Garden Structures

Can My Neighbour Attach Or Nail Things To My Fence?

neighbour poking his head over fence
Written by Chris Lee

Disputes between neighbours can happen for any number of reasons, all of which can become quite stressful and challenging.

Such disputes lead to serious friction and, in some cases, all-out war.

If your neighbour has decided to start attaching or nailing things to your fence, it can be quite infuriating. When it comes to disagreements like this, it can be tricky to know what you are allowed to do to resolve the issue. 

a male and female neighbour arguing over the front garden fence
The last thing you want is an all-out war

It is essential to identify what action you can take, however, because getting things wrong could not only cause the argument to get completely out of hand, but you also run the risk of breaking the law.

Most problems can be fixed between neighbours in a civil manner. Still, if you are worried about the problem with your fence escalating, this article should help you to navigate the situation legally and effectively.

Can my neighbour attach or nail things to my fence?

The short answer to this question is, of course, “no”. If you own the fence and you have not granted your neighbour permission to do so, they are not allowed to attach or nail things to your fence.

However, if you are reading this article, the chances are that your neighbour has probably gone ahead and done exactly that, and you’re now wondering how you can get them to remove those items from your fence. 

So here’s what you should do:

Establish that you legally own the fence

This might seem silly, but it’s important that you check the deeds of your property and confirm that the fence belongs to you entirely. In some cases, fences are shared between two properties. If this is the case, your neighbour would be within their rights to attach or nail things to the fence.

If your legal documents confirm that you are the owner, then we also recommend you check to see if the papers say that you are legally required to maintain the repair and safety of your fence. If that is required, then make sure you check that your fence meets all the requirements, because if it doesn’t and the dispute with your neighbour escalates then they or the council could take legal action against you!

Talk to your neighbour

We aren’t necessarily asking you to love thy neighbour, but starting things off informally by talking to your neighbour may be all it takes to resolve the problem.

two older ladies chatting over fence
Have a chat!

Politely request a quick chat and explain your concerns about the fence, and suggest how you would most like the issue to be rectified. Keep the conversation civil. If the exchange becomes rude or heated, shut it down and walk away. The last thing you want is to aggravate the problem further and make settling the matter even more difficult.

Contact the landlord

If you happen to know that your neighbour is a tenant, it may be worth contacting their landlord and explaining the situation.

lady talking over mobile phone
Try contacting the landlord

The landlord is responsible for the property and its impact on the properties around it. They’re therefore legally required to have your neighbour remove unwanted items from your fence and repair any damage that may have been caused.

Likewise, if you are a tenant, you could contact your landlord and see if they will deal with this issue on your behalf.

Get a mediator

If informally raising the issue with your neighbour has been unsuccessful, then it may be worth considering using a mediation service. The mediator will be an impartial party trained to help settle disputes.

Bear in mind that there may be a fee for this service, but it will almost certainly be far less expensive than the cost of hiring a lawyer if you decide to pursue legal action.

Using a mediator can be an effective way to reach a resolution of conflict and prevent your relationship with your neighbour from becoming hostile and confrontational.

Contact the police

If the fence is legally yours and your neighbour is attaching or nailing things to it without your permission and against your wishes, then your neighbour is breaking the law, and you are within your rights to contact the police.

Unless you are in a confrontation with your neighbour which you believe is or could become a dangerous situation, please do not contact the emergency services. Instead, dial 101 to reach the non-emergency services and they will be able to take your information and start an official inquiry. They will also be able to advise you on any action that you or should not take.

In most cases, once the police are involved, you will be advised to avoid contact with your neighbour and allow the police to proceed with their investigation so that they can resolve the conflict as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Good fences make good neighbours

It is said that “good fences make good neighbours,” meaning that good neighbours respect each other’s property. This is undoubtedly true. Having a neighbour attach or nail things to your fence against your wishes is disrespectful, and can be frustrating. The result can be tension, arguments, and even the involvement of the police.

That said, in most cases, simply talking to your neighbour and explaining your feelings will be all it takes to combat and solve the problem without falling out with the folks next door.

Often the situation is merely a misunderstanding, and your neighbour will be apologetic for causing you unnecessary stress.

However, the situation works out, just always make sure that you are acting within the bounds of the law. Remain calm and polite throughout the process.

We hope this article has helped answer everything you needed to know about whether your neighbour can attach or nail things to your fence, and we hope that moving forward you will have both good fences as well as good neighbours.

About the author

Chris Lee

Chris is interested in nature and the good things that happen when people are in it. He is a freelance writer, with writing published about cycling, green living, and ways to make a difference without fundamentally restructuring your lifestyle.

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