Friday, October 28, 2016

Neighbors and Fences : Can't We All Just Get Along?

Is there a polite way to add a fence between your home and that of your neighbors?  What is the appropriate etiquette in getting their input? If it is true that good fences make good neighbors why are so many people offended when a new one is installed?  An important point to keep in mind is that the purpose of a fence is not always to create privacy and keep people out.  Perhaps they serve to keep pets within property borders, serve an aesthetic choice, or keep children safe.  If a neighbor puts up a fence where there wasn't one previously, don't automatically assume it is an unfriendly gesture.

The first step to installing a fence is determining the property line and your city's regulations. Equally important is keeping communication with neighbors as open and informative as possible.  Ask your fence builder to review the plans with you so you have a clear understanding that you can discuss with those who live next door.  After all, even with a fence between you, you'll still be neighbors.

If there is an existing fence that encroaches on your property, talk about resolving the issue with a friendly conversation but be prepared to back your idea with evidence and documentation. You can ask for advice from your city offices and hopefully it won't get to the point of needing a lawyer.

Traditionally etiquette dictates that the front side of the fence (flat flush side of the planks or slats of a wood fence) should face your neighbor or the street.  The back side should face in toward the fence owner's property.

Ask if your neighbors would like to share the cost of putting up a new fence.  Keep in mind that if you both approve of a design you should have a written agreement for the joint agreement.  It should include who is responsible for what maintenance. If your neighbor doesn't join with you to build the fence, go ahead and move forward with the design plans of your own choosing.


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