With the recent storms causing havoc across the length and breadth of the UK, those who fix and erect fences should be doing good business. If property lettings are your business, then who is responsible for fixing the garden fence?
What type of tenure?
A leasehold property – such as a flat as well as a small proportion of houses – is subject to a lease, and this should clarify who has to fix a broken fence. With such properties, grounds are usually communal, and a repair would normally be arranged and paid for by the owner of the freehold or appointed managing agent.
Who owns the fence?
Another issue concerns whether the fence in fact belongs to that property. A generally accepted rule seems to be that that fence on the left of the rear garden, as seen from the back, is the responsibility of that property. According to the land registry, there isn’t actually any legal basis for this belief, but it does seem a fair and common sense way of dividing the cost and responsibility for maintenance and repairs.
What does the tenancy agreement say?
Tenancy agreements will often state who is responsible for maintaining the garden. Yet as the landlord you must, by law, keep the property in a good state of repair – not least to avoid injury. A fence is really a boundary rather than part of the garden. If a tenant reports a broken fence, it’s wise to arrange its replacement or repair once you’ve established that next door or the freeholder isn’t liable for it instead.