Do good fences make good neighbors?
Spring is a great time for projects, like putting up a new fence. Here are some tips to avoid having your new fence be a source of friction between you and your neighbors.
Talk to neighbors who will be impacted by the fence before you do any work. You may think you know where your property line is, but your neighbors may have another opinion. A survey will show the boundary per your deed and your neighbor’s deed, but property lines can and do change over time based on use. The changed property line can actually be determined by agreement or by a court to be the new legal boundary.
Assuming your line has not changed based on use, confirm the location of your property boundary by locating survey markers and ensure your neighbors agree where the fence will go. If you can’t find survey markers (some lots don’t have any), get the line surveyed unless you and your neighbors can agree where to put the fence. Reserve enough room to maintain the fence without going on your neighbors’ property and usually the nicer side of the fence (if there is one) faces the neighbors.
Check city or county requirements to see if you need a permit or setback. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, you probably need approval for the type and height of your fence from your homeowners association. Be aware that you can be required to remove your fence if it’s put in the wrong location, and you can be liable for damages if you remove a boundary fence without agreement.
One last thing: Don’t even think about moving or removing a survey marker – it’s a misdemeanor if you do!
Good fences can make good neighbors. A little communication, consideration, and cooperation with your neighbors can go a long way toward getting that fence built with both sides of the fence happy about it. And you never know – your neighbors might even contribute some money, materials, and/or labor to assist with the project!