New Neighbor Built Gate Off Our Fence Post

flo48October 7, 2008

We built a new fence on the South side of our property at full cost a year or so ago due to our neighbors not wanting to pay for one... Since then, that neighbor has left, and a new one moved in a month or so ago. They told me they would be building a gate on their side of the fence, and it would attach to our fence. The fence splits the property line. Can I ask them to pay for their side of the fence because they benefitting from it??

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If 'their' side of the fence is actually considered to be their property (it would have made more sense to pay for a fence exclusively on your own propt'y) then they have to pay for it I would think, but if in fact they are actually going to re-rig your fence to put in the gate, i'd want to speak to municipal people to find out if they even can do it, and who would pay. Did you not consider that putting the fence on the line would effectively be giving the neighbours a fence too, that maybe they felt they would then have some title to in terms of usage?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 5:05PM
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I don't think so. The original owners didn't want the cost of the fence. You put it up on your own accord. The financial issue was settled at that time.

Think about it from the neighbor's view (both old and new). They either have to maintain the fence or allow you to trespass onto their property to do maintenance. Unless there is some regulations in your area, the fence should have been set back on your own property. That would have alleviated your concern now.

I wouldn't expect payment at the time the land transfered to a new owner. How do they even know that the original owners didn't already split the cost of the fence with you?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Sure, you can ask them, but I wouldn't expect them to say yes. Is there an issue with the gate? Seems like that would be a benefit to you. I don't think I really understand what the issue is here, but it sounds like you are simply trying to get the neighbor to pay for part of the fence.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Okay, but even though its on the common property line, not on mine or their property, and since I paid for all of it, isn't it my fence? Don't I have the right to tell them to pay for their side?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Well, here (which I realise is not your jusrisdiction, but yours may have a similar system) all fences are built on the boundary line and the cost is split between the residents on either side at the time the fence is built. (If they disagree on the type of fence and one wants a fancy expensive fence he can only claim half the cost of the cheapest type of fence unless the neighbour agrees to pay for the more expensive one.)
If one side has no house on the land, then the fence builder may claim half the cost of the fence from the first person to construct a house on the vacant lot, but if he doesn't, then he cannot claim from a subsequent owner/occupier.
In a case like yours, since you didn't claim from your neighbour at the time you built the fence, you would not be able to claim from your new neighbour.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 11:16AM
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so - you settled a dispute with your old neigbors by doing your own thing, and now you want your new neighbors to split the cost of it, so that they can borrow half of one fence post?

where does that makes sense, on either a social or an economic level?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 2:45PM
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I don't see the big deal. It would not occur to me to ask my nieghbour pay for half of my fence so they could put up a gate.
If I was the one doing the gate I would ask if he minded and if he did I would put my own post right next to his.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 3:24PM
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How do they know the previous owners haven't already paid for the fence (for all of it or 1/2)? I'm not a lawyer but I would think you would have needed to attach a lien against the title to make notice to any prospective buyers...

What kind of relationship are you trying to establish with the new neighbors? Don't you think by causing a big fiasco over this that its going to ruin any good future relations with them? Over a fence post??? Honestly, it just sounds like you are looking for money. And are you seeking full value of the fence that's over a year old?

Is there some kind of issue with the gate where it may weaken your fence? If so, then explain that to them and ask them if they would please install a second post.

Can you 100% maintain your fence from your side of the property line? What's going to happen if you start a war over a post? They very well may not maintain it or let you trespass to maintain it. Then, you've got a wrecked fence.

Let it go. The time to split the cost is when it (inevitably) needs to be replaced. If they are not willing then set the fence back onto your own land.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 5:58PM
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other places are different, but around here if a fence is not on a property line the neighbor on teh other side can claim adverse possession just from maintaining the property for X years.

the simple law is USUALLY that the fence is YOURS and YOURS alone. if this is the case IN YOUR AREA simply be an ass and go cut their gate down from your fence. but be 100% sure before you do or you could face civil suit or even arrest for destruction of private property.

