Our shared fence needs replacing, and my neighbour says they won’t split the cost. Don’t they have to?

My neighbour says that because the fence was there before they bought the place, it’s not their problem. As well, they say they can’t afford the cost. The fence was built along the property line.



Maple Ridge, BC

As a general rule, if a fence sits along a shared property line, the cost for repairs should be split evenly between the neighbours on either side. Even if the fence was built by previous owners. 

However, there are exceptions. One is if you want fancier repairs than are necessary. In this case, you would be on the hook for any expenses beyond what’s reasonable. 

Since cost is an issue here, consider shopping around. Get estimates from a few different companies, and share them with your neighbour. Try to reach a compromise. For example, maybe you decide to pay for the repairs up front, and your neighbour pays you back for their share in installments.

Importantly, if you go ahead with the repairs without your neighbour’s consent, you’ll likely have to pay the full cost yourself. To avoid this, and to preserve your relationship with your neighbour, it’s best to try to reach some kind of agreement. 

For more on the steps you can take, see this guidance on fences and neighbours.

Daniel Sorensen

Daniel Sorensen

Sorensen Smith LLP
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in October 2023

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