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Old 02-25-2018, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Houston TX
1,333 posts, read 1,013,757 times
Reputation: 848

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Last night we had very strong winds / kind of a small local hurricane / and half of my fence (~40 ft) partially collapsed.

My first thought was to grab tools and get if fixed on my own immediately, but the fence landed on the neighbors' property and caused some light damage there. The fence is directly on a property line, right between two lots. So I decided to wait till the neighbor comes back.
Anyway this fence is heavy and 2nd person is needed.

But the neighbor's wife already told me he is not a DIY type of person (completely opposite of me) and will not participate in any repairs. They already called someone to come and provide estimate tomorrow.
I told her I do not have a budget for this project this year so they should not expect my financial contribution. But I am more than willing to provide labor and do the repairs.

I did a brief inspection and the posts seemed fine to me. The ground just completely soaked after the recent massive rains and the posts lost their grip in the ground. But I believe it can be fixed in a couple of hours. Maybe it will not be very strong, but can last a couple of years. And we can reinforce the posts with some metal.

However there is 97% chance they will not consider any DIY repairs and will just hire a contractor. Market estimate is $2500-3000. I know they want to redo this fence completely (they already approached me half a year ago).

I am not going to approve these expenses. But how to refuse sharing the expenses politely? I do not want to become enemies with them. I already mentioned that I am ready to do DIY repair together, not sure if this is enough.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-25-2018, 09:34 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
37,714 posts, read 55,375,930 times
Reputation: 89147
Did they ask you to share the costs of replacement? If not, I would tell them that you can repair the damaged part between your properties, but if they want to hire contractor and replace the entire fence, then they are on their own.

You can figure out who originally installed that fence by looking at it, and determining which side " looks pretty". If is yours, then most likely the fence is theirs.
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Last edited by elnina; 02-25-2018 at 09:42 PM..
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Houston TX
1,333 posts, read 1,013,757 times
Reputation: 848
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
Did they ask you to share the costs of replacement? If not, I would tell them that you can repair the damaged part between your properties, but if they want to hire contractor and replace the entire fence, then they are on their own.

You can figure out who originally installed that fence by looking at it, and determining which side " looks pretty". If is yours, then most likely the fence is theirs.
Thanks. This fence has some history. It has alternating sides (pretty -> not pretty -> pretty, etc).

I've been told it was installed by the original owner of my house before even the neighbors moved in. But it doesn't matter much anymore since it was the previous owner's business.

In fact I do not really need an entire fence repaired. Few months ago I already did a quick fix to the ugliest part of this fence and since then I was totally satisfied with it as is. Right now I just need to put the collapsed part back, and they need this even more.

I already told them that I can repair the damaged part between the properties, but if they want to hire contractor and replace the entire fence, then they are on their own. I don't know if this would create a tension in a future.
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,999 posts, read 22,732,087 times
Reputation: 34905
I think you already handled it politely already and she was a jerk. But, I have an idea...

I think you need to put things in writing, but I think you'd have a good excuse for doing so, by bringing in your insurance coverage. As if you're including your insurance info, that of course, they'd want in writing.

Call your insurance company and see what they would cover. Then, put that info in writing for your neighbor. But, also include the complete story about you offering to fix the fence. Maybe something along the lines of:

Dear Snotty Neighbor:

After the fence was damaged between our properties and I came to talk to you about the two of us repairing it, but you told me that you wanted to replace the entire fence, I contacted my insurance company to see what would be covered. Here's my insurance info and what they said:

blah blah, what the insurance company said, which probably won't cover a new fence....

Please contact your insurance company, and give me their information, so we can see what will be covered in total between our two insurance companies. I do want to be clear that I am able and willing to do the repairs with just another set of hands, and am not able to purchase a new fence if it is not necessary according to our insurance companies.

Regards,

You

Something along those lines. Just so it's in writing in case they try to take it to court. But, a judge probably isn't going to require you to buy a new fence, if insurance companies say a new fence isn't necessary. And if you have made your position clear in writing before they start hiring contractors, they can't later say they didn't know you'd object, or say that you were told they were going to do it and you hadn't objected.

At any rate, I'd bring insurance into it. That gives you a stronger argument regarding the necessity. If the insurance company says they'll only cover repairs and don't deem it as completely destroyed, that's a pretty strong argument and not just you saying you don't want to pay.

Good luck. Ugh, what a pain.
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:55 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
37,714 posts, read 55,375,930 times
Reputation: 89147
Please read this:
Whose Claim is a Blown-Over Fence? - Wise Insurance Group

http://www.houstonfencecodes.com/houston <<< and this, especially the part about Property Line Issues.
Hope it helps.

