Fences and common walls
Are you in a dispute with a neighbour? Citizen mediation can help you find a satisfactory solution for both parties.
You may mark the boundaries of your property by means of a wall, ditch, hedge, barrier or any other type of fence.
You may decide on the style of the fence (e.g. height, colour and materials used), provided:
- it is located entirely on your land and does not touch the dividing line with your neighbour’s land; and
- it complies with current municipal by-laws.
Where this is the case, you must pay the full cost of building and maintaining the fence.
You and your neighbour may agree to build a common fence on the dividing line between your respective properties. In this case you will decide together what type of fence to put up, and will share the construction and maintenance costs. You will also own the fence jointly.
In situations such as these, it is best to have a written agreement, published at the registry office and entered in the Land Register. This will help protect the remaining owner in the event that one of the properties is sold and the new owner objects to the fence.
If your neighbour does not want to build a common fence, you may obtain a court judgment forcing him or her to cooperate and to share the cost of building and maintaining the fence.
Before reaching this point, however, you should have sent a formal notice to your neighbour, asking for his or her cooperation in erecting the fence.
A fence located on the dividing line between two properties is presumed to be a common fence, unless the original owner can prove that he or she erected it alone and has not agreed to it becoming a common fence.
You may agree with your neighbour to share ownership of an existing fence.
A wall that is shared by and separates two buildings is presumed to be a common wall. When two buildings are of unequal height, the law assumes that the common wall stops at the height of the lowest building.
You may surrender your right to the wall and free yourself from the obligation to contribute to the costs by filing a notice to that effect with the registry office. You must send a copy of the notice to the other owners.
However, in doing so, you also give up your right to make use of the wall.