How do you tell who's fence it is?

lakedallasmaryNovember 18, 2008

I could not find a forum to ask this, so I picked this one since it was the closest thing I could find to the topic.

If my yard and a neighbor's yard both touch a fence, whose fence is it?

I heard if the fence posts are on your side it is your fence. but one person said if the pretty side side without poles) is on your side it is your fence.

Personally I believe in the old saying: "good fences make good neighbors", so both neighbors should split the cost of replacing or repairing a fence.

The deal is, a wood privacy fence in our back yard keeps falling over, one panel at a time. The neighbor just props it up and ties it to the fence post (also rotten). I keep telling my hubby, that he should replace that part of the fence. He says the fence is not ours. I am not touching someone else's fence. The poles are not on our side. So that is why he says it is not our fence. Personally, I think it arbitrary which side the builder put the poles on when he installed the fence.

A panel has fallen again and we have a dog other wise it would be no big deal.

Last time the neighbor, was out tying up the fence to a pole, I told him we have a bunch of old fence panels left over from when we replaced our fence that touched the fount yard. I told him he could have them. I also said, if he wanted he could come over and maybe he and my hubby could buy a few metals poles and nail the old fence up to them. He never came over. Plus, I could see that this man was undressing my with his eyes. I don't feel comfortable talking to him again. He is foreign and a renter, and it is clear he does not care about the fence.

Being that is the case, Seems it would be easier for my hubby to just forget whose fence it is and fix it.

So whose fence is it? The poles are not on our side.

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martina_21

If he is a renter then the fence is not his either and you would need to talk to the property owner. I would contact him and work something out. Make sure everything is in writting!!!
Martina

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 5:21PM
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john_hyatt

The Fence Thing is a trickey deal. Most of the time its a lot less hassle to just go on and put in a new one on your side X 20 living next to a rental.

In fact it dont sound like the old one is worth fixing anyway. This prop up thing is really silly.

While you two are diging holes and hauling fence pannels put on a little short pokadot outfit, it might make the next door fool come on over and help!!! Works Every Time.

John Mon

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 6:55PM
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hendricus

When you put up a fence you are required to put the 'pretty' side to the neighbors. The poles will be on your side if it is your fence.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:56PM
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sierraeast

Required by who? I think that putting the posts on your side is just a common sense safety deal so the neighbors (especially if they have children), wont be tempted to climb on the rails. Never heard about it being a requirement, but could be in yours and other areas, not out here. Good idea to be a requirement though! Most fences out here stagger the sections concerning which side the posts are on.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:16AM
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sierraeast

Should have stated the sections are staggered concerning which sides the fence boards are on.

Most homeowners go in halves when dealing with shared fence replacements out here.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:19AM
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lakedallasmary

To me, it makes perfect sense to split the cost of the fencing and the work in putting it up if you do it yourself.

Both parties benefit from the fence so both should share in its up keep.

Unfortunately, I have not clue who the owner of the house is.

My back yard touches 6 other yards. One on each side and 4 in the back side. We live in an inside circle, so our yard is strangely shaped. Since most of our fences touch backyards verses side yards, I have never even seen most of people that live in the houses that touch those yards.

This is what is sad about privacy fences, never even see your neighbors anymore.

When I was a kid, we had chain link fences. Folks talked over the fence all the time. Now folks are scared of each other. They don't speak to each other and keep the the whole night lit up with the those dumb flood lights. I have blinds and dark curtains and still the bedroom is lit up at night. I'd like to take a shot gun to the neighbors bright flood light.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:13PM
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mike_in_paradise

and find out what the Fencing rules are. They vary widely from place to place.

Some places I have lived you are required by law to pay for 1/2 the fence and both sides must have the same grade of finish.

In other places one owner can install and own/maintain the fence.

You will not get accurate information that applies to your own circumstances on these forums.

Contact your town/city and get a written copy of the fencing regulations.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 12:42PM
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lakedallasmary

Before I posted this question here I called city hall. Was not exactly sure what city dept I should call so I started there.

I posted my question and she said she did know.

What dept in the city or person should I ask for to get a better answer than, I don't know.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:17PM
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hendricus

Building Dept.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 2:36PM
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fern4

People who benefit from other people's fences (i.e., you have a dog and you want to benefit from someone else's fence) often feel they have some right to the other person's fence staying upright. You are wrong. If you want a fence that stays up and looks nice, put it on your own property and maintain it yourself. Best is if you put it 6 inches in from the property line. That's a real line, not something you *think* is the property line.

