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Who Pays For A Fence Between Neighbors?

Wooden fenceLet’s say you need a fence between your property and the one next to yours. Let’s also say that this fence is not for aesthetic purposes; instead, it’s a necessity. Who pays for a fence between neighbors?

Answering this question requires us to simplify this hypothetical situation, as we’ve done in that first paragraph. Why? Because there are far too many variables at play to fit inside one humble blog post.

Local ordinances, state laws and regulations, homeowners associations, land-use restrictions, and more all have a role to play in determining who pays for boundary fences between neighbors.

But for the purposes of this blog, let’s just keep things simple, shall we?

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost’s neighbor tells him that “Good fences make good neighbors.” Frost is skeptical. But he and his neighbor “walk the line” while Frost ponders the need for and the responsibilities involved with shared fence-building and fence-mending.

Fences add to the beauty and enhanced privacy or protection of your real estate. And they can definitely make good neighbors. But when you have a proposed or an existing fence that runs along the boundary line between you and your neighbor, questions may arise on what’s permitted and who pays for it.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to fence installation and how to keep things neighborly regarding fencing issues. There are wrinkles involved in local fencing laws, including whether or not to split the cost of replacing the fence between property owners.

Who pays for fences between neighbors?

#1: Know the property line.
It is important to determine the exact boundary of your property. If you are unsure, you can contact your county or title company to see if they have a record of it. The tax assessor’s office or property records department may also have a copy. It is imperative that you are certain of your property line before fence installation takes place. Then, talk to your neighbor about it.

#2: Open the lines of communication.
When a fence repair or installation is needed, notify your neighbor. Talk to them about what kind of fence you would like to install. If a repair is needed, explain that in detail. Invite your neighbor into the conversation so they feel like they are part of the process.

In the perfect scenario, your neighbor will be excited about the project and offer to help share the cost and assist in the design. Your ultimate goal, however, is to talk to them about the project, review the property line, and ensure that everything is clear before proceeding.

#3: Know the law.
If the fence is located on the property line for you and your neighbor, according to the law, expenses should be shared for installation and repair. If there is a disagreement, the party who pays for the fence can sue the neighbor for half of the fence cost. Hopefully, it will never come to that, though.

Once you have determined your property line and discussed with your neighbor what details need to be made to proceed, it’s a good idea to check any zoning regulations or rules about fence height or material, either with the city, county, or your homeowner’s association.

Your fence will create a solid, beautiful barrier between two properties. If you are ready to talk about your fencing options, our team at Pacific Fence & Wire is standing by to help. Contact us today!