locate them at each of these corners. The strings should be long enough to make reach across the boundary line. Once you have four strings all ready to rotate, you will need to measure the setback distance as shown on the survey and mark that distance on the string with some tape. Now, you will be able to line up all four pieces of tape into a straight line. It’s not a very good arrangement, but it works reasonably well over distances of less than 100 feet. Be cautious, because you may be out less than an inch at one end and find that you are out over six inches at the other.

The best advice here, is call a surveyor! Even better, if you are in a new area, organize a fence building weekend with your neighbours and share the cost of a surveyor. Local fence companies will be happy to dig the holes and place the posts, making fence building an enjoyable community activity for your neighbourhood.

And, please remember “good fences make good neighbours”.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

Comments 173

  1. The fence builder claims that the only one house gets the good side and my house will get the unfinished side on both sides of the fence. He claimed that’s how he has built fences for 42 years. Is this true

    1. Post

      No, just use a design with two good sides. There are plenty of them. There’s simply an example of someone doing it incorrectly for 42 years in a row!

  2. Hello , I have an issue with a problem neighbour and want to build a fence on my property and have a survey that marks my property line , I had a contractor here to give me a price and my neighbour came out and told the contractor if he steps on his property while building the fence he will call the police and have him charged with trespassing , we may need to go on the property to build the fence , can he obstruct us from building my fence if we need to go onto the other side of the fence to nail in boards , please help !!!

    1. Section 11(4) of the Line Fences Act of Ontario provides that the property owner, or someone acting on the property owner’s behalf may enter the adjoining property to the extent necessary to do and complete the fencing work.

  3. What if we constructed a replacement rear fence using the original footings only to find out that the footings encroached on city property by 3 feet?
    The original footings were established by my next door neighbour. Logic would tell me that because all the houses along the street have rear fences many could be encroaching on city property. Our house was built in 1967.

    1. Post
      1. Post

        If you would like to discuss yoiur own situation then please contact me directly. There are far too many variables to provide n meaningful answer here.


  4. I bought a house 16 years ago. There was a fence in my backyard. Some years later my neighbour asked me to tear down the fence and move it over onto my property. The fence wasn’t put up perfectly straight. It does deviate at the most an inch in some places. It was built while my neighbour lived next door before we moved in. Do we have the comply with my neighbours wishes? This will cost thousands. What do we do?

    1. Depends where you live but if it’s been over 10 years in Ontario you don’t have to do what your neighbor wants. They would have had to deal with it within the 1st 10 years.

      1. If you are in ontario, it depends on how your property is registered. The Registry system or the Land Titles Act. Not sure which one but I think it is the older on , the Registry. Under that system if encroachment has lasted10 years it becomes the standard but not the case under the Title system.

  5. We have an existing fence that is over 20 years old and needs repair/improvement. My neighbour is a very hostile person and we’d like to repair the fence ourselves (we do not wish to ask her for money). I believe the fence runs along the property line – are we allowed to make alterations to the fence?

    1. Post
  6. My neighbor had built her fence centered on the property line. The first post up against our shared wall sits about 3″ on my property. It was existing when I moved here. Now she wants to replace or repair it. I do not want to share a fence, I’d rather build my own entirely on my side of the property line, and that’s what I told her in writing. She’s going ahead with her plans, what can I do?

    1. Post
      1. But she did…. They did. My lawyer wrote a letter saying please respect the property line and keep posts and fence off my property. They did it anyway. And sawed thru my tree roots when cautioned to not damage landscaping.

        Now my lawyer says I should live with it cuz no judge will want to deal with dispute.

        1. Post

          It certainly doesn’t look like you are getting any help from your lawyer.

          You need someone who does litigation. This is very disappointing!

  7. I live in scarborough. My neighbour and I share a standard 3 foot chain link fence. She is the niece of the homeowner. The home is owned by the aunt that now lives in a retirement home. This niece will eventually inherit the home after her aunt passes away. This niece has bought two massive dogs that easily put two legs on the top fence and reach over onto my side. I cannot walk on the side of my property without the dogs rushing and scaring me as they can easily . We really need to have a 6 foot wooden fence to block the dogs and allow me to feel less threatened. To make things more interesting, this niece has also bought 4 parrots and have them in a room which is located by the side bedroom window. She often keeps the window open and these birds collectively scream like its Jurassic Park. Ideally, I would like for her to pay 50% for a wooden fence and to also have her put up some sort of noise reduction barrier near the window. The neighbour two houses over also wants the niece to pay for 50% of a fence for the same reason. Can I get her to pay for half of the fence? Can she stop a fence from being constructed?

    1. 50% of a basic fence, which is chain link, is the only required $ by either party to pay for…if you want a wood fence you’ll be out of pocket the full cost, as you both already have an existing chair link-basic- fence , but worth it to my for fear of those dogs@

      1. Post
  8. I have a 19 year old shared boundary line fence that is dilapidated and falling over. Can I remove the boards on my side of the fence? Are they my boards if they are clearly on my proper? Do I need my neighbour’s consent to remove them even though they are on my property? I have the iron bar to prove it?

  9. Our fence that is over 20 years old is falling apart and an eyesore. We approached our neighbour to have it replaced. He said he would not pay for work that he could do himself. We have seen his shoddy work when he repaired a portion of the fence years ago. We don’t want him repeating this with the whole fence. It is on the property line. We are original owners of our home, but they are not. The original fence was erected with the first owners. If we get a contractor to replace the fence, is he obligated to pay for half. Can we do this without his consent?

    1. Post
        1. Post
  10. I just had my back neighbor take down our nice wood fence without discussing it with me and then he replaced it with a plastic fence. I found out from our previous owners that they had put up the fence, so it was technically my fence. (I’m not totally sure if this fence is on the property line or on my side of the property line.
    Should I just let it go because at least there is a fence there? Not sure what my next course of action should be.

  11. I have a newly constructed fence that the previous owner erected and my neighbour finished about 30ft length at 4ft height not the 6ft height the previous owner.m of my property erected. The fence itself is solely on my property, however the footings do extend onto the neighbours property. Is this still shared ownership or am I the sole owner of the fence? Id like to change the style and height of the fence (at my expense) and neighbour is in disagreement.

  12. My neighbour is building a new gate into their backyard. Can their new post for the gate be placed on the property line of adjoining properties in Ontario? Thank you.

  13. i have a fence thats not straight part on the property line part on my neighbour’s apparently one foot i bought the property with the fence about thirty years ago my neighbour about fifteen we need a new fence which we both agree to share the cost now she wants to reclaim the foot of her property i have a garden and plants in that area. How do i deal with this. Please.

  14. I am living in a new town house. and i am the owner, my neighbors around want to build fence. they told will starting on Sept and finish in Mid-October.

    we not in a very good finical situation. we have no money to spend for 3000 to building a fence. i want to know that if we reject to build the fence. will they able to claim me by court or anything?

    anyway we will move out next year , and i told them they all knowledge my reason. i try to push them to build that in next year after i sold my house then they can arrange to the next owner. but they really want to do it today….

    what can I do to avoid them to build the fence this year?

