Neighbour put in a fence - MUST I pay?

I moved 2 weeks ago. Today there was a fence put in that I never knew about, agreed to or even spoke to the neighbour about. How could I? I am new to this house. In any case, she is a very sweet woman and I don't think she would "expect" me to pay anything seeing as the fence and other landscaping was decided upon long before I ever moved in. Is there a law that says I am supposed to though? I don't think there is but another neighbour said by law I may have to pay. That doesn't make sense to me.

In any case, I am not in the financial situation to pay for any of it. I may offer her a couple hundred to be nice BUT I don't think I am supposed to.

I am in Ottawa if that makes any difference.


 2 Jun 2010 7:21 PM
 21 May 2008
It's usually a municipal law that requires you to pay for half the fence. I know in Oakville (and this mirrors a number of other towns), you are only required to pay for half of the cost of a chain link fence (which is super cheap), and only if the fence is on the property line. However, if it's on the property line, your neighbour should have gotten your permission to put it up. If they didn't get permission, it should only be on their property and then only they would pay for it. Also, in order to compel the other neighbour to pay half (of chain link), they have to send you written notification via registered mail at least two weeks before construction starts.

All that to say...you probably don't have to pay.

 2 Jun 2010 7:38 PM
 24 Sep 2009
Katosmama makes a good point- if the fence is within your neighbour's property lines- I would consider it part of their property and wouldn't pay half (only some "courtesy cash") unless by the laws in your area state you must split the costs regardless of where it is sitting.

Our neighbours across the street from us had a similar issue but it may not bode too well in your favour by not paying anything; one had been living there for a six months or so and then put a fence two weeks or so after a new family moved in. I don't believe the two parties consulted each other. The fence put-it-uppers asked for money from the new kids on the block- I don't believe it was for even half of the amount and the new guys said "no". That kept the neighbours in our cul-de-sac talking for a while (talk about neighbourhood drama :-p) and the new guys still aren't liked by many after that.

I think your neighour would appreciate a few hundred for the work (I know I would)- you are still getting the benefits of more privacy which to most, would count for something.

 2 Jun 2010 8:01 PM
 6 Oct 2008
 Leduc AB
I agree with Katosmama.... it depends on your city's laws, where the fence is placed, etc. We have a great relationship with our neighbor & all we did was discuss it with him as he was putting his up anyway, so we are paying 1/2 the cost of the fence between us.

 2 Jun 2010 8:15 PM
 27 Apr 2006
This is how I understand it as well.

 2 Jun 2010 8:39 PM
 11 Dec 2002
 Ottawa, ON
In Ottawa, you do not have to pay.

They should have gotten permission if they placed it on the property line, but other than that, it was their decision and so they can pay.

We split the costs with our 2 side neighbours and our backyard neighbour wasn't interested in paying, so we sucked it up. But she did allow us to build it on the property line.

 2 Jun 2010 9:53 PM
 23 Sep 2009
nope, you don't have to pay. they didn't consult you on the type/cost of fence, nor did they ask you to pay. i'd offer to pay couple of hundred dollars, but if she says no, it's ok, i'd let it go and enjoy the privacy.

we split our costs with all our neighbours, but we all moved in at the same time and agreed to put up the fence, so we all split the costs.

 3 Jun 2010 6:19 AM
 15 Jan 2003
It definitely would be nice to give some money towards it even though it is not on the property line. I do plan on giving some as a nice gesture. She is a very nice lady and I doubt she would ask for money. Who knows though, maybe she is talking behind my back. wink

 3 Jun 2010 7:30 AM
 11 Dec 2002
 Ottawa, ON
Fences are a very personal choice - chainlink, wood, cedar hedges, etc and very different price ranges.

Our backyard neighbour doesn't even like fences and would prefer we not have one. But with two dogs and two children, it is a necessity for us.

Our other neighbours approached us 1 day after returning from our honeymoon and said they were putting in a fence. No, we did not have $5k sitting around to pay for a fence after having paid for a wedding and honeymoon.

 3 Jun 2010 9:12 AM
 20 Apr 2006
While you may not be REQUIRED to pay for the fence, I would definitely contribute the couple of hundred that you were planning on doing anyway. You will be benefitting from the fence as well, and it just is just a good neighbourly thing to do.

Sweet Momma, as usual, is just being herself. Ignore.

 3 Jun 2010 9:31 AM
 21 May 2008
You are way outta line here. Ignoring the tone of this post, I disagree completely that she is responsible for paying half of a fence that she never agreed to. What if she wanted it placed elsewhere? What if she wanted a $20,000 wrought iron fence? What if she didn't want a fence at all and enjoyed the open spaces? As she was not consulted in ANY WAY on this fence, why should she bear the responsibility for it?

 3 Jun 2010 9:34 AM
 5 Jan 2005
 Kanata, ON
Do you know if there was any discussion (and maybe payment) with the previous owners? Can you check with them?

 3 Jun 2010 9:46 AM
 8 Mar 2006
 Ottawa, ON
As others have said, in Ottawa you are not obligated to pay anything towards the fence. As someone who has put up fencing of our own choice we never asked or expected our neighbours to pay anything towards the fence - it was something we wanted/needed so why would they pay for it? Makes no sense to me.

