Line Fences Act
Purpose of the Act
The purpose of the Line Fences Act is to provide a procedure for the resolution of line fence disputes between the owners of adjoining properties. Line fences are fences that mark the boundary between properties and are often referred to as boundary or division fences. The Act does not deal with disputes about fences that are not on a boundary line.
When is the Act Applicable?
The arbitration procedure is applicable to two situations where the owners are unable to reach agreement:
- where no fence currently exists at the boundary between the two properties, and one owner wants a new fence to be constructed to mark the boundary; or
- where a line fence already exists, and one owner believes that it needs to be reconstructed or repaired.
In such cases, an owner can request that a municipality assign "fence-viewers" to resolve the dispute and issue a decision which is called an "award". The fence-viewers are authorized to only address one or both of the following situations:
- the apportionment of responsibility for the fencing work between the two adjoining owners; or
- the description of the fence that is to be constructed or reconstructed on the boundary line, including the materials to be used.
When is the Act Not Applicable?
- if one owner has constructed a new line fence, on his or her own initiative, or has reconstructed or repaired an entire line fence, and then wants to use the arbitration procedure to force the adjoining owner to pay part of the cost of the completed work.
- in determining the location of the boundary between adjoining properties. Such disputes must be resolved by the owners themselves as the municipality and fence-viewers have no jurisdiction to deal with boundary issues.
- Contact the Clerk of the municipality to discuss the dispute. Many disputes can be resolved informally.
- If the dispute cannot be resoved informally then a Form 1 must be filled out and submitted to the Clerk.
Note: If the fence-viewers conduct a viewing ALL costs are to be paid by one or both of the property owners.