  15. I am living in a new built area, my left side neighbor and I agree to put up fence, but the neighbor on my back doesn’t want to put up fence even never mention about sharing fee. If I wanted to put up the fence inside of the line, are there any limits like how close to the line can it be

    1. Post

      Be set back, just enough so that the entire fence including the posts, and the cement foundations for the posts are all on your property. The “fencing” can then be on the inside, the middle or on the outside without encroaching over the property line.

  16. We have a fence on the property line. The fence blew down in the last wind storm, May 23. So today I get home from work, look in the backyard, and the fence is gone and there is no temporary fence. We both have pools and dogs, he has a German Shepherd and we have a Rottweiler. I think the fence company is very irresponsible for doing this. I put up a orange plastic fence to keep the dogs in each other’s yard, as the dont get along with each other. Should the fence company have put up a temporary fence, and what legalities would there be if something happened,

    1. Post

      MOst fence companies will erect a temporary fence while the work is being undertaken. in the meantime, there are, of course, significant liability risks.

  17. Unbeknownst to us, our Fence company erected our fence 6 inches on the neighbour’s property. We split the cost with the neighbour and shared in the fence cost. We did not know that it was not installed on the property line and assumed the fence company installed it properly. Now the neighbour want us to move the fence or “buy the land from them.” What am I obligated to do?

    1. Post
      1. Thanks for your reply, Brian. Whose responsibility is moving the fence if it is owned jointly? It was installed jointly so we each own it.

        1. Post

          It’s a joint decision to move it and a joint financial responsibility.

          However, if the fence company placed it incorrectly, then they should bear the expense.

          1. Really appreciate your response.

            The neighbour seems to think that I should buy the land from him but the Town says we cannot sever land.

            The Town Bylaw says that this is a Civil issue and they won’t intervene.

            So I’m thinking that I can be a good neighbour and move the fence at a shared cost but that they can’t really come after me for something that I didn’t even do.

  18. Hi,

    I have a question about fencing please.

    I want to have a fence installed between my house and a very nosey neighbour beside me. I wish to have it entirely on my property only, but was wonder how closely can I build it to the property line and still retain complete ownership of the fence. The neighbour will likely object as he has taken to staring in my side windows (as I have witnessed in my security camera videos) so I wish to have this built in a manner that cannot be contested.

    Thank you.

    1. Post

      You need to have it entirely on your side of the boundary line. So, get a survey. Now, you will know where the line is that you can’t cross.

      So, stay back inside that line with every part of the fence, including the posts and including the foundation cement that is holding the posts in place.

      1. Where can we find codes pertaining to this issue? From St. Catharines, ON and city says there’s nothing they can do about my neighbour having built their fence on my property … this doesn’t make sense. What’s the point of property lines then???

        1. Post
  19. We recently bought a semi in Toronto and had a legal survey done. The backyard fence separating the yards is entirely on our property. It is in bad shape and we want to tear it down and replace it with a new fence (our expense) but move the new fence closer to the property boundary (around 2″ from the boundary, but still 100% on our property). The neighbor disagrees and wants the fence at the original spot (around 1 foot on my side of the legal boundary). Do we have to agree to the fence location if is 100% on our property as per the legal survey?

    1. Post

      The issue is whether or not there is a claim for “adverse possession” of that disputed property.

      If your property was always in Land Titles, then there is no claim whatsoever in respect to adverse possession.

      If you wish you can send me the Legal Description to your property, privately, at [email protected].

  20. The corner house next door was demolished and our back yard chain link fence between our properties was removed by the builder/owner. We have a letter from our neighbor’s stating that they would replace any damaged property from the construction. The fence was built, shoddy side on our side, plus I noticed that they built a gate between the houses without our permission. This gate is attached to a fence post – we were explicit that we did not want a gate. When I brought this to their attention, they said that they had the right to install the gate because it was on their property. I decided to check my survey and discovered that the new wood fence is situated on my property and not on the property line. And the gate is attached to the post on my property. Can I have them remove the gate and not allow anything to be attached to the fence? Originally the discussion was a shared fence, with shared responsibilities.

    1. Post

      The corner house next door was demolished and our back yard chain link fence between our properties was removed by the builder/owner. We have a letter from our neighbor’s stating that they would replace any damaged property from the construction.

      The Owner/builder should honour their obligations as set out in that letter.

      The fence was built, shoddy side on our side,

      There’s really not too much you can do about that. Some fences have a good side and a bad side, while others are the same. Was that matter covered in the letter?

      plus I noticed that they built a gate between the houses without our permission.

      Depending upon the boundary line, they may not require your permission.

      This gate is attached to a fence post – we were explicit that we did not want a gate.

      Was this issue reduced to writing? It would be helpful, if it was.

      When I brought this to their attention, they said that they had the right to install the gate because it was on their property.

      From a limited perspective, that might be true, but does the gate when it swings open enter onto your property?

      I decided to check my survey and discovered that the new wood fence is situated on my property and not on the property line.

      This presents a little bit of a problem since the old fence is shown upon the survey and the new fence is not. Going forward, the exact boundary line between the two properties could be in dispute. You may require a new survey.

      And the gate is attached to the post on my property.

      Assuming the post is on your property, and that post is owned solely by you, and you alone and was not a post jointly owned with the previous owner, then, you can require its removal.

      Can I have them remove the gate and not allow anything to be attached to the fence?

      Subject to the possible interest of the prior owners in title, mentioned above, you can require the removal.

      Originally the discussion was a shared fence, with shared responsibilities.

      Was that set out in the letter?
      It sounds like you might be at the point where you need to retain a lawyer to assist you with this.

      1. Thank you Brian. The chain link fence that was removed by the builder (due to construction) we installed about 25 years ago and made sure it was on our property by 2 inches. The builder replaced the old fence and the new fence was installed on the same fence line. I can see the old posts in the ground. I had our survey checked and confirmed that the new fence is on our property. I think the builder made an error in judgement and assumed the fence was on the property line. Therefore I will remove the gate since it is attached to my property, just outside of the bedroom windows, did not seek permission to attach it and ignored our initial request of no gate.

        1. Post
          1. Hi Brian

            Per our survey report, the chain link fence is on common property line however neighbor does not agree to same and does not share her survey report. Due to landscaping work performed by us, some of the rocks moved and now touching the chain link fence. The neighbor has filed a suit in small claims for structural damage of the fence due to rocks and debris. Can we remove rocks and debris from our side of the property which are touching chain link fence without informing neighbor as it on our side of property per our survey report.

          2. Post

            Thanks for your inquiry. This advice should be provided to you by a lawyer or a paralegal acting on your behalf with respect to the Small Claims Court file.

            Any reply should be private and confidential to you rather than provided in a public forum over the internet.

