The Laws and Bylaws of Fence Construction in Edmonton

Not Intended As Legal Advice

The information in this article is not meant to be interpreted as legal advice. Ideally, the information is digested prior to commencing a new fencing project in order to guide future action. 

We believe the best solution to any neighborly dispute is always to go with a calm, rational approach with understanding and respect for your neighbors.

In this article, we outline a few misconceptions, problems with fence construction, and their common remedies, as well as Edmonton fence bylaw.

Table of Contents

When Does the Line Fence Act of Alberta Apply?

The Line Fence Act is a legislation that pertains to rural properties outside of municipal limits and specifically deals with fencing issues related to livestock. It provides guidelines for the erection, maintenance, and repair of boundary or line fences that prevent animals from straying. Moreover, it outlines specific requirements for visible rail or dropper on wire fences across trails that have been in constant use by the public. However, this act is not relevant for use inside municipal limits as urban areas have different laws governing fencing regulations due to their distinct characteristics and population density.

Does My Neighbor Need To Pay For Half of the Fence?

Edmonton Fence Bylaw Bird and Fence Picket

Sometimes in Edmonton, Alberta, there will be neighborly disputes surrounding the topic of fence construction or replacement, often leading to the question of whether or not a neighbor is responsible to cover half of the costs of the shared fence.

By far the most effective way to ensure that your neighbor is going to pay for half of the fence is to get them to enter into a binding contract with the company that you are interested in hiring to complete the fencing project. In this situation, the contractor should split the invoice separately based on how much fence resides on the shared property line, and how much lies entirely on a single homeowner’s property.

At Sovereign Fence, if we have personally spoken to your neighbors, we are always willing to provide separate estimates and invoices for each neighbor when requested to do so. This way, you don’t have to lose sleep over footing the entire bill and hoping that your neighbor will make good on sharing the cost eventually. We will track down those payments for you.

However, if we are unable to get a hold of your neighbors, then either the project will be postponed until we receive a confirmation from each neighbor or the original homeowner who requested the estimate can cover the entirety of the invoice and collect the shared portions at a later date. If you are planning to DIY and are hoping for your neighbor to chip in, it is absolutely best to get some sort of written confirmation on what they have agreed upon. Although verbal contracts are also enforceable, it is better to have a piece of writing if you ever needed to head to small claims court.

What Should Homeowners Do Before Erecting A New Fence?

The first thing you should do as a homeowner when you are ready to build a new fence, or replace an existing fence, is to get in contact with each one of your neighbors that you share a property line with. This is the case even if you are building the fence entirely on your own property, and do not intend to ask for your neighbors to split the cost – it is just the good neighbor approach and the best way to reduce tensions in your living space.

When arranging a time to talk with your neighbors keep the conversation focused on three things:

  1. The issues you are facing due to the current fence solution. For example, you have a pet dog and it will be great to give him space while contained. Or you want to replace the current fence, as it is deteriorating and you have children who may injure themselves while at play in the backyard.
  2. The impact the new fence will have on your life. Perhaps peace of mind, safety, and privacy.
  3. The solution moving forward – such as what type of fence to choose, when it is to be built, by whom it is to be built, and how the cost of the project will be split up. Try to discuss as many specifics as possible, including fence height, who will be getting quotes, etc. This will help reduce future tensions and find common ground.

Is My Neighbor Allowed To Paint My Side Of The Fence?

It’s always best practice to talk with your neighbor before making any changes that would affect their property (including painting). However, if they refuse permission and only their side can be seen from their property then legally they could potentially take action if they disagree with how it looks.

One exception to this situation is if the fence is located entirely on your own property, with some additional room to access the other side of the fence to paint it. In this case, your neighbor would not have any say in the matter of whether or not the fence should be painted.

At Sovereign Fence, we understand there may be some differences of opinion regarding the construction of the fence, but we believe it is worth the extra effort in communicating with your neighbor in order to minimize any potential conflicts and create and more harmonious living environment for both you and your neighbor.

Can I Build Any Type of Fence I Want?

Throughout the City of Edmonton and other northern Albertan municipalities, there are a number of different fence guidelines to be followed. Some neighborhood developers will have fence specifications that are unique to the development themselves and generally need to be followed quite carefully. Although these are not always enforced, it is better to ere on the side of caution and follow the guidelines of your developer.

In older neighborhoods, generally, it is more of a free-for-all in regards to the type of material and style used – you’ll often see a mix of all sorts of fencing from house to house. There are some general bylaws regarding fence construction throughout the City of Edmonton, for example, the maximum height allowed without a permit is 6’1″ or 185cm. In front of the house, the maximum height drops to 4′. These are just a few examples of Edmonton fence bylaw. The bylaw is the same whether you are building a wooden fence, a chain link fence, or a vinyl fence.

Otherwise, if you wish to build outside of these parameters, you’ll need to apply for a permit through the City of Edmonton, which will be based upon Zoning Bylaws and a Development Officers’ discretion.

Great job and I would recommend anyone else looking to get a fence built to go straight to Sovereign Fence, surprised how clean the yard was afterward. Love the fence.
Cindy L

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