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Old 05-14-2008, 04:41 AM
 
Location: FL
1,919 posts, read 5,547,366 times
Reputation: 2041
Default Neighbor questions about property line and trees/fencing....

Hello,
I just moved into a house and have two questions:

1. My house is fenced in the back. I know that the two sides of my fence are mine because the "bad" part is facing inward. They are right on my property line and sometime in the future I am going to move them into my property just a little bit so that I can step around to the other side of the fence and still be on my property to get to that side of the fence, and not on my neighbor's side. However, the back of the fence has the good side facing me, which makes me think that it is my back neighbor's fence, however, it not just is on my property line, but a little into my property. No big deal, but that fence is warping a little, and some boards are coming up. If it's our fence, we would want to fix it a bit before we replaced it in the future. If it's not our fence...we would want to add our own fence so that we can not have some rotted wood, some lifted boards, and then in the back in one spot it's not meeting the side fence and there's some gaps. Is the only way to find out it's my neighbor's fence is to have to go and ask? And if it is....how would you approach the fact that it's into my property...damaged, and I am going to want to put my own fence in that spot where his is now??????

2. On all three sides of the fence, the neighbors do not take care of their trees and bushes, and I have the branches and weeds all coming over the fence and hanging about all in my yard, and growing down on my fence. Am I allowed, since it's in my property, to cut them and trim them so it's not hanging all in?? Should I tell them first, or "ask" them first?
Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:49 PM
 
13,775 posts, read 25,160,968 times
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I know you are looking for a Florida answer...

Where I live, on the other side of the country, the only way to know property lines is by Survey... and the only way to guarantee the information should a problem come up later is for the survey to be certified to you... in other words... you paid for it.

As far as trees and such, we are permitted to trim anything encroaching with the only caveat... don't kill it...
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
6,543 posts, read 6,528,331 times
Reputation: 7580
Property lines can be tricky. If you really want to be sure where the property line is, hire a surveyor - we did this and then one neighbor actually tried to say that the surveyor got it wrong. We had to tell her the surveyor was right and then proceeded to put up the fence. She didn't want us to fence our yard for our dogs because her kids were always playing in our yard - go figure! If you don't want to spend the money, ask the neighbors, but know that sometimes they lie.

It is my understanding that anything that is on your property you are entitled to trim.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Sugar Grove, IL
3,132 posts, read 7,402,798 times
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If you recently bought the house, there should have been a survey performed. You can check with the municipality or county that you live in for some info about the zoning code regarding fences. If there was not a survey done, you could have this done. it is probably a few hundred dollars. I would not recommend doing anything until you have verified the property line and the zoning code for fences etc. Plus, if you take the fence down, your municipality may require a permit to re-install. some require inspections etc when they are being constructed. good luck
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:06 PM
 
13,779 posts, read 16,614,372 times
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It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission...hahaha! Just kidding.

When I had a fence put in the surveyor and the fence folks told me to come in to my property at least a foot but preferably 18 inches when the fence was installed. There is a legal term for that property in between but I cannot remember what it is.

I would trim the tree back and kill the weeds off with some of that crazy stuff that would scorch the earth.

About the fence in the back that is bowed...if you believe it is theirs and they deny it, tell them you are plannign on putting up a 10' chain link fence with the rubber lacing for privacy. You can even change the colors of the rubber for the different holidays!
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:47 PM
 
1,845 posts, read 3,202,569 times
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Quote:
I know that the two sides of my fence are mine because the "bad" part is facing inward.
Not necessarily. Some people construct their fences so they themselves see the "good" side. Sometimes the tract builder puts in all the fencing in advance, on the property lines. And in some areas, it's common for neighbors to share the cost of the fence between them, often putting it right on the property line... they co-own it and each takes care of their own side and splits costs of repairs.

Quote:
I am going to move them into my property just a little bit so that I can step around to the other side of the fence and still be on my property to get to that side of the fence, and not on my neighbor's side.
The neighbor would probably view your "stepping around" as an intrusion into his backyard space, an area where most homeowners have a higher expectation of privacy. Besides the potential for creating a bad relationship with your neighbors, there is also the possibility that you could eventually lose that portion of your property on the other side of your fence, through the doctrine of adverse possession. Is your need to get to the other side of the fence worth the hassles and cost of moving it?
Quote:
Is the only way to find out it's my neighbor's fence is to have to go and ask?
If you are in an area where a building permit is needed to put up a fence, you can check what's on file for your property. You said you just moved there... you could ask your realtor or the previous owner if you have a way to contact them. If not, then start a friendly conversation with the neighbors complimenting something about their place and then slip the fence into the conversation in a non-critical way. That would also be a good time to casually mention you plan on trimming the foliage that is on your side of the fence. You do have the legal right to trim what is on your side, but you do have to live next to them and politeness and tact makes for better neighbors. You might end up really liking them once you get to talking. In any event, it's good to make an effort to have a civil relationship with them. Neighbors are often the first ones to come to each other's aid in medical emergencies or natural disasters.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:06 PM
 
