The Line Fences Act is legislation that provides a local method of arbitrating boundary line fence disputes between neighbouring property owners. 

When does the Line Fences Act Apply?

The Act applies in two situations:

  • When an owner wants a new fence to be constructed on the boundary line and no fence currently exists on the boundary line between properties,
  • When a fence already exists on the boundary line and an owner believes that it needs to be repaired or reconstructed.

When does the Line Fences Act Not Apply?

The Act does not apply in situations when:

  • An owner has already built, reconstructed or repaired the fence, and then wishes to use this process to get part of the costs of the work; or
  • There is a dispute about the location of the fence, where one or more owners do not believe it is on the lot line.

Boundary disputes must be resolved by the property owners, as municipalities and their fence-viewers have no jurisdiction in this matter.

If You Have a Fence Dispute with a Neighbour

  1. Try and resolve the dispute with your neighbour before contacting the City.
  2. If the dispute cannot be resolved, contact the Office of the City Clerk at 705-674-4455 extension 2011 or 2016 to make an application for the services of fence-viewers.
  3.  Fence-viewers will visit the property and issue a decision called an “award”.

Role of the Fence-Viewers

Fence viewers are citizens appointed by the municipality to help resolve fence disputes under the Line Fences Act.

  1. When the City Clerk’s Office receives an application under the Line Fences Act, a minimum of three fence-viewers will attend the neighbouring properties.
  2. Each property owner involved may present the fence-viewers with information and documentation regarding the need for and potential costs associated with the construction or maintenance of a boundary line fence. 
  3. Once all information has been received the fence viewers will then make a determination regarding the division of cost for the construction, repair or reconstruction of a fence between property owners.  

The award may also include a description of the fence to be built, the materials to be used and division of costs related to the application and fence viewing proceedings.

Fence-viewing and application costs are determined on an annual basis in accordance with the City of Greater Sudbury’s User Fee By-law.