personally, as long as the gate does not harm your fence, then what is the big deal?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 11:10PM
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I don't understand how a fence could be 'yours and yours alone', regardless of who paid for it, if it is on the property line with one side impacting the other guy's yard.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 6:32AM
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meaning it is your personal property and you can dictate if the neighbor paints it/hangs stuff on it/builds off it/etc. it is your sole responsibility to maintain it, so you have the say in what happens with it.

for example, around here if you have a pool over 30" deep you MUST have a 6ft fence. most folks in town put them on the property line due to lot size. my parents backyard is fully fenced, but they only originally owned the fence on 3 sides. the back fence was the rear neighbor's. well they put in a pool and asked him could they repair his fence so they could stay in compliance with teh law. he refused, so nothing they could do. then a year later we heard a chainsaw and he was out side cutting down HIS fence. he told my parents it was in danger of falling and if they wanted a fence there they could pay to put one up. they had to do it, no choice what so ever in the matter. once the fence went up he built a lean to againt the fence to put his mower under. my stepdad went out and used a sawzall to cut it loose from teh fence. he called the cops, and they informed him he gave up teh right to attach to it when he ripped out the fence he owned. they even went so far as to tell him if he built back to the fence without my parent's permission we could take him to court over it.

other than in certain HOA nazi controlled subdivisions, neighbors here have no say in what you do with your property.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:22AM
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Yes but how can you justify it as being 'your' property, when half of it (flat-wise) is on his property? Doesn't make any sense to me.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:34PM
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so if you buy a car and park it so that part of it is in teh neighbor's yard does that make it his? a fence on teh line is ON the line, not on one side or the other. neighbors can build off it but NOT actually attach to it without permission. usually if there is a dispute they just put in their own corner post and leave a small gap. but most of the time whoever actually owns the fence gives permission for the neighbor to attach.

like i said though, if you pay to put up a fence it is yours. you don't want it up anymore, you take it down and the neighbor has to pay to put their own up.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 7:52PM
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How do you "build off" without attaching?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 7:59PM
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Look at your state and county laws and property standards regarding fences. In my state and county residential property fences built on the exact poperty line can be tied into. I tore my fence down when not a single neighbor wanted to pay one cent for up keep, yet; they all wanted to tie into it and use it. Please find out what kind of survey is legal in your state? Far too many so called surveys for closing are worthless. Get a boundary line/property line survey. I paid $500 for one, They can cost much more.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 12:58PM
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simple, you sink a post immediatly next to it and put in a fence running perpendicular to the existing fence. then the neighbor's fence serves as a corner and 1 leg of yours. this is perfectly legal in my area. but if you attach your fence to teh neighbor's you must have their permission.

our fence at work is 1" from the post for the USPS fence. it was easier for us to do it that way than go thru the hoops required to get permission from the regional director. the local postmaster told us to go ahead and attach it, but he could never get teh written ok from higher up. neighbors around us moved their fences and tried to attach to ours when we installed. since these same neighbors like to dump trash and have family reunions on our wooded lot(the reason for the fence) we forced them to remove the attachments. was it hurting our fence, not at all. but since they were buttheads we refused them the easy way.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 9:17PM
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I do not recommend setting a post immediately next to their fence. IF the ground settles or heaves in any way shape or form at the corner you can have neighbor issues. Set your post 1-2' or so from the neighbors fence and run the 2x4s past the post to 1/2" or so from the adjacent fence. This rules out any disruption to the fence that is already there and you can see from across the yard that the corner post is on 'YOUR' side and it is not tied to the neighbor. This is of course for a wood won't work so easily on chain link.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 12:19AM
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You have to check with your own city or county laws as each area can be totally different. Problem solved.
Good luck

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:11AM
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Keep in mind this is about much more than money when you choose how to handle it. These people will be living next to you. When you have an emergency, you will be running to their house for help. You will see them day in and day out.

Handle it in a way that you will not feel resentful and they will not feel like you are pouncing on them to help you pay for something you already bought a long time ago.

btw, whose property is the fence on? It is one or the other. Talk to your lawyer if you need to know what the fence implies about property lines.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 7:23PM
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When we decided to put up a fence (to keep our dog safe), we had a professional survey company come in, do a survey,and mark the property lines with flags. We then had a fence installed six feet in from the property lines, to make sure it did not encroach on any other neighbors land. Good fences make good neighbors.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 3:13PM
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