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Information for Property Owners on the
Line Fences Act
The Line Fences Act is a procedure to resolve line fence disputes between the owners of adjoining properties. The Act does NOT deal with disputes about fences that are not on boundary line or disputes about where a boundary line is.
Owners of adjoining properties who are unable to reach agreement about a line fence may apply to the municipality to have the dispute arbitrated by three fence viewers who are appointed by municipal Council.
When does the Act apply?
no line fence currently exists and one owner wants a new fence constructed to
mark the property boundary.
a line fence already exists and one owner wants it repaired or reconstructed.
A fence-viewer award can deal with the following issues:
apportionment of responsibility (cost and labour) for the fencing work.
description of the fence, including the materials to be used.
When does the Act not apply?
the dispute is over the location of the property boundary.
one owner, on their own initiative, has built a new line fence or repaired an
existing one and then wants to use the arbitration process to force the
adjoining owner to be responsible for part of the cost.
the adjoining property is a municipal or a provincial highway.
An informal discussion between a municipal staff member and the owner of the adjoining property may
sometimes help to resolve a situation without the need for fence viewers. Owners may become more willing to resolve their dispute themselves once they’re made aware that they will be required to pay for a fence viewing and its related cost.
Who owns a Line Fence?
The Line Fences Act does not answer this. It may be necessary to look at specific circumstances, such as who built the fence and who currently maintains it, before determining who the owner is.
Process for a landowner to follow:
the municipality to see if the Line Fences
Act can help to arbitrate a specific situation.
Clerk will review the circumstances to see if the Act applies. The Clerk will
also discuss possible options on approaching the adjoining owner for a
resolution without fence viewers.
the decision is made to proceed under the Act,
the landowner must complete FORM 1 and submit it to the municipal office.
Clerk will assign three fence viewers and set a date and time for the
viewing. A written notice of the viewing
will be sent to both owners and the fence viewers.
fence viewers’ decision will also be mailed to both owners after the viewing.
fence viewer’s decision can be appealed to a provincially-appointed referee.
Line Fences Act
- search Line Fences Act
Ministry of Municipal Affairs - Line Fences Act
Copyright 2014 Municipality of Southwest Middlesex
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