Can I Paint My Neighbours Fence?

  • Property boundary lines and your rights.
  • Painting fences that don’t belong to you.
painting your neighbours fence

It’s all too tempting to paint the side of the fence that seems to be on your property, but the law might not be on your side.

Check the property boundary line

Before you start breaking out the tins of paint and the paintbrushes that you use solely for your garden, you should know that there are some laws involved here.

Legally, if the entire fence is within your neighbours property boundary line, you have no right to paint, customise, damage, or do absolutely anything to that fence. However, if the fence is over the boundary line, you can ask your neighbour to remove or move it.

You can’t claim the fence is yours because it belongs to and was purchased by your neighbour, but you can request that it be moved back to its rightful place within their own property boundaries. If they refuse to move it, you can then take action and get your local council involved.

To check boundary lines, speak to your local council. They will have boundary marking maps available, and will be able to show you exactly where your property ends and your neighbour’s property begins.

Have a conversation with your neighbour

Disregarding where the fence is on the property boundary lines, you could just speak to your neighbour about painting the fence. The worst thing they can say is “no”, in which case you can then check boundary lines and have a completely different discussion with them.

If they’re happy for you to paint the other side of their fence for your own property’s aesthetic, it would be very nice of you to check which colours they are happy with you using. It is their fence, after all. It might be facing your garden, but they brought it.

painting your neighbours fence
Painting a garden fence against a bright, blue sky.

Painting your side of the fence

After discussing the fence painting options with your neighbour, buy yourself some good quality outdoor paint that is suitable for use on whichever material the fence is made of.

See Also
plants crossing through fences

Most garden fences are made of wood, and there’s a wealth of colours and paint types for wooden outdoor fences. Choose a paint that won’t be ruined the next time it rains and remember to paint the fence during a sunny period. Check the weather in advance before you start painting!

Put up your own fence

If your neighbour doesn’t want you to paint their fence and it’s within their property boundaries, the only other option you have is to either put up your own fence or leave the fence alone.

Let’s assume you’re putting up your own fence. Make sure you keep it within your property boundaries, and that it’s within the legal requirements of fence height for the location that you’re putting your fence up in.

For the back garden, you can erect a fence of up to two metres before requiring planning permission.

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