Good fences make good neighbors, but do you have the right to actually put up a fence? It's never a good idea to begin a renovation project on your property without knowing exactly where the boundaries actually are. neighbor fence disputes have long been a keen source of tension between property holders. This is definitely an area where you need to know your rights in full. Knowing these rights will certainly save you a great deal of time, money, and hassle in the long run.
What Areas Are Local Fencing Ordinances Designed to Regulate?
Local fencing ordinances will generally be designed with a view toward regulating some or more of the following areas:
- The size of your fence (especially its height).
- The location of your fence.
- The ultimate extent of your fence.
- The material used to build the fence.
- The general appearance of the fence.
- Whether or not a fence is allowed in the area.
The Extent of Your Fencing Rights May Depend on Where You Live
How much latitude you have to build or restore a fence on your property will depend on where you live. For example, if you live in a completely detached home on your own private property, you will most likely have much more free rein when it comes to fencing. On the other hand, if you live in a subdivision, you may find yourself subject to many more restrictions, especially concerning the overall size and height of your fence.
Most residential areas tend to restrict the size of a front yard fence to four feet, while a backyard fence may not exceed six feet. Any more, and you may find yourself in a dispute. The location of your fence may also give rise to disputes over the greater extent of your property.
Can A Neighbor Force You to Take Down an "Ugly" Fence?
Many neighbor fence disputes are started over issues that may seem laughable at first. For example, in some cases, a neighbor may try to force you to take down a fence that they consider to be ugly. This may seem crazy at first but, rest assured, there's a method to the madness. The ultimate issue here is not the aesthetic quality of the fence in question, but the damage that your neighbor feels is being done to their property values.
The Height and Appearance of Your Fence May Affect Property Values
In many cases, the appearance of a property has a direct effect on the amount that a potential home buyer is willing to pay for it. When your neighbor feels that the height or appearance of your fence is an eyesore that is affecting the resale value of their own property, they're going to call you on it. In some cases, they may file a complaint with the local zoning board. If this occurs, it will be up to the board to decide whether or not your fence complies violates any aesthetic standards that may apply.
How to Deal With Disputes Over Boundary Line Fences
Did you know that, unless there is an express legal agreement to the contrary, fences on boundary lines are the property of both neighbors? This means that even the most stubborn neighbor fence disputes can be solved in a manner that doesn't need to involve the court system. In most cases, both neighbors are responsible for the upkeep and renovation of the fence that forms the boundary line between their two properties.
If a fence should require some major renovation, or if the entire fence needs to be replaced, it's an excellent idea to do so in conjunction with your neighbor. For example, you may agree to split the cost and cooperate fully in the matter of repairing or replacing it. This is an excellent way to build goodwill and trust with the person on the other side of your boundary fence.