Who pays when either you or your neighbor wants to replace a boundary fence?
The Fencing Act 1978 (“the Act”) is your first port of call for this question.
The Act provides that the occupiers of adjoining lands not divided by an adequate fence or a fence needs repairs or maintenance then the occupiers are liable to contribute in equal proportions to work on a fence. ( although if one party causes the damage they are liable for the repair)
This raises two points, if a fence is already in place, do you still have to pay if the neighbor wants to upgrade. Short answer no, if the fence that is in place is an “adequate fence” being a fence which as to its nature, condition and state of repair is reasonably satisfactory for the purpose it was intended. So unless the fence is falling down and still serves its purpose, if you simply want to upgrade a fence to make it look better then the neighbor does not have to pay.
Its still worth asking the question though, as the neighbor may like the idea of having a nice new fence, which can add value.
If a fence is in poor repair and needs to be replaced, or needs repairs then the cost is shared 50/50. However you can’t just go do the work and ask for a 50% share later. The act requires the service of a fencing notice setting out particulars as required by the Act. The neighbor then has 21 days to object and if they don’t then they are liable to pay 50%.
If you have received a fencing notice and want to object, you need to do it within 21 days of the notice otherwise its deemed to be effective against you.
If you have any questions, or need any advice in respect of your fencing obligations get in touch.