Paying for neighbor's fence?

meggs523September 12, 2008

So here's my situation...we moved into this house three years ago and my neighbor moved in at the same time. (this was a new development) At that time, she built a fence on her property (4" from the property line) She never asked us to pay for half, for she said she needed one because of her dogs. Now, we have decided to enclose our yard with a gate. Yes, we would technically be sharing her fence. Now she is demanding we pay for half of the fence cost because we would benefit from it's use. Do I have to pay her if my gate is on my property? There would be a four inch gap between the gate and fence, and it's been there for three years! Please let me know what you think because she is being really nasty about this whereas the other two neighbors are saying we don't have to pay them because it was there idea so they paid for it at that time.

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The nerve of some people amazes me!!! You don't owe her a dime!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 10:22PM
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no you don't have to pay for her fence. and she cannot make you.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 10:25PM
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If you're gate doesn't touch her fence and is on your property, how can she ask you to pay for anything?

Politely tell her to pound sand.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:46AM
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Don't be too quick to dismiss her request for payment.

In the state of Ohio if a fence is erected to contain animals, no matter how slight the animal, the cost of the fence is to be shared by both landowners.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 2:17AM
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It's her fence and your gate. I believe the law lazypup refers to refers to property line fences to contain farm animals.
And the fact that the fence has been there for 3 years is in your favor.
Ignore her request, let her sue you....when whe presents her suit to a lawyer...IF she does I think the point will be made.
Ask her if you remove the gate will she then remove the fence?
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 10:31AM
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This is just silly. When I moved into my house, the back yard was completely fenced in. The fence on 3 sides is mine, the fence on one side is my neighbors. This year the neighbor on the other side decided to get a dog. They told me they were fencing in the yard and wanted to advise me that they would run their front fence up to right next to my front fence. I had no problem with this. I have a dog also. Now both dogs are secure in their yards, and I never even thought to ask the neighbor to pay for part of the fence that runs along the side of their property. Yes, they benefit fron this, but so what?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 12:11PM
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A quote from the "Fences" chapter in the book "Neighbor Law" by Nolo Press: "A person who encloses property by using part of a neighbor's fence probably owes the neighbor some money". The details vary by state, and you'd need a lawyer to know for sure, but her demand just might be supported by the law.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 7:36PM
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Get a permit from the building department for your gate and make sure your posts are just inside your property line.

You don't owe her a dime, her fence is 4" within her property line so she owns it. If she wanted you to pay for half, she should have talked to you before erecting it 3 years ago.

Have you talked to the neighbor that lives on the other side of her? She might be broke and after them too.

My other guess is she didn't get a building permit or permission from the Homeowners Association for the fence and is afraid your gate will call attention to that.

You paying her would mean you split the liability. Your homeowners insurance wouldn't cover the fence in her yard if a child was hurt on the fence, or if her dog dug out and bit someone. But she would then say you paid for half of the fence so you are half responsible and she would be right.

Put your gate up on your property and tell her no.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 3:23PM
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We had the same problem with our neighbor, who put up a gastly 6' chainlink fence on the property line. We solved it by putting up 4' wire "livestock fencing" in front of the chainlink on our side of the fence, so we were not technically using their fence.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 9:06PM
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I asked my neighbor if she wanted any payment to run up to her fence as it is at least best to offer to pay 1/2 of the cost you would pay to construct that section of fence. Yes she put her fence up 3yrs ago and half of the cost now would probably pay for 1/2 of what she paid for her fence in total. She did not want anything in payment other than I keep my side of the fence free of grass and weeds so it would last longer which I agreed to and have done. I built my fence enclosing my backyard and put a post in 12" or so from her fence and run the boards within 1/2" of her fence so mine takes no support from hers or hers from mine. If you physically attach them then you are by law taking up that side of the fence as yours.
I look at it this way... if she hadn't put the fence there, I would have to pay full price to put my fence down that line and maintain both sides of it. I offered before I even purchased a permit to build.
It is best to offer before anything even starts on your project. That way you can budget for it and also helps with the chances that the neighbor will think 'Wow what a nice gesture' and let you slide with just keeping your side weed eated so it doesn't rot.
Legally I think you might very well end up paying for the full price of that section of fence. I think I would run it by an attorney for that state and offer 1/2 of the price for that span of fence but still do not physically attach your fence to it.