  21. Hello,

    Our next door neighbour built a fence that encroaches on our property line. We asked them to move it and they asked for an updated survey. We provided this to them (clearly showing that their fence encroaches on our property line by two feet). All communication has been done by email only. We have sent them three emails and they are refusing to respond. We want access back to our property and they are not responding. What are our next options?

    Thank you

  22. Hello,
    Can a fence be built on a right-of-way? Our neighbour owns the right-of-way, but we have access to it according to our land survey and deed. The fence, if built, would cut off our access.
    Thank you.

    1. Post
  23. You may need to revise your comment regarding assumption of property (ie squatters rights)
    I believe Ontario legislation states that you own the lot on the title and even if a building encroaches it can only exist as is, and when and if any reconstruction occurs it must be removed off the lot line as per municipal building code. Even having part of your house over the lot does not grant ownership, let alone a fence. This was clarified years ago to facilitate accurate title searches for the real estate buisness.

    1. Post

      There is nothing like that in Ontario that I am aware of.

      Is there a specific case, you are referring to etc?

      The law in Ontario has been the same as it has been for the last several hundred years.

      With the transfer of most properties now, from Registry to Land Titles, that will have an impact. However, existing rights, whether they be adverse possession or encroachments are all grandfathered.

  24. My lawyer has advised that you have the right to build a fence on the property line in Toronto, in accordance with the fence bylaw, without the neighbour’s permission.

    That appears to conflict with your advice, does it not?

    1. Post

      So, you would spend $10,000 on a fence without teaming up with the neighbour.
      Now, your neighbour owns half the fence although they didn’t pay for it and gets to participate in all the decisions concerning maintenance.
      Why not pull it back just half an imch and it’s now all yours.

      1. I am not the original poster. 12 years ago my neighbour agreed to have a fence installed and split the cost. At the 11th hour they backed out of payment, however paid 50% of the posts. The fence builder agreed to put up the fence, as privacy, and not charge me for mu neighbours side. I’m going to assume it was built on the property line. Fast forward 12 years, my neighbour has installed boards on her side of my fence.
        From what I’ve read, since it was built on the property line its not wholly owned by me and I can’t stop her from nailing up the boards? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

        1. Post

          The neighbour in fact paid partially for the fence, meaning that they now have an ownership interest in the fence. It’s also on the boundary.
          So, the neighbour would have the right to attach boards to a fence which they have shared ownership.

  25. Hi Brian.
    We live in Burlington. A condo townhome development behind us just notified us it will be receiving quote this winter to replace all the fencing abutting our homes. The fence in our area (wood, 6’ with lattice) is in good condition, albeit older, but strong and safe. They’re sent a letter indicating we need to pay half (approx $6k) for the portion of our yard width.
    We have a pool, if that matters.
    Our bylaw indicates we are only required to pay 50% of a basic fence (approx $1k) not a wood fence BUT there no wording of do they
    A: have permission to pull out/replace a joint fence without our permission
    B: make us pay for a basic fence when the existing one is still good?

    We have already replaced our 2 long sides between neighbours as both their trees had fallen and damaged the fences over the years, but we happily paid as we have a pool and dog and the fences were unsafe. This back fence is fine and we had our landscaping done last summer and builder said fence was in good condition (he looked not realizing it’s shared with a condo board).

    How should we respond to the letter requesting 50% of the fence

    1. Post

      The existing fence is fine. Let them build whatever they want on their own side of the property line at their expense. You might need a lawyer to write a letter on your behalf.

  26. My hostile neighbor is planning to build a 6′ privacy fence between our houses. My home has a setback variance approved back in 2003. However, if she builds this fence, I will not physically be able to maintain the north side of my home, such as the dryer vent and downspouts. There will be approximately 10″ between my wall and their fence. What are my options?

    1. Post

      Contact the city to see if they can help. That really depends on where you are located.
      If that doesn’t help, the contact a lawyer.

      1. Thank you, Mr. Madigan. I am in Ontario, Canada. I have contacted the City of Peterborough and am waiting for a reply.

        1. Post
          1. An update for you, Mr. Madigan. I heard back from the City, who advises me to get a property survey done and hire a lawyer.

          2. Post
  27. I have lived in my home for 25 years & there is a front area that my window looks out on that my neighbor (who also lived here for 25 years) & I agreed that I could take care of & do what I like with. It is on the side of his house that he never goes to & his driveway butts up against it. So I put in some low shrubs & rocks & have cared for it for all these years. My neighbor recently moved out of province & the new neighbors want to take about 3 feet of this garden area that faces my front window & extend his driveway so I’m looking out at a vehicle instead of nice greenery. He says he has the city plans & this is his property. There is an area on the other side of his driveway where he could expand & not disrupt anyone. But he is not reasonable. Is there anything I can do about this?

    1. Post
  28. We would like to replace the backyard fence, however the neighbour put in a gas line to his bbq literally a couple inches from the fence, and also planted a tree which has pushed our fence inwards. What actions do I need to take? Thank you

    1. Post
  29. Our neighbor has his raised cement patio right up to the fence, on the property line. Is there suppose to be space between the patio and property line? He is also telling us to remove our gate so that he can do something to the fence we have not agreed on. We have a German Shepherd and why we have a gate. We have lived here for 23 years stress free and have had 4 families move in and out next door, had the best relationships with. Our luck has run out I guess as the newest does everything to annoy us. We installed cameras as everytime I come home he creeps around outside. My husband put cameras up to make sure he knows when I pull in driveway. The one next door got cameras (creeps me out even more), not even on his property, it’s pointed right into my car. We no longer enjoy our home

    1. Post

      Our neighbor has his raised cement patio right up to the fence, on the property line.
      Is there suppose to be space between the patio and property line?

      It can be right up to the property line, but not over.

      He is also telling us to remove our gate so that he can do something to the fence we have not agreed on.

      Assuming the gate is on your property, that would be your decision and not his.

      We have a German Shepherd and why we have a gate. We have lived here for 23 years stress free and have had 4 families move in and out next door, had the best relationships with. Our luck has run out I guess as the newest does everything to annoy us.

      Very disappointing.

      We installed cameras as everytime I come home he creeps around outside. My husband put cameras up to make sure he knows when I pull in driveway. The one next door got cameras (creeps me out even more), not even on his property, it’s pointed right into my car.

      His cameras need to be physically located on his own property, although they can be pointed in your direction.

      We no longer enjoy our home.

      Problems with neighbours are often a reason to move!

  30. Question for you.

    My neighbour’s fence is on the property line. Our grading is higher than his. So, his side the fence is 5’10” and our side is only 5’2”. The fence is not a “good neighbour” fence, as it is only finished on his side. Our side is unfinished and below the maximum height of 2 metres, as per Ontario law.

    We want to finish our side and construct it to the bylaw height of 2 metres. He says we are not allowed to go any higher.

    What are we allowed to do?