 3 Jun 2010 10:03 AM
 2 Dec 2007
 Mississauga, On
To OP, I would go to your neighbors and tell them you love their new fence and asked them if some arrangements were made with the last owners. It would also give you the opportunity to meet your neighbors and see where it goes from there. If you think the fence will benefit you, offering something would/could/should be made but if not, I don't think you have to. If the last owners were aware of a payment arrangement and didn't tell you, you can go against them for non disclosing such information.

 3 Jun 2010 12:27 PM
 6 Jan 2010
In my Municipality (Oshawa), if a mutual understanding cannot be met and agreed to prior to erection of a fence, the following can happen.

* Fence can be constructed soley on owner's property (within and inch or so of property line). Then neighbour's can not be approached for money.

* Fence on property line. Neighbour is responsible for half the cost of a 4' chainlink fence, no matter what type of fence is constructed.

Ideally, your neighbour would have had a fence discussion with you in advance. Given their was no discussion, I'd say there's no intention of collecting money from you. If you were a party to discussion, you would have had input on the type of fence.

Is your home a resale? Could an agreement have been worked out with the previous owners?

In any case, your local by-law department should be able to provide proper guidance.

 3 Jun 2010 12:37 PM
 7 Dec 2007
 Halifax, NS
We put up a side of wood fencing last summer as it was falling down into our neighbours yard. We told them we were replacing and they paid for half, especially because we did all the work ourselves.

 3 Jun 2010 2:35 PM
 19 Jan 2006
WB Addict
We are putting in a fence because we put in a pool. We did not ask our neighbours to pay because we are the ones that must have the fence. Also, one neighbour and myself bought some property from the third neighbour. This neighbour offered to pay for a portion of the fence on our new boundary. We totally accepted and appreciated it, but we would have never asked him to pay for it. If you offer the lady a couple hundred bucks I am sure she would appreciate it as well and it would bode well for the future.

 3 Jun 2010 3:28 PM
 13 Aug 2008
Also - there is a Bylaw in Ottawa that if you are putting up a fence - the nicer side must face your neighbors property!

Hope your side is the nicer one smile And no you have no obligation to pay. It's strictly optional!

 3 Jun 2010 4:00 PM
 6 Jun 2003
In Ottawa you do not have to pay. As stated on the city's website:

What does the by-law say?

The Fence By-law sets a maximum height for fences on residential properties at 213 centimetres (7 feet), with the exception of the front yard for which the maximum fence height is 1 meter (3.28 feet).

The maximum allowable fence height for industrial or commercial properties is 3 metres (9 feet, 10 inches).

A fence cannot be constructed of barbed or sharp material (including chicken wire) and cannot project an electric current.

The by-law sets minimum standards for the maintenance and repair of fences. It institutes a "good neighbour policy" where the finished side of the fence must face toward the neighbouring property and street.

Fences on agricultural lands are exempt from the height restrictions and maintenance standards contained in the by-law.

The height of hedges, bushes and trees that serve as natural screening are not regulated under the Fence By-law. They should however be maintained so as not to create a hazard, in accordance with other relevant by-laws.

The Fence By-law does not regulate the location of a fence in relation to the property line. It also does not regulate cost sharing for a fence between neighbouring property owners.

For information on fences surrounding pools, refer to the Pool Enclosure By-law No. 2001-259.

 3 Jun 2010 4:39 PM
 19 Sep 2005
Duchess of the Forum
If I was in your situation, I would just ignore. I wouldn't address the issue of the fence with the neighbour at all. I would not feel that it was my responsibility to contribute to the fence since I did not agree to it being put up, but if the neighbour brought it up I would re-evaluate based on how much money they were asking for.

 3 Jun 2010 9:01 PM
 26 Aug 2005
 Toronto, ON
Yeah if its on thier property, I wouldn't feel obligated to pay anything. Yes it would be nice to offer something but its not my fence. If they want to discuss getting any money from me, they can come and ask me.

 3 Jun 2010 9:13 PM
 12 Mar 2006
 My house
I still am baffled by this concept of paying someone else for putting on their own property.
We just put a fence up in October and there's no way we'd ask our neighbours to pay. We decided to put the fence in, and it was our cost to pay.

 4 Jun 2010 7:44 AM
 2 Feb 2009
WB Devotee
We are in Ottawa and put a fence up before the new owners moved in and we did not expect them to pay anything. We just did it knowing that we were out half of that side of the fence. We just wanted more privacy and we had other neighbours getting it so we got a group discout.

 5 Jun 2010 1:32 PM
 4 Feb 2007
 Calgary, AB
Lorax, beautiful yard! I'm jealous!

We are also considering putting a fence up ASAP to get rid of one neighbour. UGH! We will put it 100% on our side of the line in order to not have to talk to them.

Since we are doing this, we certainly wouldn't approach them to pay. If they offer, then we'll accept, but we certainly aren't counting on it.

 21 Mar 2011 8:46 PM
 11 Mar 2011
New Member
hello everyone!

wow, i never thought such bylaws exist. paying other peoples expense for a right over a property they never owned and pay taxes with. sounds crazy but at least i got an insight regarding the matter. have a nice day to all.

 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
New Member

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