Fences are a common feature in British gardens, serving not only as boundaries but also as elements of privacy and aesthetic appeal. However, disputes can arise over fence boundaries and maintenance, particularly when neighbours decide to hang or screw objects onto someone else’s fence without permission. Understanding your rights and the best way to approach such situations is crucial in maintaining good neighbourly relations while protecting your property.

Understanding Fence Ownership

Before addressing whether your neighbour has the right to attach things to your fence, it's essential to determine the ownership of the fence. In many cases, property deeds should clearly outline who owns which fence. Typically, a 'T' symbol on the deeds points towards the owner of the fence, indicating their responsibility for its maintenance and control over what happens to it.

If the fence is yours, legally speaking, your neighbour should not alter, hang, or screw anything onto it without your consent. This includes everything from garden ornaments and plants to trellises and other structures designed to support plants.

Legal Considerations

The legal aspect of this issue falls under the broader category of property damage and trespass. If your neighbour damages your fence by drilling or nailing things into it, they could be legally liable for the cost of any repairs or replacements needed. Furthermore, attaching objects to your fence without permission could be considered a form of trespass, although legal action on this basis alone is relatively rare.

Practical Advice

Communication is Key

The first step in resolving any issues with neighbours over fence modifications is to have an open and friendly conversation. Many times, neighbours are unaware of the boundaries or legalities surrounding fence ownership and might believe they have the freedom to use the fence as they see fit. A polite discussion about the situation and your concerns can often lead to a mutually agreeable solution without the need for escalating the problem.


In cases where a direct conversation does not resolve the issue, mediation could be the next best step. This involves a neutral third party helping both you and your neighbour come to an agreement. Mediation is less formal than taking legal action and can preserve the good relationship you have with your neighbour while still addressing your concerns.

Legal Action

Legal action should be considered a last resort due to the potential to cause long-term damage to neighbourly relations. If your neighbour causes significant damage to your fence by screwing or attaching things to it, and if all other attempts at resolution have failed, consulting with a solicitor to understand your options could be worth considering.

Preventative Measures

To avoid disputes, clear boundaries and mutual respect are essential. Consider the following steps to prevent future conflicts:

  • Ensure that any new fences are erected with clear agreements about ownership and maintenance responsibilities.
  • Regularly check the conditions of boundary features and discuss any concerns or plans with your neighbours before taking action.


While discovering that your neighbour has screwed items into your fence can be frustrating, it's important to approach the situation calmly and diplomatically. Open communication, understanding legal boundaries, and occasionally seeking mediation can resolve most disputes amicably. Remember, maintaining a good relationship with your neighbour is often as valuable as the fence that divides your properties.