It may surprise you to learn that there’s no legal obligation on us as a landlord to put in a fence or mark the boundaries of our properties. A boundary is an invisible line that marks the borders of a property. Physical features such as fences or hedges may run along the line of a boundary, but it’s not legally required.
As a responsible landlord, we put in fences where we think they’re appropriate.
We only repair existing fencing in specific circumstances. You may carry out small repairs or replace the current fence exactly ‘like for like’. If you wish to replace an existing fence with something different, or erect a new fence, you must get our permission and comply with local authority planning regulations. Just contact us to explain what you wish to do. You’ll have to accept these conditions.
If you’re arranging your own fencing you might find the 'How To' guides from fencing material suppliers useful, and you can find reputable fencing trades approved by Kent County Council.
Some tenants, who are unable to carry out necessary fencing work themselves, may qualify for help from voluntary organisations in Kent. Housing Care, an information service for older people, has more information.
Here are the questions we are most often asked about fences.
My fence needs replacing. What type of fencing will you be putting in?
We’ll always try to repair your fence first but if we can’t, the type of replacement will depend on where the fence is:
- Back garden between gardens: one 6ft wooden privacy panel closest to the house, the rest of 4ft chain link with concrete or metal posts
- Back garden border with a public right of way, public footpath or road: 6ft wooden fencing with concrete posts and gravel boards
- Back garden border with rear garden access footpath or alleyway: 4ft chain link fencing
- Back garden border with farm land or fields: 4ft chain link fencing
- Front garden: no new fencing in front gardens, either between gardens or at the front or side. We’ll remove existing walls or fences if dangerous but we’ll only replace retaining walls; where there’s a difference in the ground levels and the wall is stopping the earth and garden collapsing.
My back garden fence needs replacing and I want a wooden fence. What are my options?
We’ll only put 4ft chain link fencing between rear gardens. If you want a 6ft wooden fence, you can either get our permission to install one yourself or you can pay to upgrade (only if we agree your fence needs replacing) through our Housing Plus service. Wooden fencing through Housing Plus will cost roughly £20 per metre. If you upgrade your fencing to wooden fencing and it later needs replacing, we’ll still only replace it with chain link fencing, unless you pay to upgrade it again.
I want a wooden fence in my front garden. What are my options?
We won’t put fencing in front gardens. You may install a wooden front garden fence yourself by getting our permission and complying with your local council’s planning regulations. If you put in a fence that’s too high or against local planning regulations, your local council can ask you to take it down.
What happens if only one of my existing wooden fence panels needs replacing?
We’ll always try to repair your fence first but if we can’t and just one of your existing wooden panels needs replacing, we’ll put in 4ft chain link. If a review of your whole fence leads us to decide to remove it all and replace it with a 4ft chain link fence, you’ll be able to upgrade your replacement to wooden fencing through our Housing Plus scheme at a cost of roughly £20 per metre.
My gate is broken/missing/in need of repair. What will happen to it?
First we'll try to fix it - including fittings such as the lock. We’ll replace rear garden gates we can’t repair or that are missing. We’ll remove but not replace front garden gates that we can’t repair. If we remove the fence in your front garden we will also remove your gate.
My wall is dangerous. Can I have it replaced?
We’ll arrange to inspect it and if it is found to be dangerous, we’ll remove it. We’ll only replace retaining walls; where there’s a difference in the ground levels and the wall is stopping the earth and garden collapsing.
Can I repair my fence or put one up myself?
Yes. If it’s a small repair please do go ahead. If you put up your own fence you must get our permission and comply with your local council’s planning regulations. If you put in a fence that’s too high or is against local planning regulations, your local council can ask you to take it down. You must keep the fence within our boundary and not remove any posts running along the boundary line. It’s sensible to let your neighbour know you’re going to put your own fence up beforehand.
How do I get permission from West Kent?
Just tell us what you wish to do and check out the conditions you will have to accept if we give permission.
I need someone to put the fence up for me. Can you recommend a local builder who does this type of work?
We can’t recommend individual companies for work you’re paying for yourself but you can find reliable tradespeople through the Checkatrade Scheme run jointly between Kent County Council Trading Standards and Checkatrade.com. You still need to get our permission and comply with your local council’s planning regulations.
I live in a newbuild property. How will this affect me?
If you live in a home built within the last five years, there may be some planning issues that restrict what type of fencing you can have. Please contact us to discuss if you wish to repair or replace a fence in a new property.
My dog/children can get out of the front /back garden.
We appreciate the safety of your children and pets is important. As your landlord we have no responsibility to secure or mark your property boundary. We’ll do so only if we think it’s necessary, and with the type of fencing we think is appropriate. The safety of your children and pets is your responsibility so if you’re concerned the quickest solution would be to repair or install the fence yourself if you can. If you're concerned about a neighbour’s pet or child getting into your garden, you should have a talk to your neighbour about it.
I need a 6ft wooden fence because I am at risk of violence or anti-social behaviour. Can I have one put in?
We take issues of potential violence or abuse very seriously. We believe that 4ft chain link fencing provides adequate safety and security in most cases. If you believe you need extra security please talk to us. You should give clear evidence that chain link fencing wouldn’t provide adequate security. We may not change the type of fencing we put in, but we may be able to put extra security measures in place for you.
I live in a block of flats with a communal/shared garden. How will this affect me?
Our properties with shared and communal gardens all have very different layouts, some require fencing and some don’t. Communal or shared garden fencing will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
I am a private owner living next door to a West Kent property. What type of fence will you put between my garden and my neighbour’s?
Our standard fencing will be put in all our properties. That is 4ft chain link in back gardens and none in front gardens. If you wish as a private owner to have extra fencing between your neighbour’s home and your own, you should install it yourself within your own boundary.
How will you get to the entire fence in my rear garden if there are bushes and shrubs in the way?
We need full access to carry out any repairs or replacement to the fencing. We’ll tell you if you need to carry out any work, including general tidying of your garden or removing some plants.
To request a fencing repair log into My West Kent or contact Customer Services on 01732 749400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org