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Old 08-10-2009, 09:54 AM
4,687 posts, read 8,177,814 times
Reputation: 3256


My next door neighbor and we both moved in early this year into a new subdivision. Yesterday while exchanging pleasantries, she informed us that they are building a fence, they plan to build it right on top of our common property line and asked if that's okay with me?

At the time I didn't think much of it and said "okay". But I have a few questions:

1) She did not ask us to share cost for the fence. Since they've already started building at back of their yard, I could see that it's standard dog ear type wood fence. Should I have offerred to share a part cost of our common property line?

2) If they build the fence right on the property line, would they need permission to come to "our side" to maintain the fence?

3) Since we had plan to put in our fence next year, but we wanted the white plastic fence instead of regular wood fence. If they put their wood fence right on the property line, we will have no choice but to build our fence either right next to their fence, or have some setback from their fence. What would be the best way?

4) If we put up our white fence right next to their wood fence, would this cause maintenance problem in the future?

5) Should I ask them to consider to move their fence back 6 inches ~ 1 foot from the property line? I would do likewise on my side of fence?

They are nice neighbors and we want to maintain good relationship with them. But just want to make sure that there will be no potential conflict in the future with this issue.

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:31 AM
3,020 posts, read 22,702,450 times
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Default Forget your fence................Along their line

First forget putting two fences back to back. Sort of stupid and it probably will look bad, no matter how it is done. If you are going to put up fencing along other lines on your property, just tie into their's on that side.

Too the sharing costs, let them do their thing, it is their fence not yours. Usually they must give you the "Good" side. Many local building ordinances governing fences specify that condition, Good side must face out.

The permission thing is more common sense. I would just give them a blanket approval up front to do normal maintenance, like painting or whatever. Again common sense is required, never make a mess on the neighbors side and leave it.

You might be better off with the wood fence. Those plastic ones never work out as advertised. Everything breaks them up. Wind, slight bumps, cold weather, kids climbing over them. The shame is they are never designed right. Should have a filler material, most are just hollow, far more frail than you want any fence.

Yeah, I would not try to have everything your way. Smile, get along and go along. Over time the old adage, "Good fences make good neighbors will be true".
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:32 AM
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
4,695 posts, read 12,242,315 times
Reputation: 9381
Why don't you just paint the side of the fence that faces you white and forget about the plastic fence.
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:00 AM
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,475 posts, read 19,123,751 times
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There should have been a meeting between property owners before ever starting the fence project, to discuss they type and location. If built on the property line, you are responsible for half the cost, and should have a say in the fence being built.
You are in a scary situation that could end up in court. I would check the local city rules. You might want to stop the guy before he goes any further, and discuss all aspects of the project. Betternow than when you get to court..!
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:05 PM
Location: NoVA
230 posts, read 979,861 times
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Do you have an HOA? Our HOA rules prohibit us from putting a fence ON the property line, but also stipulates that if an existing neighbor fence is up you cannot put up double-fencing, but instead you must tie-in to their existing fence.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:18 PM
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
30,740 posts, read 37,298,187 times
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Even with an HOA you may have local governmental jurisdiction. Most use the International Property Maintenance Code or a variation which takes into account local customs. A general rule for fence construction is 6 in. off the property line due to variation in surveys, most of which mark the lines +/- 6 in. If you build a fence most codes do require you to tie in to any existing one.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:28 PM
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 42,811,119 times
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I agree with cosmic that those who put up fences MUST give you the good side. I have no idea if that is local code or if it's just common courtesy practices over the past hundred years but that is generally the accepted way. I never heard any one ever question it.

I do not agree that the plastic fences are junky. A more proper name is PVC vinyl. Vinyl will always be as strong as the day it was installed because it never rots. You never ever have to scrap and paint it is about the best argument for vinyl of all. Oh....and no splinters.

If you really really really want your vinyl fencing then why not tell your neighbor this and offer to pay the them the cost of the wood fence they want for that side only. And then you can put in your vinyl fence. By buying that one side of fencing for them you really were going to buy a fence for that side anyway!!! Everyone wins !!!

Vinyl is considerably more expensive, remember that. But worth it over time.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:34 PM
3,191 posts, read 7,883,902 times
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Yes, check city ordinances and/or HOA architectural guidelines. I think on the actual line is a no no.
Good luck...and it is a nice gesture to offer to share the expense
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:26 PM
4,687 posts, read 8,177,814 times
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Thanks everyone for your valuable inputs. Yes they do need our HOA approval but it should be just a formality as long as it's not a chain-link fence. Also, earlier this year I did talk to the city engineer (imagine that, one can actually talk to a LIVE person in the city hall) and, though there is a 7 feet setback on the property line, a fence is okay since it is not considered a 'permanent structure' (as in an in-ground pool, for example). If the city needs to take down the fence to have access to underground utility (which there is none on this side), the city will put back up the fence afterward.

Also just talked to my realtor who's also a developer on different properties, and got clarification of "on property line". Technically the fence will be flush up against the property line but everything will be on their side of property. We do have the "adversed possession" law here, so it is best to put fence on property line.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:19 PM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 3,833,284 times
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We have had 2 situations with fences with previous homes.
The first was that our neighbor behind us put up their own PVC white fence,looked nice,but they built it VERY high, higher than HOA allowed,but for whatever reason,it was never taken care of.
We decided that we were going to put up a fence as well, and we spoke to our neighbors about sharing the cost of just the one side that "shared" our yard..... we never talked specifics,but we just said that we would be willing to talk about a shared expense.
Once we put up our own fence,within HOURS,our neighbors were at our door with a handwritten bill that they made up for us for the part of the fence that we were "sharing"....
Well ,let's just say that we believe it was for their ENTIRE fence, they put the fence up themselves,so there was no labor cost involved but they insisted that the PVC was VERY,VERY expensive... we know.. we put up 3 other sides... it wasn't as much as what they were saying the one side was.
We never resolved the situation and they weren't close neighbors to begin with. I believe we did give them some money,but certainly not what they wanted.

Our 2nd.... we put up a Long Fence-wood,privacy fence,very nice.
We were in a brand new sub-division and then 2 other neighbors decided they were going to tie into ours... one asked,one didn't. We really didn't care either way.
However,the ones that DID NOT ask, decided that because the fence was there,that meant their children were allowed to climb it,into our yard??!!! they would throw their balls over the fence while playing on their trampoline and then hop the fence. They would have contests to see who could get over the fence the quickest.
We watched this go on for quite a while before we thought we should say something,purely because of safety issues. What would have happened if they jumped that fence and fell and broke an arm or a leg?
Well.... let's just say the neighbors didn't appreicate us after that and then continued to allow the kids to throw things over,they would SIT ON THE FENCE at night drinking (yes-like college kids) and use the fence as though it was their own.
We kept our mouths shut for the most part,but then they started having pretty wild parties in the Summer and decided to have kick ball tournaments (or something to that effect) and were kicking the balls back and forth on our fence.
Once again,we said something,once again,we got laughed at and they continued to just use the fence as though it was their own property...
We have since moved-thank god!

So,yes,the fence should be put in at least 6" from the property line and yes,it should be discussed with all parties who's yards are involved.
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