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How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: March 09, 2009 09:00AM
So our fence is starting to show its age (rusted nails, leaning, rotting wood, badly discolored, etc.).

The fence borders with 4 neighbors' backyards.

I'm wondering how does one go about getting neighbors to:

A) agree to installing a new fence
B) agree to paying for a new fence
C) agree to splitting the cost of the new fence

Is the cost of the new fence split evenly among the 5 of us? Or, is the split based on how much fence is required for each neibhor's portion?

Thanks.



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: March 09, 2009 09:04AM
A. Depends on your local regulations about putting in a fence. Some places you just go and replace it, others you have to go through all kinds of paperwork and notification to neighbors.

B & C. You are dreaming if you think you will be able to get the neighbors to go in on the cost.



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Buckeye_Sean
Date: March 09, 2009 09:04AM
I would say "talk" to all your neighbors first and just casually bring up the idea "if" they might be interested in repairing the fence. Suggest that everyone could share the costs and see where that goes.

Hopefully you have good neighbors - I wish you luck.




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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: March 09, 2009 09:07AM
Quote
JoeH
A. Depends on your local regulations about putting in a fence. Some places you just go and replace it, others you have to go through all kinds of paperwork and notification to neighbors.

B & C. You are dreaming if you think you will be able to get the neighbors to go in on the cost.

I guess I'm just ignorant and naive. I just assumed that neighbors would split the cost because it is, after all, their fence as well.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: AAA
Date: March 09, 2009 09:08AM
How I did it was I paid for it.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: March 09, 2009 09:10AM
Around here the fence is the property of the property owner who put it up, and would be on their land. Therefore it would be their expense to repair or replace.



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Dakota
Date: March 09, 2009 09:13AM
What if the neighbors don't care? Who put it up first?
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: March 09, 2009 09:13AM
Either:
1- not at all
2- In a friendly fashion

A fence is part of an individual landowner's property. In fact, most areas require that the fence be installed a measurable distance INSIDE the owner's property line (in my area, it's 6"). Which is why I also weed-whack / mow the border outside my fence, except where the neighbors have piled mulch or put sandboxes and flower beds.

Invite your neighbors over for drinks and discussion ! I did that when we decided to replace the split rail fence around our old house with a privacy fence, so neighbor kids wouldn't end up in the pool, and our kids, puppies, and kitties could roam freely without ending up on the street. They were very nice about it, and appreciated being asked. However, I paid for the whole thing.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 09, 2009 09:13AM
Quote
pinkoos
I guess I'm just ignorant and naive. I just assumed that neighbors would split the cost because it is, after all, their fence as well.

Around here, whoever owns the land that the fence is on owns the fence. If you want a fence you put it up on your land. There is no joint ownership of the fence because there is no joint ownership of the land.

It is not uncommon to see some put up a fence right against someone else's fence.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 09, 2009 09:21AM
>>It is not uncommon to see some put up a fence right against someone else's fence.

FENCE VS FENCE!!!



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: March 09, 2009 09:24AM
When I first read your post, there were no responses, and I started to make some disparaging remark about neighbors sharing the cost of a fence. I figured we'd just always lived around a bunch of scrooges, but maybe not! Fences around our yards have always been ours, and, as a matter of fact, there is a double fence across about 85% of my back property line now. I think it would be really nice if people could agree to share the costs, but don't count on it. Also keep in mind that if they share the cost, they may also feel entitled to a say in what the fence looks like, and you might not want to go there.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 09, 2009 09:25AM
Quote
mattkime
>>It is not uncommon to see some put up a fence right against someone else's fence.

FENCE VS FENCE!!!

Yeah, if you don't like your neighbors chain link then put up your own, taller, wood fence. The he takes down his because yours is nicer. Neat how that works out.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: rz
Date: March 09, 2009 09:28AM
When I moved into our current house, we got a survey which showed that the fence between us and the neighbor was actually 24" on our side of the property. The neighbor was not too happy about having to give up 2 feet of back yard, but the fence needed replacement, and it is legally our yard. I didn't ask, nor did I expect him to pay for any of it.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: spacescape
Date: March 09, 2009 09:30AM
What I did was talk to the neighbor in back of me and neighbor on the side of me. First I determined that I was going to do it either way. Then I got some pricing on a couple of styles. Then I went to neighbor "A" and discussed the fact that he had three dogs, the fence was falling down and that I had a one year old and if he was fine if it was replaced. He agreed. Then I asked "IF" he would be willing to split the cost. Then I told him that "the fence between our yards is 90 feet... here is the cost for your half for this style... is this fine with you".... He agreed. The guy behind me was even easier. I paid for 1-2 panels for the small chunk behind (about 10 feet) because that was a elderly couple and never met them. I knew the fence ordinance didn't require me to pull down the old fence first so I just put that section up in front of the old fence.