    1. Post
  31. Fence on property line which is 4 ft but does not meet by law since it is considered climbable. Pool being built on my side. Asked neighbour if I can replace it, as it is common fence. I am ok to pay for it. He is undecided. What are my options. Does the neighbor need to comply to meet by law. Can I build fence directly along side his higher and more private. Does it need to meet height by law, so someone can’t climb on his and climb on mine. Also can I serve notice and go ahead and replace fence. By law allows 14 day notice period to him to replace fence and they would be responsible for 1/2 the cost of a basic chain link fence (This would allow me to bring the fence to code and I do not wish to recover the cost). Thanks

    1. Post

      You have already been in touch with the municipality, but, it might make sense to obtain legal advice in terms of your specific situation.

  32. Hello, my neighbour built a wooden fence encroaching on my property to the limit of 2-10 inches at various spots. According to him he has built the fence entirely on his property. While getting the fence built the workers had damaged patches of my lawn grass, and also left several nails exposed in the fence facing my house. The neighbours workers also later on spoilt the lawn grass on my front yard while doing the landscaping for him. I requested my neighbour to get the fence moved to his property and to get the exposed nails and the damaged lawn grass fixed and he refused. What are my options and rights in this case. Thanks

  33. Neighbour has a pool so they needed a fence. They built it themselves then handed us an invoice. We never wanted a fence nor did we agree to split the cost with them pre build. If the fence is on property line would we just have to pay the very minimum cost of the chain link fence?

    1. Post

      Yes, a four foot high chain link fence would be fine for you. They are the ones who need the extrra height and privacy.

  34. In July 2022, one new owner claimed 5′ of our right of way, which we own, which is for the legal use of the owners along our row unit only. He used a questionable Geowarehouse survey that was different from both our & their lot plan. The property lines on both are perfectly straight. This claim juts out 5′.
    The owner two doors down, jumped on his bandwagon, asked to take down a chain link fence that was supposedly built on the property line. With him now claiming the 5′, we showed him legal papers showing we owned 34’4″ frontage. He kept saying we measured wrong. He “worked the business & knows”.
    Anyway, he took down the chain link fence & now built his fence encroaching onto our property by 4- 7″ (and even more if the front cement post support can’t be on our property either) according
    to a preliminary legal survey by a registered surveyor. He took his dilapidated fence & moved it. It is not straight. The bottoms are all rotten. A strong wind makes it move. He did not support the spike post holders with cement. It now has ropes around the posts, pulling & supporting it.
    We contacted our lawyer & a letter has been written to him telling him he has to move the fence back onto his own property. He is refusing saying he built it on his property.
    He is saying we agreed for the fence to be built. But he was claiming that 5′ of our right of way and owned up to the side of our shed but was being generous to leave us a narrow pathway to access our back yard to bring garbage out. We were so upset we did not know what to do.
    We hired a surveyor who left preliminary survey markers at the front & back of our properties. The back ones mysteriously disappeared. Due to winter freeze he could not place permanent surveyor metal stakes. The front one on our driveway shows his cement for the one front fence post is on our property. The actual back of the fence is on our property as well. Unfortunately, our surveyor is very I’ll & in hospital. Not sure when or if he will be healthy enough to complete the job.
    So, would this preliminary marker be enough to get Ottawa bylaw to make him take down his fence? We do not want the fence built on the property line. All other fences along his row house units have built their fences over a foot onto their own property.
    We are in our 70’s and are supposed to be enjoying life. It has been a long year living in this “war zone”.
    Thanks for any information you can give us

    1. Post

      This is very disappointing to hear. It is a Criminal offence to remove surveyor’s stakes. The temporary ones should be replaced with the permanent ones once your surveyor is out of the hospital. By-law officials from municipalities rarely become involved in this sort of issue.
      You may have to instruct your lawyer to proceed with a Court action.

  35. We have a property line fence between mine and neighbors yard. Neighbors are not neighborly at all and very hard to get along with. The existing fence is only 4 feet high, I would like 6 feet for some privacy. Can I build my own fence on my property beside the property line fence? If yes, how close can it be? I’m in northern Ontario.

    1. Post

      You should contact the local municipality to determine the setback requirements and height restrictions etc.

  36. We moved into a house 2 years ago. A chain link fence is on our neighbours property. Recently, they have been asserting that their property extends 4 feet past their fence into our lot. They have had the fence their for 16 years and never have done anything on our side, but the don’t like the landscaping we’ve been doing so have started to remind us that technically, it’s their property on our side of the fence. How does that work?? We looked at our blueprints and it’s true that our property doesn’t extend fully to the fence, but is there any established laws around this? They haven’t threatened any specific action , but I was wondering if they sort of gave up that property by building a fence a couple feet in from their property, or di we have to be sure to not plant or touch that 2 or so feet even though it’s on our side of the fence?

    1. Post

      It’s unlikely that they gave up their own property. If so, why are they presently asserting rights? It looks like they have a fence which is not a boundary fence. It’s simply a fence which they own situate on their own property.

  37. Hello, Mr. Madigan.

    My neighbour to the rear just constructed a wood fence. She consulted my next door neighbour, but not myself nor the neighbour directly beside her. The problem is that whoever constructed the fence tore off two panels of the original shared chain link fence in the process. My next door neighbours’ dog escaped through the resulting gap. Luckily someone found her on the next street before she got hurt. Of course the tall wood fence means it’s hard to approach the neighbour casually and enquire when the missing panels will be replaced. Mine has been peeled back like the lid of an old-fashioned sardine can. Logic says she does have to replace them, doesn’t it?

    1. Post

      Not necessarily. She doesn’t even have to have a fence. Approach them and offer to replace the panels.

  38. Thanks for your response.
    Ok. She doesn’t have to have a fence, but can she unilaterally dismantle her portion of the original shared chain link fence in such a way as to render it useless for others in the process of erecting her own wood fence – with no consequences? Shouldn’t she at least be telling whoever took away “enclosed yard” from the 3 rest of us to come fix their carelessness at their expense?
    Does the Ontario Line Fence Act cover any of these issues? I came across references to it.

  39. We moved in to a house in St. Catharines in July 2021 and have title insurance. There was a partial old fence and a fence of wire mesh filling in where the rest of the fence should have been. Posts and fences along the other sides are in good shape. We were told the fence at issue belonged to the man behind us. He was never around to discuss putting up a new one and recently moved. The new owner is very aggressive and claims he owns about 3′ of what we believed was our property (well inside our side of the current fence) and that the post on one side is wrong. Says he has a survey but wouldn’t show it to us unless we paid him. We really can’t afford the 3500 we were quoted for a separate survey. We have a property outline from the sale that looks like a survey but cannot accurately measure the angles and distances. He is insisting on putting up a fence, anything, for his privacy. Who do we turn to about 1. A chunk of property we thought we paid for but may not have 2. dealing with a neighbour who says he will put up the fence where he says the line is, without further consultation? We have put in a garden with a row of cedars which would have to be removed. They are 3′ in from what we understood was the line but still too close if he is right.