There is no requirement to put the pretty side out; it's just the nice thing to do. However, you can put up a "picture frame" fence and then both sides look identical and nice and nobody has to suffer ugliness.

I agree with others: talk to the property owner, not the renter; talk to the city. If you want a chain link fence, put up a chain link fence. I personally think they are ugly but I understand your point about seeing through them. But stop asking your neighbors to take care of your dog!

By the way, I'm sure the fact that the renter is "foreign" means he doesn't care about the fence. Or, maybe that's totally irrelevant and just part of good old American bigotry?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 5:36PM
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john_hyatt

We will have no bad words about American bigotry over here!!!! So Funny... Straight up good advice Fern. J.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:20PM
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eaglemom100

Get this fence story. On the north side of our house we've needed a fence for years. The guy (he suggested that I, since I'm home) have 8 estimates - and stupidly I fell for it. The hubby took over the estimates and said we'd split the cost. The guy wanted to think about it. Six months later the hubby asked him which estimate and the neighbor hadn't decided. Then a year later on, get this, Christmas Eve morning he said he had someone who would do it so we could give him the money and he'd take care of it. When my hubby ask the price it was several hundred dollars more than any estimate we'd given him! When my hubby said Christmas Eve wasn't the time to do this we would do it at the first of the year. Well, its now 3, yes 3 years later!!! We've asked him and he just is ignoring it. I'll be darned if I'm paying for the entire fense - yes we have two small dogs - however its more to keep his small son out of our yard. Neighbors - go figure.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 9:35AM
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lakedallasmary

Personally, I do think if I have a dog we should fix the fence no mater whose fence it is. Convincing hubby is a whole other story!

As far as the foreign neighbor, I could see how you might misunderstand my comment.

The only reason I said that, was not all folks of this world have this obsession with privacy fences like Americans. Lots of places in this world including in this country, don't have any fence between property lines. My mother in law lives in Ohio in a rural area. They have no fence in the front yard, no fence in the back yard and no privacy hedges at all. So I guess it would have better to have said he was not from here (verses being foreign). (here being suburbia) suburbia being fixated on privacy fences.

As far as renters not caring about the fence. It is not their property so have no reason to.

Mostly, I am frustrated that I can't seem to convince my hubby to fix it. I do not have a job so I have no money to hire someone to fix it. Otherwise I would have by now, since I don't give a heck whose fence it is. I can't fix it myself since I am not strong due to illness. I could not budge the fence panels if my life depended on it. I am not good with a hammer and I might just faint if I tried to do that much physical labor. So I guess the the real problem in not whose fence it is, but being more assertive to encourage hubby to please do it.

But really, it is often hard to deal with neighbors when for the most part no one in this area even knows their neighbors names.

I have tried to get to know my neighbors, believe me. I am from a more friendly area in a small town in vermont. The way suburbanites act is strange at times. I used to bring home made chocolate chip cookies to new neighbors, but they look at you like you might be an ax murderer. I have since stopped trying to be friendly as it does not seem to be appreciated.

Anyway, thanks you all for your advice and suggestions. I guess I just needed to bounce my problem off others, to be able to think this out. You have all (almost all) been to very helpful. Thank you so much.

I am grateful.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:32PM
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john_hyatt

Hang in there Dallas, Mabey a dog run cage fence/gate thing would work. Home cheepo might have something. J.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 5:59PM
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concretenprimroses

OUr neighbors put the post side toward us (dh was young and poor when he bought the house and fence was there I think). But it worked out well cuz we (with permission) put chicken wire on the posts since it abuts our veggie garden and we grow vine vegetables on it, and of course morning glories.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 9:00PM
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davidandkasie

it really does not matter whose fence it is. if the other person owns it they can remove it if they like. then you will have to put it back up. so why not tell hubby that you need to just break down and put up your own fence as close to teh line as your local codes allow/require.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 10:14AM
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concretenprimroses

Mary I grew up in a NH town and it is a very different experience than those raised in suburbia. I don't think I'm all that friendly but I'll talk to anyone, basically. Perfectly nice suburban raised people who move here often want to live in neighborhoods where everyone has the some income and professional level (or higher if possible) than they do. (Its hard to figure out where the "good neighborhoods" are is what I've heard people say). We used to be more mixed together but thats changing as their ways get imposed on ours by sheer numbers (not that we didn't have some home grow people who think that way, lol). Its too bad I think its better to know about other peoples lives. I'm worried we'll all end up afraid of eachother. That's all probably too general but I have noticed a difference. YOu sound like a great neighbor! Sorry about your illness. Good luck with your fence.
kathy

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 11:57AM
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tabingilog

When we installed our fence, we were told that, if your neighbor does not want to share the cost of the fence, it should be 2 inches inward, from property line. If the former owners on both sides, shared the cost, this existing fence maybe on the property line.