If you are determined to do the fence either way just get their permission and then ask if they will help pay for it.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: zeppo2
Date: March 09, 2009 09:37AM
With a wooden fence, often one side is finished and has the smooth boards pointing outwards, while on the other side there are open studs, etc. When I had our fence built, I went to our neighbor and gave him the option of choosing which side he wanted, with the open stud side being 40 percent of the cost. He went for the cheap side and was willing to pitch in. On the other hand, the neighbors across the street from us couldn't get their neighbor to pitch in, so it all depends on the neighbor.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Mike Sellers
Date: March 09, 2009 09:52AM
Quote
zeppo2
With a wooden fence, often one side is finished and has the smooth boards pointing outwards, while on the other side there are open studs, etc.

And many homeowners' assoc. covenents dictate that that the finished side face out. If the fence is on your property, I wouldn't hold out too much hope of any neighbors helping your out. You could tell them you're going to take it down since it's in bad shape and not replace it because it's too expensive. If they like the privacy, then they may offer to help with the costs.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Mike Sellers
Date: March 09, 2009 09:55AM
Quote
pinkoos
Is the cost of the new fence split evenly among the 5 of us?

Absolutely not. I assume your property borders on four others. At best, you should pay for half and the neighbors would split the other half four ways, making their share an eighth. And that's only if they share an equal amount of fence with you.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Acer
Date: March 09, 2009 10:00AM
Around here, a fence has to be 2 feet from the border onto your property, one reason being (I presume) that it remains clear who the fence belongs to.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: AAA
Date: March 09, 2009 10:10AM
My neighbor's was up first. SO, it was inside their line. When we went to put one up, it did not make sense to run 100' parallel to theirs. So, we just ran the perpendicular section across their line (a few feet) and attached to their fence. Now, we are responsible for painting their fence side that faces us, but we also get an extra bit of land in the swap. (theoretically, of course)

New owners move in? Then who knows how it will be handled? I've had three or four different people living in that house. It's never been a problem yet.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: March 09, 2009 10:30AM
Quote
AAA
My neighbor's was up first. SO, it was inside their line. When we went to put one up, it did not make sense to run 100' parallel to theirs. So, we just ran the perpendicular section across their line (a few feet) and attached to their fence. Now, we are responsible for painting their fence side that faces us, but we also get an extra bit of land in the swap. (theoretically, of course)

New owners move in? Then who knows how it will be handled? I've had three or four different people living in that house. It's never been a problem yet.

I think after 8 years uncontested, that property may end up being yours. Thats the way it works in Seattle.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 09, 2009 10:39AM
Quote
Racer X
I think after 8 years uncontested, that property may end up being yours. Thats the way it works in Seattle.

In Maryland it takes 25 years. Look up "squatting rights".
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: March 09, 2009 10:43AM
Quote
mikebw
Quote
Racer X
I think after 8 years uncontested, that property may end up being yours. Thats the way it works in Seattle.

In Maryland it takes 25 years. Look up "squatting rights".

I'm keeping an eye on a few things like this. My second detached garage is highly illegal, but I am home free now, been longer than 7 years.

First it was a concrete pad, then it was roofed over, then the walls went up.........



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2009 10:44AM by Racer X.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: March 09, 2009 10:45AM
Pink,

You need to check local city and village laws about the fence. You may be restricted to the height, type and location on your property and you may need permits as well. As a courtesy, you should inform your neighbors as to what you're doing with the fence. But, as long as the fence is within code and on your property, they have no say in it.

Robert
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: March 09, 2009 10:54AM
Okay, so now I'm thoroughly confused. We live in a gated community with a Homeowner's Association for which I would have to get approval for anything done to the exterior of my house and/or yard.

I guess I need to look at our ?plot (the thing that shows the actual dimensions of everything on our property, etc.) to see where the fence lies, but there are so many borders, I guess one border could fall on my property, a different border could fall on one neighbor's property, etc.

As for what side of the fence faces whose yard, it alternates: one "panel" (for lack of a better word) will have the finished side facing my backyard whereas the next panel has the finished side facing the neighbor(s)' backyard and so on and so forth.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: davester
Date: March 09, 2009 10:59AM
I've never had an issue with sharing fence cost with neighbors, but then I've always been good friends with my neighbors everywhere I've lived. The 2 feet or 6 inches inside the property line requirement cited for some areas sounds odd to me. Pretty ridiculous having two separate fences. Can't we all just get along?



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: March 09, 2009 11:05AM
pink-

oofah. Homeowner's associations can either be beneficial groups of civic minded homeowners who are welcoming organizers, or a "Harper Valley PTA" group of little-minded fascists who love having power over others.

Treat them like you would a strange cat or dog. Get to know them. Go to meetings. Offer treats. Once they like you (and you volunteer for a few things), THEN broach the fence topic.

I did it that way at our old house.