    1. Post

      If you would like to get a copy of the survey, then contact “Protect Your Boundaries”.

      Then, you will have to get a lawyer to assist you. Consider Michael Lesage. He is closeby.

  40. You can have a max. height, 80 ft long fence with lattice built with both sides finished. Just ask the contractor. I did.

    Building a fence on your property sounds good because you select the style, height, etc.; however the property you are leaving on the other side of the fence is there for your neighbor to lean tools on, tires, cycles, etc. against it. That is the problem I have.

    Obviously, I don’t live in a ritzy area of Ottawa. I had a new survey done just to show them where the property line is, but they removed the survey pins. My son told me to just forget it as I have a registered survey. If I don’t get them to remove their things, will they get to keep this foot of my property.

    1. Post

      A foot of your property is a lot of space. It is a Criminal offence to remove survey stakes. Do you have any proof?
      You might want to have your lawyer write them a letter.

      Also, the risk of losing property is dependent upon what system your property is registered in: 1) Land Titles, or 2) Registry. The risk is only present for any time period when your property is in Registry. Your lawyer would be able to advise you what system you are in.

  41. Over a year ago, my neighbor asked if I was willing to do a temporary fix on the dividing fence, which was starting to lean slightly. I agreed and she hired a guy to do it. This was supposed to buy us some time to save for a fence. I wanted a five foot chain link. She wanted a 6-8 foot wooden privacy fence. Instead of a temp fix, the guy ended up cementing in 4 posts without my permission. My neighbor decided she would continue to replace the existing fence without a survey. Upon receiving the original survey and finding the markers, it was proven that the fence was in fact 100% on my property. The posts started about 1 to 1.5 inches past the property line on my side. I told her she had to build on her side, because if I install my chain link, that would mean I would have 2 fences running parallel on my property. Now that she had to build on her side, she had her posts placed exactly at the line. Note: my mother had power of attorney on the house to protect her partial investment and this gave her the right to make decisions according to the attorney. She refused to give the neighbor permission to build on my side.

    My problem now is that I was still planning on having a wooded gate built for privacy so the general public can’t see in and it would keep my dog from barking excessively, since he is triggered by the sight of other dogs. Out of spite, she will not allow me to attach the wood from my gate posts to her dividing post (which is right against the line) stating it’s “her fence”, and the contractor can’t drill another post because her cement around the post is over the line and he says it would affect the integrity of the my post and negatively affect hers as well. I cannot bring the gate up more because of where my downspout is located. What are my options?

    Also, both our driveways extend right to the back of our homes and it’s just one big driveway, and we both own exactly half of it. She decided to extend her fence down the centre to close off more of her driveway for privacy. I can no longer park cars there because there is not enough room to open the car door and the reason I chose this particular home was because of the length of the driveways. Parking can be hard to come by on my street and my driveway can fit 4 cars. But now it can only fit 2. Is this even legal to take from being able to use my entire driveway? Sorry for all the details.

    1. Post

      You should consult with a lawyer about the driveway. Do you have a registered mutual driveway? Exactly, where is it? It should be shown on your survey. If not, then likely you will require an up to date survey.

  42. We live in Burlington, Ontario. We have a very large wooden fence between our property and the neighbour behind us. This fence is old and needs to come down. Assuming it is on the property line if I remove it and replace it with a fence on my property, can I replace it with a chain link fence?

    Is there a requirement that I replace it with a similar fence?

    1. Post

      Check with Burlington regarding building of the new fence. It will have to comply with the current bylaws in place.

      There is no provision that it must be the same as the one you are replacing.

      Best, of course, to reach an agreement with the neighbour.

    2. Post

      Best to consult with your neighbour and reach a satisfactory arrangement between the two of you. Consult with the city of Burlington. They may be able to assist under the Line Fences Act.

  43. My neighbor is trying to make it difficult for me to rebuild my gate. She won’t allow me to attach the panels from my gate post to her new fence post. The contractor is telling me I don’t have any other options since adding my own post will interfere with the integrity of her fence post, which is cemented in right at the property line. I need this gate built asap because I have a dog and expensive lawn equipment in the backyard. What options do I have?

      1. Post

        This is most unfortunate. Given that you helped build “her fence” it may very well be, that “her “fence, is actually a jointly owned fence, and that consequently you would have the right to attach to it.

        Also, if “her” gate is over the boundary line, even at the bottom , and even just the cement, not the posts, you could require removal.
        It would appear that you might be wise to consult with a lawyer, and a surveyor about this.

        1. Proving the concrete below is encroaching and is from that post is hard. We had the same issue and just poured a deep 3ft hole of concrete next to the encroaching concrete, used a post anchor and concrete bolts and abutted a new post il to the neighbors post but on out property. I am not sure how anyone would prove either way who poured the concrete below the dirt- remember despite it seemingly logical you still have to prove it to take any legal action. So really an evil neighbor could just dig out on their side and extend footings and then somehow claim the post and said attached fence. My lawyer says there are too few cases for one to put their money on a fence claim solely due to a footing below ground so while due diligence in installing posts on your property is clearly advisable inclusive of the footing it’s near impossible for a neighbor to make a case to claim a fence is jointly owned due to a footing.

          1. Post

            Where is it located? A surveyor could assess its location and a Court can look to that evidence. However, it’s costly.

        2. Yes, I have asked an attorney who explained that I had the right to attach due to several factors. First off, it’s pretty much right at the property line. If I was to attempt to place another post at the line, it would not only affect the integrity of her post but it could also risk damaging her post from the auger. Secondly, the fact that I assisted in building a small portion on my side, as well as hauling lumber from one backyard to the other. It was an afternoon of assisting and buying lunch for everyone. Thirdly, since I had only agreed to split the cost of a 4 foot chain-link, I e-transferred three hundred and twenty five dollars on top of agreeing to pay the disposal fee of the old dividing fence. All these factors contributed to the legal advise I received.

        3. I’m in a new subdivision and the two neighbors beside me have begun to build a wooden fence. The posts are cemented in, and all but one of the posts are completely on my property. In the process of stopping construction, I obtained a survey to confirm the fence was on my property.
          One owner has agreed to move the fence to their side of the property line, but insist they aren’t required to move the cement footings as they’re not visible. The other refuses to move the posts as the one touches the property line. The other is completely on my property.
          These are 6×6 posts, and the one that touches the line barely touches the line.
          Am I wrong to insist that the footings either go, or be subject to an encroachment agreement?
          If 99% of that last post is on my property, doesn’t that make it 99% mine? Can I still insist that she move it if she won’t sign an encroachment?

          1. Post

            Sounds like you need a lawyer to assist you with this.

            The property line is vertical, there is no concept of up or down below the ground line.
            The fence if built on the property line becomes a shared ownership fence. Buit just inside the property line, the fence is completely theirs. That’s the normal choice unless you are paying for half.

