Rules and remedies in case of fence encroachment between neighbors
Sometimes your neighbour's fence encroaches on your property. This can happen as a result of construction work or simply an error. What does the law say about this? What are your rights as an owner? In this article, we'll look at the rules and available remedies for fence encroachment.
How is the boundary between two neighboring properties calculated?
The corners of a field are generally delimited by markers. As a result, the boundary between neighboring land will also be defined by terminals materialized by markers such as :
- Trees ;
These boundaries are thus established by a boundary, which is the exact determination of the dividing line between the two terrains.
As far as fences and dividing walls are concerned, it should be noted that they can be built at the boundary of the property, that is to say on the dividing line between two plots of land..
In that case, the fence or wall is considered adjoining and both owners are co-owners. Everyone is therefore responsible for the maintenance of their half of the fence.
However, if the fence is built on the land of only one of the owners, it is considered to be separative. In this case, the owner of the fence is responsible for its maintenance and repair.
What to do if your neighbour's fence encroaches on your property?
If your neighbour's fence extends onto your property, it is recommended to try to settle the matter amicably with your neighbor. Ask if your neighbor is ready to consider a demolition or rather to compensate you.
Where appropriate, you can approach the competent authorities to request the demolition of the part of the fence that protrudes. Call on a surveyor to precisely determine the limits of your land.
If the boundaries are established and the encroachment is proven, and if you find that the fence was built on your land without your authorization, you can also ask for the demolition or the displacement of the fence. If your neighbor refuses to cooperate, you can Hire a real estate lawyer to initiate legal proceedings.
If you want to build a fence on your property, you must comply with the rules and the law. Indeed, if you build a fence that encroaches on your neighbour's land, you may have to demolish it at your expense. Also, your neighbor could sue you for the encroachment and seek damages.
What about the height of the fence?
The height of the fences is also regulated by law. The latter imposes height limits according to the rules of your municipality. In urban areas, the maximum authorized height is 2 meters for a fence or a property dividing wall. For a fence located inside a property, the height is limited to 3,20 meters.
The materials used for the construction of the wall must also comply with certain rules. Indeed, the Town Planning Code requires that fences be built with traditional materials such as wood, stone or brick. Chain-link fences are only permitted under certain conditions and must be covered with climbing plants or plaster.
Note that fence encroachment rules vary by country and region. Checking with local authorities or a lawyer specializing in real estate law to find out the rules applicable in your geographical area is always recommended.
Is the fence the only one affected?
In case of fence encroachment, check if other elements are involved, such as foundations or tree branches. If the foundation of the fence encroaches on your land, it can lead to ground instability. If the branches of your neighbour's tree stick out on your property, you can ask him to trim them. In case of refusal, you can initiate legal proceedings for request the pruning of the branches or the removal of the tree.
If your neighbour's fence encroaches on your property, you can use various techniques to enforce your rights as a landlord. However, it is recommended that you try to settle the dispute amicably before initiating legal proceedings. At the same time, if you plan to build a fence on your property, make sure you comply with the rules in force to avoid any encroachment problem.