Didn't work, though. They bit me, and I ended up not getting the zoning variance I wanted, and left about 25 feet of my back yard outside the fence. One of them was a 'land needs to be free' self-proclaimed eco expert (read clueless eco-nazi) who 'decided' I shouldn't have a fence at all. It wasn't a pretty discussion, considering I was a lifelong Sierra Club member, environmental activist in my teens, etc..

Screw 'em, I built the damn thing within deed and zoning restrictions, and they didn't have boo to say about it.

As far as your 'good side out' it all depends on zoning regulations. The fence you describe- are the 'panels' really boards ? That's a 'shadow box' fence. Most wood fences are boards out the outside, framing on the inside. I liked mine that way- I hung planters, bird feeders, christmas lights, and whatnot on the' inside'.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: March 09, 2009 11:08AM
Quote
davester
Pretty ridiculous having two separate fences. Can't we all just get along?

NO!!!! Now are there any other silly questions? smiling smiley

I know in my case, the fact there is a double fence has to do with the height of the first one that was in. The older one is mine and is only about four feet high. The people in back had a dog that I assume they thought would not be contained by only four feet, so they installed a six foot high board fence.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: March 09, 2009 11:36AM
Quote
JoeH
Around here the fence is the property of the property owner who put it up, and would be on their land. Therefore it would be their expense to repair or replace.

Agreed. I went through this a few years ago with a 6' chain link fence. I had to be two feet inside the property line with my only neighbor, and also had to be inside the easement for utilities and railroad. This is a commercial property bordered by one neighbor, (who also has a small business, as well as a home behind it) a main road, a side road, and wetlands in the back that didn't require fencing. I went the extra mile and had a survey done to make sure I didn't step on any toes. Also talked to my only neighbor who was all for getting a fence up. He got the benefit of having a fence on that side of his property without any cost. I also trim weeds on both sides so he doesn't have to maintain it. I'm happy and he's happy. Just the way I like it.



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 09, 2009 12:03PM
>>Yeah, if you don't like your neighbors chain link then put up your own, taller, wood fence. The he takes down his because yours is nicer. Neat how that works out.

oooo, idea! build a cheap ugly fence and your neighbors will soon build much nicer ones.



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 09, 2009 12:39PM
Quote
mattkime
>>Yeah, if you don't like your neighbors chain link then put up your own, taller, wood fence. The he takes down his because yours is nicer. Neat how that works out.

oooo, idea! build a cheap ugly fence and your neighbors will soon build much nicer ones.

Yep.. Fences are meant to block things that you don't want, so if you can display something offensive enough to warrant some action of their part then you can benefit from their "proactive" nature.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2009 12:39PM by mikebw.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Maddog
Date: March 09, 2009 02:52PM
Well, we had this situation. The initial install was proposed by the most interested party and the neighbor with the shared portion of the fence was asked if he (me) wanted to kick in a 3rd of the cost. I agreed. The neighbor assumed the risk of upkeep/repair but got to pick the kind of fence to install.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: AAA
Date: March 09, 2009 04:42PM
I think I've heard that. Growing up we had a fenced in area at the far back of our land, adjacent to a probably more than 100 acres of cornfield. We had a garden in about a 1/2 acre area that we took care of. But that was not our land. But our land's fence surrounded it. I think every concurred that after 10 years of us living there, it was ours. I'm sure some high-paid lawyer might be able to do something, though. But, none of us really owns land, we just rent it while we're here. Can't take it with us.
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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: March 09, 2009 05:42PM
Quote
pinkoos

Okay, so now I'm thoroughly confused. We live in a gated community with a Homeowner's Association for which I would have to get approval for anything done to the exterior of my house and/or yard.

Now you have thrown a big wrench into the works. As mentioned, HOA's range in intrusiveness. The fence may even belong to the HOA, not the individual property owners. That information is probably buried in the agreements you signed when you bought the property. If that is the case, then the HOA would have to be contacted about repairing/replacing the fence. Depending on whether it is considered a normal maintenance item already covered in fees, that may not require approval of an assessment on other members to cover the cost. If not common property, then how much work you would have to go through is going to depend on the HOA.



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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Black
Date: March 09, 2009 05:50PM
In Chicago apparently we have some sort of rule or tradition that the fence on the west side of the lot is yours. Or maybe it's the east. COuld not track down anything 'official' about that. In any event, when I built one, I didn't get any financial help from the fence side neighbor, but the opposite side neghbor helped me get the materials.
The "good side out" thing is sort of universal, not just a HOA thing.

I agree that there's no convention (or expectation) regarding splitting the cost of a fence. Any help the neighbors are willing to offer is icing on the cake.




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Re: How do neighbors split the cost of a new fence?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: March 10, 2009 08:45PM
We don't have a fence and never will. Looking out back, I can see 18 homes and the only fence is one around a recreational vehicle. We all get along.



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