  44. My neighbours fence is enrcoaching around 10 cm into my property. He got the survey rods removed himself while getting the fence constructed. I got a survey done again which shows he is 10 cm onto my property. The survey report also mentions that the removing a survey picket by anyone is a criminal offence. My neighbour is very aggressive and insists that the whole fence is in his property, whilst the survey report mentions he is encroaching upon mine.
    What are my options.

    1. Post

      It is indeed a Criminal offence for him to remove the survey markers.

      You should contact your own lawyer about this or al;ternative you can attend before a Justice of the Peace and swear out an “information” to this affect, and your neighbour will be charged under the Criminal Code.

  45. Brian, here’s one a bit different from other posts.
    We had a surveyor confirm our metes. New neighbour, hard to deal with, used string and tape measure to do his own. Claims his lines are accurate. We put a fence up at least 3″ our side of the survey. Now, he claims we can’t maintain our lawn outside the fence or we trespass, after 3 years of his kids being on our property (security footage). Bylaw officer claims they don’t get into these issues, not qualified. It’s civil. So we retain lawyer who advises we are allowed to maintain the property (all of 30 secs to trim it). Bylaw suddenly tells us we have to let HIM cut our property that we pay taxes on. Suddenly he gets involved in what he has not, for 3 years.

    He can destroy our fence posts, boards etc by trimming. Can we be told we can’t maintain our property when Property Maintenance bylaw requires it? Our lawyer says bylaw has no such authority. Any ideas?

    1. Post

      Your lawyer is quite correct. Get your lawyer to sue your neighbour and also sue the municipality. They will soon change their crazy opinion when it goes to their legal department.

      1. What about, though, the aspect of having kept our fence completely on our property, but now being told we can’t trim the grass outside the fence because we trespass on his property to do so? Before the fence was up, he’d regularly walk on ours to turn around as he cut his side of the property!
        Thanks for your comments Brian.

        1. Post

          Of course, this is very peculiar. You could either leave it and just let him enjy the view of uncut grass or apply to Court in order to obtain a Court Order permitting you access. This hardly seems to be a “nice” neighbour. And, it’s one of the significant motivating factors which encourage people to move.

  46. I bought my house 10 years ago with a 6ft wood fence along the property line. Next door sold the house which was demolished and rebuilt. While digging the contractor collapsed over half of the fence. He then asked to remove all remaining parts of the fence and would rebuild a new fence along the entire length of the property and it would match the fencing I have on my other side. It was to be put up along the property line. Fast foward 7 years, new owners want to build a pool and requested part of the fence be taken down to allow machinery to access their property. We signed legal documents agreeing to that and that a fence would be put back up along the property line. They are now claiming that the fence is entirely on their property according to the site plans (dated BEFORE the new house was built). They are proposing to install new sections of the fence that are different heights varying from 5’10 to 7 feet. I think this will look terrible and is not what the original fence they removed looked like. I maintain that the fence was built on the property line, therefore is a joint fence and I have a say in what it should look like if they are altering it. Having said that, I think the fence company did a poor job as 5 inches of concrete around the posts is exposed and visable in my garden at each post. Based on what I have read above, does this mean that even if the fence was somehow built completely on their property, the fact that the concrete clearly is on mine, does that make it a joint fence? We are neighbourly and trying to get along without incurring the expense of an official survey if possible. Is it possible for you to clarify about the ownership of the fence if some part of it (concrete) is on my property? I do not want to fight with my neighbours and both of us clearly understanding the ownership would help.

    1. Post

      Are the two properties in Land Titles or not? If so, when did that happen? That will affect the answer.

      The survey is the only true source for the location of the fence. It’s either:

      1) entirely on your property,
      2) entirely on the neighbour’s property,
      3) on both properties,
      4) right on the property line.

      You would be able to tell, if you had a survey, otherwise, you are just guessing!


  47. I live in an apartment with 4 people in other units. I have a neighbour outback who we have had a serious problem with. Police have been contacted,lawyers ect
    The neighbour cut all the trees, vines and brush down to get a full view of the back of my apartment, she stated she cut everything down so she COULD watch my coming and going. There is a 4foot fence separating the lawns, this is the backyard I’m referring too, where we park our vehicles. She can see everything and has admitted to recording and taking pictures of our vehicles, guests, ect.
    I have a friend who is willing to build a fence for privacy and safety issues. I asked my landlord if we could build a fence. Just waiting to hear back. I only need a fence on one side of the property.
    What are my rights as a tenant.
    I am aware I have the right to safety and privacy. I can not move.

      1. Post

        The neighbour can cut down her own trees etc. on her own property.Most municipalities do have a limit on the size of a tree that can be removed without municipal permission. The usual limit is 15 cm or 6 inches in diameter.

        She is also allowed to be on her own property and take pictures. She can also be on public property and take pictures.

        Your Landlord would have to give permission for the erection of a fence and that will have to comply with municipal by-laws. A fence which is set back substantially from the lot line can be much higher.

        Naturally, if you were to attend to that cost and expense, the neighbour could place the camera on her roof.

  48. I live in a semi and have a shared fence in the back that is about 4 ft high. It’s an eye sore and not practical for my little dog as he crawls underneath it. I asked the neighbour to help with a new fence and he is not willing to help and stated I am not to go up to the 6ft height. My plan is to have a new fence built completely on my property and leave the existing fence in place. Am I still obligated to put the good side facing his side?

    1. Post

      The “good side” of a fence is a matter of opinion. There are many designs of wooden fences where both sides are the same. That might work!

  49. existing fence on property line. Twp has easement 10 feet from fence onto my property. It is for underground storm sewer. Twp is replacing storm sewer . Can they remove the fence and not replace it? thanks

    1. Post

      Usually, the Township will replace it. However, if they had the easement which prevented “fencing”, before you erected the fence, then, they could simply remove it.

  50. Fence company built my fence. The wooden fence itself is on my side of the boundary line. Two of the cement footings are around 1/2 inch on my neighbours side of the boundary line. Will I have to remove my fence?

    1. Post

      These are “1/2 inch encroachments. Presumably, the intention was to have all the the fence, the rails, the posts and the cement footings all located on your own property. So, if it was just installed, the fence company has made a mistake.

  51. Hi Brian,

    The fence was installed one side of my property before my house was built.
    I believe even before my neighbor moved in.
    Now I need to install the gate on that side, but my contractor was told not to touch the fence.
    I measured according to survey, the fence is on the property line.
    The question is, can I use the existing fence post or I really cannot touch?
    City asked to talk to Civil court lawyer.
    Kind Regards

    1. Post
        1. Post

          It is the Owner of the neighbouring property not the current Tenant who has rights concerning property ownership.

          You should be fine, constructing a fence, entirely on your own property which provides you with privacy. I am assuming that there are no restrictive covenants registered against the title to your property, so you only have to deal with the municipal by-laws.