Location: FL
1,919 posts, read 5,547,366 times
Reputation: 2041
Quote:
Originally Posted by hcgCali View Post
Not necessarily. Some people construct their fences so they themselves see the "good" side. Sometimes the tract builder puts in all the fencing in advance, on the property lines. And in some areas, it's common for neighbors to share the cost of the fence between them, often putting it right on the property line... they co-own it and each takes care of their own side and splits costs of repairs.


The neighbor would probably view your "stepping around" as an intrusion into his backyard space, an area where most homeowners have a higher expectation of privacy. Besides the potential for creating a bad relationship with your neighbors, there is also the possibility that you could eventually lose that portion of your property on the other side of your fence, through the doctrine of adverse possession. Is your need to get to the other side of the fence worth the hassles and cost of moving it?
If you are in an area where a building permit is needed to put up a fence, you can check what's on file for your property. You said you just moved there... you could ask your realtor or the previous owner if you have a way to contact them. If not, then start a friendly conversation with the neighbors complimenting something about their place and then slip the fence into the conversation in a non-critical way. That would also be a good time to casually mention you plan on trimming the foliage that is on your side of the fence. You do have the legal right to trim what is on your side, but you do have to live next to them and politeness and tact makes for better neighbors. You might end up really liking them once you get to talking. In any event, it's good to make an effort to have a civil relationship with them. Neighbors are often the first ones to come to each other's aid in medical emergencies or natural disasters.
Thanks for everyone's answers. When I bought the house, it was surveyed, which is how I found out where my property line is, and they even put a seperate line on the survey to show where the fence is in accordance to my property line. That is the reason why I woudl think that the back fence is mine- it is into my property a slight tad.

Florida does make you get permits for everything- is that info online? Contacting the previous owners will not be able to happen.

The only reason why I would want to step around the fence is because I am a big decorator and I would like to decorate around the sides of the fence. Now yes, I could probably getr a ladder, and hang it over, but if it were easier to just do it from in front of it, I wouldn't be able to do that now because the other side is the neighbors. Plus, I also heard that if it is right on the property line, the neighbor could actually hang stuff onto the fence, since it would be hanging over on their side??? Or is that just nonsense??

I figured, if I put it into my property, I'd be able to reach the front of the fence...and I dont' really understnad how the neighbor could have an issue with me goign to the front of my fence...when after all, in the front of it....whether or not it appears to be so...but it is my property after all.

I didn't want to put any of my neighbors off, which is why I wanted to get responses to help me figure out what to do.

Thanks so much!
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:25 PM
 
6,961 posts, read 8,910,647 times
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1. If you are worried about what your neighbor is going to think, talk to them, and you may make a new friend!

2. Make sure you get a survey of where the property line is ASAP and figure out if the fence is yours or not. If it belongs to your neighbor, the property can by default become theirs.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:27 PM
 
Location: NH. NY. SC. next move, my ground condo
3,543 posts, read 8,926,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgresident View Post
If you recently bought the house, there should have been a survey performed. You can check with the municipality or county that you live in for some info about the zoning code regarding fences. If there was not a survey done, you could have this done. it is probably a few hundred dollars. I would not recommend doing anything until you have verified the property line and the zoning code for fences etc. Plus, if you take the fence down, your municipality may require a permit to re-install. some require inspections etc when they are being constructed. good luck

this is very true. i have a neighbor that put his fence up so the bad side is facing us. so you do have to get the facts about who's fence is who's. people will lie just so they don't have to change it around or so they get to look at the nice side. i would definatly get a hold of your local code enforement officer. they will be able to tell you what is what .
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,488 posts, read 25,992,256 times
Reputation: 14002
Zoning laws will dictate. Privacy fences and decorative fences are different than livestock fencing. With livestock fencing, neighbors generally realized that a sturdy fence benefited both parties when at the property line, especially if both had cattle or other livestock. In many suburban areas, a fence MUST be on the property line, and an automatic easement to the neighbor's property is created for fence repair and upkeep, HOWEVER, the "good" side of the fence must face the neighbors. In other areas, a fence three feet back from the line is acceptable, but the swale must be maintained. It makes no sense to put up a fence before knowing the local ordinances or HOA rules.
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