If the neighbor is not interested and you are because of your dog, then put up a new fence 2 inches into your property - the fence company will be the one to inform the neighbor that if he attaches anything to the new fence, he is doing so outside of property line and can therefore be dismantled by you, the owner.

this may mean getting someone from the county to determine where the property line is, but may be worth your while to establish it.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 1:30AM
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sierraeast

Kinda off topic and at the risk of sounding paranoid, without the fence, even if the renter stacks personal property over the line on your lot, the owner can claim squatter rights and take your property. I've heard of this but have never experienced it. To be on the safe side, we kindly asked our neighbors to get their "stuff off of our property because you never know these days!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 10:35AM
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concretenprimroses

That can happen but I believe it has to be for a long time, like 20 years. I used to work for an attorney, andhe told me of a case of a little beach house that some people built on some rich peoples property. Part of it was that they "defended" it from others and had done so for 20 years or more. Strange huh?
kathy

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 10:33PM
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huskyridor

quote" Strange huh? "quote

Absolutely not!!!!

In my lifetime of constructing pools I've seen every type of riff between neighbors over fencing issues..

Last summer I cut 3 feet all the way down a neighbors concrete driveway to place a fence, making it 8' wide instead of the previous 11', because his builder failed to have a surveyor flag the side. My buyers neighbor claimed squatters rights because they had improved the property with the driveway. They chased my crew away when we went to cut it. My buyer actually had to take them to small claims court to secure permission to remove the concrete on his side of the line.
All because of a home builder who didn't want to pay a surveyor fee.

See ya,
Kelly

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 12:25PM
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mustangs81

In my area it is "required" to for the owner of the fence to have the pole side of the fence facing into the fence owner's property. The reverse would be like wearing you clothes inside out. A new neighbor was having a fence installed. I notice with the first 3 panels that the fence was inside out. When I called him to tell him he said he didn't want to look at the unfinished side. I said "and your neighbors do?"

I pointed him to our county's regulations:

A. General Regulations for Fences

4. Fences shall be constructed in a workmanlike manner and shall be of sound and sturdy construction. The finished side of the fence shall face outwards where visible from road rights-of-way, not including any such portion of the fence located in a required side yard or required rear yard.

5. All posts and support beams shall be placed on the unfinished side of the fence. This does not preclude the installation of post columns with spanning members of metal, wood, or other materials; in which case, the posts are equal in presentation to both sides of the fence.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 7:08AM
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celestial

First, if you don't know, ask the other property owner. It's possible that they built it and did not receive any payment from adjacent properties (as in my case--we built our fence inside our property line and the new neighbors treat it as if it's their fence, and have never asked.)

Second, check: city, county, state code and don't trust anyone's information unless it can be backed up with a written reference.

Also, check your HOAs.

If it were me, I would protect my dog without regard for whether or not my neighbor wants to pay for fence repair. It's my responsibility to keep my dog safe. But, I'd also approach the neighbor in a friendly manner first and try to arrange for a maintenance/repair plan that would work for everyone.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 3:06PM
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craftyorchid

Hi!

We're about to do some major backyard reconstruction ourselves and are facing this issue, too. We moved in 2 1/2 years ago and the fence separating us from our neighbors on the East side of the yard has begun to lean inwards toward their yard. We have a 140 lb. St. Bernard, and are either going to have to replace that fence or build a new one. The problem is we don't know whose fence is whose!

It's an excellent idea to call the city and see what I can find out from them. I have a feeling that the fence is ours, but don't want to step on anybody's toes! At the same time, I wouldn't mind having a new fence where the pretty side faces us. It's easier to maintain that way!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 2:09AM
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garden_graphic_gal

We have dealt with fence issues for 17 yrs. In my experiences, it is best to get a surveyor to mark propery lines. Fence goes on your property, "finished" side faces roadway and towards your property on the back and sideyards. This makes for less property issues and easy maintainence down the road.