          Naturally, it’s always best to seek legal advice before proceeding.

          1. Hi Brian,

            Thank you very much for looking into his.
            It is not actually tenant, just the previous owner built fence before the current owner moved in.
            Anyhow, I can build entire new fence on my property, that’s true.
            My real question is can I use the existing fence post to build gate on my side being existing fence on property line? Or I cannot touch the existing fence at all?
            Thank you very much again. Your advises are invaluable.

          2. Post

            The real question is “who owns that fence? Is it the neighbour or is it a joint fence?

          3. Hi Brian,

            I have not paid for that fence, it was there before I moved in.
            I built the rest of my fence after I moved in in agreement with other side neighbours.
            But I derived from the other posts on this forum that if the fence is right ON the property line (as it is shown in the survey I sent earlier), it is not owned by any one party. With this condition, should I be allowed to put my gate on existing fence?

          4. Post

            The risk if you build a fence on the property line is that a Court may determine that you now have shared ownership. The same is true if you are the neighbour. It is the Court which will decide.

  52. I live in St Catherines Ontario. One day in mid August/23 , We arrived home and noted that our neighbour had dug 1.5 ft wide and 5 ft deep holes in front yard in area beside our driveway without any consultation to install a fence .
    We do have access to our survey that clearly shows that they are massively off. Both properties are on pie shape lot with boundaries that point to centre of circular crescent. The lot line and driveways are not parallel to each other. They have created fence that is parallel to their drive way. In the past they had claimed that our driveway is in their lot and I can now see their intention has been with those false claims!
    The police was called. We asked the officers to see if they have access to their survey as many false claims have been . They had told the officer that do not have a survey and that we are harassing them. They have refused to abide by our survey or showing theirs. The wife told us, go ahead, sue us. Today the fence is in process of being built as the concrete is in.
    The city of St Catherines bylaws is of no help and claims to only deal with height of fence in the front yard.
    My question is:
    1) is the “Ontario Line Fence act” apply to city of St Catherines? The province could not tell me if it did. The city staff who are not on vacation don’t know anything about it. I can’t find anything online. I believe the act allows for intervention without resorting to courts.

    2) If I hire a surveyor to hammer stakes and take a picture and get a statement , can I take them to court, will that be sufficient evidence.

    3) They are building the fence themselves but the holes and concrete were done by a contractor . Is the contractor liable?

    1. Post

      1) The Courts would likely be a better choice. If you wish yourself and your neighbour could choose a private Arbitrator. But, the problem there is that you would both have to agree, and that’s already a problem. You should consult a lawyer at this point.

      2) The stakes and the pictures would be helpful. You should also have a survey completed for that side of the property dealing with the lands which are “in dispute”.

      3) It is possible that the contractor could have liability, but, likely the neighbour pointed out the location of the property lines, or at least where they thought they were.

      1. I am not even sure yet that I have land title insurance but assuming that I did, does it help with the court cost dealing with such a new disputes which are not per-existing?

        1. Thanks for the replies….. just and update..

          So… I am in process of hiring a surveyor first. Lawyers will be my next agenda. My husband has agreed that we have to sue them because they have done all this knowingly as it is unlikely that they don’t have a survey although they have made such a claim as they have spent 100s of 1000s renovating their house and that is not done without a survey. He believes that they are trying expand their driveway illegally and they are hoping that we will not take legal action.

          1. Post

            Many people will spent significant amounts of money undertaking renovations without a survey.

            The surveyor and tyhe lawyer are both good steps.

  53. I am a senior and having trouble getting 2 of my neighbours ( living and working in China) to share the cost of fencing our adjoining property. I am sharing with one neighbour already and the fencing work is at a standstill. Composite fencing has been erected in the adjoining townhouses units. They want a cheaper alternative . I would like the same fencing to continue and if I erect it on the property line and ask them to pay the cheaper cost will that work. I need the security for my property, myself and my dog.
    Fence contractor cannot get response from the owners. All three units are rentals surrounding my property. What else’s can I do?

    1. Post

      You can erect the fence completely on your own property. Then you own it 100%.

      If you build it on the property line, you are sharing the fence, whether you actually get paid or not. Half price for the cheaper fence when the better quality fence is in place is a good deal to the neighbours, but you can’t find them.

      Personally I think that I would set the fence just inside the property line, then all the decisions going forward are yours, you own the fence. They don’t. You decide on repairs and painting etc. going forward. It’s a little more costly but it saves the problems.

      1. Brian…if it’s “just inside the line” how do you paint or maintain it if you’re not allowed to go outside it to do so? Due to a neighbour considering it trespassing?

        1. Post

          Difficult if not impossible.

          I suppose the extra grsss is growing on their side, so it would be an eyesore from their perspective.

  54. We just bought a house with a backyard where the end of the yard is basically the side of another house. (The house is on a perpendicular street and the side of the house reaches where our backyard is)

    There is a small chain link fence there which I believe is owned by that house according to the last survey (done years ago before we bought the place).

    We would like to completely fence in our yard for privacy and security. Also that house is quite an eyesore so it would be nice to not have to see all of it.

    Unfortunately, we were told that apparently the individual renting that house or part of house made a big fuss and threatened to call the city when the previous owners tried to do something simple like put a fake shrub or something directly in front of a window she had (this was apparently attempted as she smokes and her portable ac blows the smoke into the backyard where their kids played, so they wanted something to block some of the fumes) She said ‘it will block my light’ and was quite belligerent about it and stated she has a right to smoke in her house anyway in addition.

    My understanding in the city of Toronto is that we can build a 2m tall fence in our backyard. If we do this, we would do it entirely inside our property after getting an up to date survey for completeness. It would indeed block light completely to her basement windows and possibly a small bottom part of her main floor windows as well, although probably only the bottom 1/4 off those windows).

    The property line is a mere foot or two from her windows and her windows face west, so she doesn’t current get some light through our backyard. Our fence would basically block this.
    For us the fence would also be good because right now if we sit on that end of the backyard, her window is right there where we are, a mere few feet away.

    Would there be any issues in building the fence inside our property? Does she have any right to light from the side of her house’s basement? If she does does that mean we can’t ever build a fence at the end of our yard? It’s funny because the blinds in her place are always closed!

  55. I own a fence erected fully on my side of the surveyed property line. My neighbour continues to attach flower pots and lean heavy items against the fence. It has tilted the fence so the gate is no longer usable. I’ve asked them verbally and in writing to remove the items and they either temporarily remove them or just ignore my request. What would my next steps be?

    1. Post
    1. Post
  56. Hi,

    We have been using what we thought was our property for 27 years.
    Neighbour who is a business has decided to build a fence and seems we were wrong in property lines.
    Last year I spent a significant amount of money to have a tree taken down and the piece of property cleaned up.
    I’m also not happy about this large would fence they are building almost to the street.
    Anything I can do?