I would be a touch ticked if someone started building behind my house and said nothing to me and thought they were going to attach to my fence and pay nothing. If I did have to pay half of my neighbors span I would have still made a steal on that section of fence. It is all in how you look at it, just like how your neighbor is looking at it.

my .02


    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 5:55PM
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Your neighbor put up that fence for HER needs three years ago. After three years is she looking for someone (you and the other bordering homes) to pay for probably needed maintenance? If you "buy in" to her fence, are you liable for sudden maintenance and inprovement at her whim, not to mention legal liable as mentioned above. You might ask the HOA if they have anything filed against this neighbor.

If you are self-enclosing your own yard within your own property line, you are limiting yourself to your own liabilities within mostly your own control. Don't invite danger. Tell her to push off.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 2:15PM
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I try to get along with neighbors. If you use her 4" I would offer to paint or stain her side or help her out. Life is too short.

Let me run the flipside by you. I do not own a dog, so; my dog could not bite you nor bark or bother you.I had a chain link fence exactly on the peoperty line. It was technically everyones fence and legally too. They all tied into it. When it got rusty, not a soul offered to pay for even the paint to keep it rust free. I tore the damn fence down.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:14PM
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I offered to pay for half of my neighbors 2yr old or so fence span that I butted up to. She did not want me to so I will maintain my side of her fence in return. I am now using it as one span of my fence so if a picket falls off I will buy a flipping picket and replace it. If a post rots then she will replace it... but even then I don't care if I do have to replace a post EVEN if I did pay half of my cost for that span, I still got a deal and so did she.
If its that bad build your own fence adjacent to theirs far enough that you can run a mower between them and weed eat your side.Before that I would make offers in writing and copy them to maintain the neighbors fence on YOUR side do not trap yourself into maintenance in general (no posts or horizontal rails). and or half of the cost of the fence at this moment MATERIAL ONLY you should NOT have to repay her labor. Find the most cost efficient (ie cheapest) place to get material from for fence panels and measure the span and figure it up X amount of Posts at X price and x amount of spans for X price. You also want to get the prices for the same material your fence would be if it was there. You are in essence offering half of what it would cost for you to buy material for that span in an open field. As long as it is the same or better quality you are in good shape. Document everything.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 11:03PM
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I agree with the last post to some degree. The law assumes if you write at all you wrote it all, and that it how it will pass from neighbor to neighbor/owner to next owner,etc. What gets me is why isn't the fence exactly on the property line if both of you are going to have joint ownership/repair/maintenance and you are paying for half of her fence? If I paid for half of a fence off my property, I want to own the land, too for a few more bucks. I think you best do some thinking about this.

I would not tie in. Why not build a nice dog run and let her maintain her own fence and pay for it?

Trust me that not everyone likes dogs running all over and barking all hours because someone wants a guard dog in a nice area. If I owned another dog, I would walk it and build a dog run, so; the dog was not digging under fences,or barking outdoors all day, etc.

This deal makes no legal sense. Do you have a setback law for fences?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Did you resolve the issue yet?

I wouldn't pay her any money for the fence. The fence is not on your property. If a new owner took over the land, they would have every right to take the fence down and you'd be out the cost of the fence.

It sounds like she's now making an issue because she realizes her error in the placement of the fence. Four inches is not enough clearance to do the maintenance. Anytime she comes over to work on your side, she's trespassing on your property. Now that you're putting up a gate, she doesn't even have a way over!

I wouldn't make any verbal agreements with her about maintaining the fence on my side. In a few years, that fence is going to show considerable wear and I'm sure you don't want to be left with the responsibility because of an agreement. (She might leave it solely to you because you have easier access to the slats).

At some point in time the fence will need to be replaced. At that time, I would split the cost with her for a new fence but I'd put it on the property line.

You could always go the extra mile and put up your own fence (leaving a maintenance strip). That alleviates having to deal with her but then you have a hell strip you have to mow every week.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 6:49PM
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there is another question like this one, only the opposite:
what was the outcome of your situation?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Yes, read the other post for the 'other side' of the story.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 7:25PM
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