Mustangs~~as quoted by your county's reguations.."The finished side of the fence shall face outwards where visible from road rights-of-way, NOT including any such portion of the fence located in a required side yard or required rear yard.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:29AM
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buddyrose

I feel your pain, lakedallasmary. I'll be going thru this next summer. My neighbor and I "share" a HORRIBLE chicken wire fence. I don't know, yet, if it's on his property line or mine. We're both new house owners so I'll have to figure that out when I get there but I do know that I don't want to sit in my yard and see chicken wire. UGH! It's even uglier than chain link.

Good luck with hubby.
rose

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 4:05PM
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garden_graphic_gal

Rose, If you and your neighbor cannot agree on a solution,Is it possible to build a new fence on your side (property) of the chicken wire fence?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 11:11AM
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miragesmack

My story.

My older neighbor and I shared the cost 50/50 to cut down three Mulberry and Cherry trees growing on the fenceline. This left a gap in fence. She suggested splitting the cost on a privacy fence. I suggested splitting the cost of all fence materials, auger rental, etc, and that I would do all the labor myself - no charge. I even did the portion on her property connecting the corner post to her house, so it would match mine.

AFTER I get this all done, there is no offer of money. I hate to ask anyone for money, but am compelled to do so. That is when she told me she that she found her deed, and realized the fence was not hers, so it must have been mine. Therefore, she didn't want to offer any money. Not even for the portion solely on her property, since she did not ask for it.

I never even checked my deed. I just chalked it up as a learning experience, where I got hoodwinked. I just never paid her the time of day anymore. She clearly wasn't worth it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 9:01PM
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Dazer

I realize this is back in '08 but I just wanted to post something up.

Just read my city's fence guideline and it said that if the post are on whichever side of the property, then its that person's fence.

Anyways couple years ago, my old neighbor's family friend drove his car straight into the side yard, which damage a good portion of the fencing between our property. He then, somehow rammed into another section of the fence a couple of feet away. The fence posts is in our yard but since it was our neighbor's friend that did the damage, they fixed the fence themselves.

There was also a time when we had major storm systems with heavy rain falling and wind blowing which took down the fence in our backyard. The post were facing our neighbor's property but since we had two dogs roaming around, my dad decided to fix the fence himself.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:43PM
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mshlz4x4

I have a similar issue -

However my neighbor's backyard fence is falling into my front yard.

He has fixed this before - as we get very strong winds in Central Texas - but recently he has not been repairing the fence. An entire panel will flop to the side of my driveway. I lean it up and the wind blows it down. Tonight we are expecting high winds again and there is a second panel that is ready to drop to my yard again and a third panel starting to lean as well (and depending on the winds may also drop this evening).
I'm waiting for HOA yard police to send something out -- but I've yet to see anything.

I would image that it is my neighbor's responsibility for two reason. He has the Post side and his fence is falling in my front yard - which my front yard nor anyone elses is surrounded by a wooden fence as designed like our backyards.
Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 12:11PM
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mshlz4x4

I have a similar issue -

However my neighbor's backyard fence is falling into my front yard.

He has fixed this before - as we get very strong winds in Central Texas - but recently he has not been repairing the fence. An entire panel will flop to the side of my driveway. I lean it up and the wind blows it down. Tonight we are expecting high winds again and there is a second panel that is ready to drop to my yard again and a third panel starting to lean as well (and depending on the winds may also drop this evening).
I'm waiting for HOA yard police to send something out -- but I've yet to see anything.

I would image that it is my neighbor's responsibility for two reason. He has the Post side and his fence is falling in my front yard - which my front yard nor anyone elses is surrounded by a wooden fence as designed like our backyards.
Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:25PM
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millworkman

Why hasn't he been fixing this fence? Have you asked him or spoken to him about it?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 1:08PM
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LOTO

I recently purchased 30 acres and had a survey completed. The neighbors barbed wire fence was about 50' on my property for almost 500' in length and their access to their acreage was also cutting accross the corner of my property. The fence and access road were put in just a couple of years ago and I am going to give them a temporary easement (until I sell the property)on the fence and drive. btw...the temporary easement will be recorded too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 2:38PM
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