    1. Post

      Where is the fence? Does it comply with zoning and building by-laws. Is it totally on the neighbour’s property?
      I assume that you now have a survey?

      Was the “property” registered in the Registry system for any part of that 27 years? If so, you may have some rights, either to adverse possession (10 years required) or a prescriptive easement (20 years required).

  57. Hi Brian, there is a privacy fence inbetween the houses (installed by neighbour) that is located right against their side of the property line. However the fence is visibly not level/vertical and the top of the 5 ft fence is 1.5 within inches of our property, as measured from our existing wall. We also have surveys and everything. It reduces the space of an already cramped access walkway between the houses. Have you dealt with anything like this before? Thanks

    1. Post

      This encroachment is just like any other encroachment.

      It’s over by 1.5 inches. It doesn’t matter whether its on the ground or in the vertical space above the ground.

  58. Question for ya! Our driveway is attached to our neighbors. It’s basically one big driveway, with the property line straight down the middle, extending to the back of our homes. The entire width is 19.4 feet so both of us own 9.7 feet. Problem here is the neighbor is extending the dividing fence about 15 feet down the driveway to close off their side door area. Posts are on their side right up at the property line. We no longer have enough room to open a car door without hitting the fence. Also, if a car is parked between fence and house, there is no room to bring the garbage cart through. One of the main reasons we bought this house was for it’s long driveway to accommodate 5 cars since we have a lot of elderly company and street parking is taken a lot of the time. Is this legal? Can we apply for some sort of easement? Seems to interfere with our access.

    1. Post

      If this arrangement had been negotiated with the neighbours, then you might have some sort of arrangement.
      However, it appears that the present arrangement continues to exist with the mutual consent of both parties. That means that either party could change their minds if they wish.

      If there was a mutual driveway easement registered on title, then that would change matters, and you would have some enforceable rights.

      You might consider contacting your lawyer and having your lawyer conduct a search of title to determine whether such an easement exists.

      You might be surprised that there are likely over 40,000 unregistered “mutual driveways” in Toronto alone.

        1. Post
  59. Hi, there my neighbour has recently removed a shared chain link fence. It is a older fence in need of some repair. He is replacing the mesh, top rail and hardware but reusing the post(painted black). I believe it is on the property line but no survey has been done. I was not informed of this until he was taking it down and have had no say in anything they are doing.They have asked if I’m willing to pay half, but I would have preferred to fix it or replaced it myself. The cost for his contractor is about 3-4 times the amount I would have done it for. He is also extending the fence on the same fence line about 20 feet into the front yard without consulting with us. I’m I required to pay him anything for this work I don’t want done?

    1. Post

      Unfortunately, this is a very common problem. One neighbour wants to repair/replace/extend the fence and starts work without consultation with the other neighbour.

      It would be good to have a survey, so that you would know where the property line is located.

      Is the extension necessary at all? It might not be. The neighbour is allowed to build it, provided it complies with zoning and building bylaws on his own property (then they will own it) or on the shared property line (but now you will own it too).

      There is no requirement for you to pay unless a Court determined otherwise. Naturally, if you fail to pay, you are likely facing a strained relationship with the neighbour in the years to come.

      1. There is no point to the extension, it is a fence to nowhere, even if I do a return to the front corner of my house I will still have about 8 ft of fence in my front side yard going nowhere. Thank you for your reply.

        1. Post
  60. Hello- we recently moved into a new home and soon after moving in were told by our neighbours they require us to take down a small existing fence area that was constructed at the side of the house by the previous owner. The fence appears to be potentially on the boundary line, possibly on our side but definitely not on their property. We now received a notice they are extending the fence since we did not remove it which we don’t agree to. We asked for a survey so we can determine if in fact the fence was not installed on our own property and they are not willing to provide it. Without that we don’t feel there is a need to take action as the fence is definitely not on their property. Now they want to extend the fence that may be on the shared property line but we don’t want that.

    Because we said no to their notice of construction can they still build this extended fence on a shared property line without permission? Are we required to take the original fence in question down if it is on the property line and the previous owner built it without the neighbours consent? How would they need to prove that they did not agree with the previous owner and it went up anyway?


  61. So you put a fence up on your side of the property line. Neighbour decides to put all kinds of boxes, etc within an inch of the line, preventing access to the fence, and then leaning stuff against the fence. Told twice by police to cease. Lawyer sends a letter re same. But when he continues, noone will act. And now, with an entire back yard to blow his snow onto, he blew it against the fence for two full sections, near the top rail, packing it into the board on board fence. How do you stop that? He won’t let me go around the objects he put there to clean the snow off, claims trespassing. But he’s doing exactly that!

    1. Post

      You need a Court Order, then, that Order will be enforced by the Sheriff’s Office. If they need any help, they will call in the assistance of the police.

      1. Thank you Brian. For this type of matter, when you say ‘court order’ would that be a JP? Or do you need a provincial offences judge?

        1. Post
  62. Hello Mr. Madigan- bit late to the party here.
    My neighbours have decided to build a fence on what they claim is the property line, but they have not done any surveys. We have a survey from when we bought the house. When showed the survey, they refused to listen, stating that they are “doing everything right”. We don’t mind at all if the fence is on their property (obviously), but we worry if its on the property line or on our property. If it is on the property line, would we be obligated to pay for half the fence even though they are currently building it without consulting us? If it is over the property line, would we be able to do as we like with it? I am trying to remain amicable with our neighbours and worry that consulting legal help could set off a set of petty arguments. We have contacted the city but they say its classed a civil. Would it be best for us to get another land survey? Not sure how to proceed from here.

    1. Post

      This is a most unfortunate situation.
      Naturally, with the erection of a fence, one should be guided by the survey, and you already have a survey.
      So, if you were going to get a new one, you should do so either NOW, and have the surveyor mark the boundary visibly BEFORE the construction, or if you wait, it would show the actual location and they might be tresspassing.
      If it’s on their property, that’s fine, they pay for it.
      If it’s on the boundary line, then you can be called upon to contribute. But, that’s not half of a 6 foot cedar fence, that’s likely one half of a 4 ft. chain link fence.
      If it’s on your property, you have the right to have it removed.

  63. Planning to erect a 6ft legal ceder fence at the rear of my property just on the one side i share on the boundry line with a condominium. there is an issue regarding a few trees on the property line.
    I prefer not to remove any trees at this time and would rather have the fence be built more on myside to avoid any removal of any trees which will involve permitts i do not want to go that rout.there is just an open space on the condo side. I am planning to have a contactor build the the I obligated to notifying the condo what my intentions are regarding this build and will I be soul owner of this fence. I am barring the total cost of this fence.

    Thank you Mr. Madigan for your reply have a wonderful day.

    1. Post
  64. To your last reply that’s great to hear that i have full ownership of the fence. Question ? is
    so do I still have to notify property management what my intentions are regarding this build to avoid any discrepancies in the near future.

    Thanks again Mr. Madigan for your valued time.
    Have a great day.

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *