Can My Neighbors Legally Replace a Fence Between Our Properties?

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve had some bad neighbors. In the worst-case scenario, your neighbor can start tearing down your fence, shouting something about “property lines” and their right as a landowner. You may know that it is wrong, but it’s only natural to ask about your neighbors right to replace a fence between your properties.

To answer this question correctly, you need to be able to determine where the property line is. If the fence is on your half of the property, that means your neighbor cannot legally touch it. If the wall is on the neighbor’s half of the property line, they have the legal right to tear it down. You can determine the location of a property line with a land surveyor.

But what happens if your fence is right in the middle of the property line? To find out who maintains ownership and management requirements, check out the rest of this article.

Fences Right On The Property Line: Who is Responsible?

If you can confirm that the fence is right on the property line, who controls this fence gets a bit more tricky. While we can determine that the neighbor’s side of the line can have almost any wall they want, the middle needs both parties to agree to the fence in-between.

Before anybody can do any building or replacement, both sides need to agree to what is going there. That essentially makes neighbors equal partners on the fence-building project.

But agreeing can be somewhat tricky, especially if your neighbors are difficult. Below are some additional factors you should be aware of while going through fence negotiations.

What Materials Are You Using?

Many towns and cities in Canada have ordinances against what kind of materials you can use. For example, putting up a barbed-wire fence between your property lines may be agreed to by you and your neighbor. Still, the local community may not agree with this construction. 

Check with city ordinances before you start your negotiations.

Somebody Likes Fancier Fences

If your neighbor demands the fence to have gold trim with a swan-shaped figure built into the fencing, you don’t necessarily have to agree with it. But suppose your neighbor (or yourself) has a preference for a higher quality beyond the bare minimum fencing. In that case, the party which desires the higher grade will likely have to agree to pay the difference.

People Like Being Consulted

Because everyone has different design preferences, going to your neighbor first can be seen as an act of goodwill. This act applies regardless of where you build the fence, as you wouldn’t want your neighbors to look at something they deem as an eyesore if you can do something simple to avoid it. 

You don’t technically have to do this if it is solely on your property.

Check To See if You Need a Permit

Standard fences on your property alone typically do not require a permit. However, those built around pools or on a retaining wall differ. Check with your city offices to find out if building along property lines require a permit.


While legal requirements can be tricky, one would hope that a short discussion with your neighbor informing them of your plans would help you build your fence. The same can be said otherwise, especially if they start tearing down your wall without notice.

Whatever you agree to, be sure you have someone who can build a high-quality fence that everyone likes.