Painting the fence: Do you need to ask your neighbour's permission? Your rights explained


Painting your fence is one of the easiest ways to refresh your garden ahead of spring, but it could land you in legal trouble. Understanding who owns which side of the fence is crucial before making any changes, though there is some dispute about the right way to approach a simple decorating task. Should you ask permission before adding a lick of paint to your garden fence? These are your rights explained.

Property and boundary rights aren’t something you think about on a daily basis, but it pays to know which side of the fence is yours.

Whether there’s a dispute over damage, installation or a simple paint job, knowing your rights could save you both time and money.

Understanding what you can and can’t do to your property is the first step to prevent unnecessary neighbourly disputes, but where will you find the information?

The title plans and deeds to your house are the most likely documents which will establish ownership, and these are the key points you should know.

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What are your rights when painting your fence?

If you are the sole owner of the fence and this is made clear in the title plans, you are safe to go ahead with your decorating plans.

The same applies if you install a new fence in your garden.

Lawsons said: “If you erect a fence in your garden, your neighbour must ask for permission before painting or staining their side of it.

“Similarly, they may not grow trailing plants up it or any similar activity which may cause it damage.”

However, if the fence is listed as shared, this can be a grey area.

While you technically have free rein over your side of a shared fence, Citizens Advice recommends consulting your neighbour first to avoid any unwanted legal disputes.

Lawsons said: “Keep them informed, tell them of your plans and let them know that they can feel free to stain their side if they choose to.

“This is always the fairest thing to do because then they may have a say in the overall look of their garden.”


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