Everything You Need to Know About Sharing a Fence with a Neighbour
If you are going to build a fence on your property, you don’t need to seek permission from your neighbour. Maybe a 30-day notice in advance based on California’s Good Neighbor Fence Law is enough. The problem, however, is that if you share a property line and want to build a fence over it.
You can be a bit generous and move just an inch away from the property line. But if that is not an option, you have to work with your neighbour to find common ground. If the fence needs metal cutting in Utah or another state, this can be a problem for your neighbour because of the noise and metal dust.
Notify Your Neighbour
Traditionally, notifying your neighbour about constructing a fence is not a requirement. But if you don’t want to have strenuous relationships with your them, you have to notify them in advance regarding the construction project. Even if you are building on your property. It’s always good etiquette to speak with your neighbour about projects that might affect them.
Sharing a Fence
When two property owners share a fence, it is considered shared responsibility. If one of the parties intends to shoulder the cost of the fence, the other party is not legally required to share the expenses. But that does not mean that the paying party has exclusive and special privileges. He must still seek permission from the other party regarding the height, look, and overall structure of the fence.
If one party initiates plan to build a fence between the properties but is not willing to shoulder the expenses, the other party should share in the cost. Local laws state that boundary fences benefit both neighbours, so they should pay, maintain, and repair the fence.
If the fence has already been erected before the other party moves into the adjacent property, the latter must pay the one who builds the fence half of its cost. When state laws are vague about the rights of property owners when it comes to a shared fence, the matter should be left for the two parties to settle. Otherwise, the court is their final option.
The law places the responsibility of constructing, repairing, and maintaining the fence on both property owners since they benefit from the shared fence. But one party can be more understanding of the financial situation of their neighbour if they cannot pay for the fence right away.
The party who has shouldered the expenses of the fence can have an agreement written down, saying that the other party has promised to pay their half in due time. If the other party refuses to pay or has been delinquent with their payments, they can go to mediation or sue the neighbour for reimbursement.
Some homeowners’ associations, especially in gated communities, have provisions about the appearance of the fence. The design must be consistent throughout the neighbourhood. The association can mediate between neighbours who cannot decide on the proper design of the fence.
The key to maintaining a good relationship with your neighbour is respect and communication. Be respectful of your neighbour’s rights, especially when you’re dealing with a shared fence. Communicate as efficiently as possible when there are shared decisions that must be made.