Fences – City of Burlington

Who determines the property line?

You can determine your property line(s) by looking at your property survey, which you should have received at the time of purchasing your home. The City does not determine property lines. If you do not have a copy of your property survey you must hire a private firm to survey you property.

Does a person have the right to construct a fence on the property line?

Yes, the boundary line between two properties is the common property of the two owners. The fence located along this line belongs to both neighbours.

Does a person have the right to remove an existing division fence and replace it with another one?

yes Our Division Fence Bylaw states that the cost of reconstructing or maintaining a division fence should be shared equally between adjoining owners. An adjoining owner does not have to pay over 50 per cent of the basic cost unless the adjoining owners have agreed upon a different payment arrangement.

How is the basic cost of a fence determined?

The basic cost of a fence is based on the cost of constructing, reconstructing, maintaining or repairing a steel chain link fence that is 1.22 meters tall and has 2.54 to 3.81 centimeters left. A steel chain link fence is used as the standard for determining the basic cost regardless of the type of fence being installed.

If my neighbor is building a swimming pool enclosure or fence, do I have to pay for a portion of the total cost?

If the boundary fence is the only pool fence, the swimming pool owner is fully responsible to construct and maintain the boundary fence under our Pool Fencing Bylaw. For additional information regarding fencing for lots with pools, please contact the Building Department at 905-335-7731.

My neighbor will not give me access to their property for repairs or alterations of the divisional fence. Do I have any rights to enter their property?

Yes, our Adjoining Property Entry Bylaw allows entrance to an adjoining property for the maintenance, repair or alteration of a divisional fence. You must provide written notice to your neighbor 10 days in advance of the date the work is to begin. The written notice must include a description of the proposed work, the proposed date of entry and duration of occupancy. If the adjoining property is damaged as a result of the work, you must cover the cost of the damages.

Should adjoining property owners share in the cost of a division fence?

The cost of a fence between two properties should be shared between the two property owners as both parties are legally considered joint owners of the fence. Division Fence Bylaw helps neighbors decide how to share the cost of division fences. The steps for reaching a decision are:

  1. The bylaw encourages neighbors to negotiate an agreement for the construction of a division fence
  2. If an agreement cannot be reached, the bylaw requires a 14-day notice period before an owner can begin to construct, repair or replace a division fence
  3. The owner constructing the fence must send notice of intent by mail to their neighbor with three written quotes for the basic cost of a fence. The notice must contain wording required in the Division Fence Bylaw
  4. Your neighbor is also permitted to provide three written quotes for fencing within 10 days of receiving the notice of intent
  5. A copy of the Division Fence Bylaw must be attached to the Notice of Intent.

What do I do if my neighbor refuses to pay for their share of the fence?

If your neighbor does not pay within 90 days of completion of the fence, you may send them a notice by mail requiring them to comply with the bylaw. The notice must state that if the payment is not received within 30 days, appropriate action under Part 4 of the Provincial Offenses Act will be taken to recover their portion of the payment. If the payment is not received after 30 days, you can get an order from the Provincial Court under the Provincial Offenses Act.

I share a property line with the City. Can I enter into a cost-sharing agreement with the City for a new fence?

Please contact Service Burlington at [email protected] or 905-335-7777 to learn more about cost sharing agreements with the City of Burlington.

If there is a fence in my neighborhood in disrepair that looks dangerous, who can I call?

Please contact the Building Department at 905-335-7731 or [email protected] A survey of the property will determine the property line and ownership of the fence.

Who is responsible for damage done to a division fence by a fallen tree?

According to the Provincial Line Fences Act of Ontario, if a tree falls on a division fence and causes damage, the person who owns the land where the tree stood is responsible for removing the tree and repairing the fence.

Is a hedge or tree on the property line considered a division fence?

No. The hedge or tree can be removed with the agreement of both property owners and replaced with a division fence. If the neighbors cannot come to an agreement over removing a hedge, the disagreement becomes a civil matter and must be pursued through civil courts.

Who is responsible for trimming the height of a hedge on the property line?

This is a civil matter, which must be resolved between the property owners.

Is there a bylaw that determines who gets the “good” side of a fence?

This is a civil matter, which must be resolved between the property owners.

Who is responsible for painting or staining a division fence?

This is a civil matter, which must be resolved between the property owners.

I live in a new development, when will the developer or builder install my fence?

For new developments, fences are installed by the developer or builder once the grading is complete and your grading deposit has been returned. For more information on the grading of your property, please contact the Capital Works Department at 905-335-7694.

I want to erect a privacy screen. Are there restrictions?

Privacy screens are permitted on decks and balconies for detached, semi-detached, duplex, triplex, fourplex, and townhouse dwellings with the following regulations:

  • The maximum height from grade is 2.5 metres
  • The maximum height from the platform is 1.8 metres
  • It can only be enclosed on two sides
  • It must be set back nine meters from the street
  • It must be set back one meter from the side lot line
  • It must be set back 1.5 meters from rear lot line
  • The maximum combined length of privacy screens per unit is 12 metres.

For more information contact Zoning at 905-335-7642.

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