Gordon R. McKenzie



While carpenters build fences, there are legal matters to consider to avoid digging your post holes in a legal mine field.

Your fence should define the boundary of your property to avoid ownership disputes with neighbours. Finding the lot lines may not be that easy. Problems you could face are corners that were never marked, a missing marker or working from the wrong marker. You should consult an Ontario Land Surveyor to ensure that your fence follows your lot line.

You should agree with your neighbours on who will be responsible for the cost of building and maintaining the fence. If you can not reach an agreement, call your lawyer. The matter can be arbitrated under the Line Fences Act.

The Township of Essa, like most municipalities, has by-laws governing fences. Failure to comply with the by-law could result in work orders or fines. Call your local municipal office about this.

Many subdivisions contain easements and restrictions prohibiting construction of a fence without the developers or municipal consent. If you're not sure whether your property is affected, call your lawyer. If you are affected you should get written consent to your plans.

And most people know that you should check with local utilities to ensure you do not dig through buried wires or pipes.

Sitting on the fence and failing to deal with these concerns could result in problems for you. Be sure to look into them before you begin your project.

This article is presented as general information only and is not to be relied on as legal advice. You should contact your lawyer to see how the law applies to your circumstances before any action is taken.

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