If for whatever reason you end with financial responsibility, you should then get a fifty percent say in which bid you take from a contractor to rebuild the fence. And if your neighbor wants something more elaborate, you may be able to reasonably insist on capping your contribution at a certain level.

Note: one thing to keep in mind is that only one person will be allowed to claim the cost of the fence as a capital improvement, so that should be taken into account. If the neighbor owns the fence and plans on claiming the expenses, it wouldn't make sense for you to pay for some of them.

Oh...what about HOA?
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Last edited by elnina; 02-25-2018 at 11:20 PM..
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Old 02-26-2018, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Houston TX
1,333 posts, read 1,013,757 times
Reputation: 848
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
I think you already handled it politely already and she was a jerk. But, I have an idea...

I think you need to put things in writing, but I think you'd have a good excuse for doing so, by bringing in your insurance coverage. As if you're including your insurance info, that of course, they'd want in writing.

Call your insurance company and see what they would cover. Then, put that info in writing for your neighbor. But, also include the complete story about you offering to fix the fence. Maybe something along the lines of:

Dear Snotty Neighbor:

After the fence was damaged between our properties and I came to talk to you about the two of us repairing it, but you told me that you wanted to replace the entire fence, I contacted my insurance company to see what would be covered. Here's my insurance info and what they said:

blah blah, what the insurance company said, which probably won't cover a new fence....

Please contact your insurance company, and give me their information, so we can see what will be covered in total between our two insurance companies. I do want to be clear that I am able and willing to do the repairs with just another set of hands, and am not able to purchase a new fence if it is not necessary according to our insurance companies.

Regards,

You

Something along those lines. Just so it's in writing in case they try to take it to court. But, a judge probably isn't going to require you to buy a new fence, if insurance companies say a new fence isn't necessary. And if you have made your position clear in writing before they start hiring contractors, they can't later say they didn't know you'd object, or say that you were told they were going to do it and you hadn't objected.

At any rate, I'd bring insurance into it. That gives you a stronger argument regarding the necessity. If the insurance company says they'll only cover repairs and don't deem it as completely destroyed, that's a pretty strong argument and not just you saying you don't want to pay.

Good luck. Ugh, what a pain.
Thank you for the advice!
Actually my insurance deductible is above the highest possible cost of the entire fence rebuilding.
And currently I am in a process of switching to another insurance company (the current policy is about to expire). At this point I am not sure if it makes sense to contact the current insurance company, but I will think about it. I would probably first start with HOA tomorrow and let's see...
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Old 02-26-2018, 12:39 AM
 
Location: Houston TX
1,333 posts, read 1,013,757 times
Reputation: 848
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
Please read this:
Whose Claim is a Blown-Over Fence? - Wise Insurance Group

Fence Codes Houston TX <<< and this, especially the part about Property Line Issues.
Hope it helps.

If for whatever reason you end with financial responsibility, you should then get a fifty percent say in which bid you take from a contractor to rebuild the fence. And if your neighbor wants something more elaborate, you may be able to reasonably insist on capping your contribution at a certain level.

Note: one thing to keep in mind is that only one person will be allowed to claim the cost of the fence as a capital improvement, so that should be taken into account. If the neighbor owns the fence and plans on claiming the expenses, it wouldn't make sense for you to pay for some of them.

Oh...what about HOA?
Thank you again Elnina. I will call HOA first tomorrow. I will take other things into account as well.
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,489 posts, read 8,696,094 times
Reputation: 12142
In your position, OP, once I got through with the all the BS with my neighbor, I'd get more technical information about fence construction in your area to avoid the twin problems of saturated soils and high winds. This will guide you to the type of fence you need to build to avoid this from happening again. Gravity will be your friend, as well as a fence facing design that does not act 100% as a sail.
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Old 02-26-2018, 05:20 AM
 
16,025 posts, read 19,571,183 times
Reputation: 26194
If it is your fence, which in post #3 you said it was "I've been told it was installed by the original owner of my house before even the neighbors moved in"

...and you say that you don't need it, then take it all down. Replace it when you can afford to do it right.

Or, simply start repairing it without the help of the neighbors.

It is not right for you to rely on the neighbors to replace your fence, especially since you are unwilling to pay half to costs.
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Old 02-26-2018, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,078 posts, read 3,428,541 times
Reputation: 10133
Fences are rarely ON a property line. Before you go any farther, you need to determine via your house survey, exactly where the fence sits.
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