Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: jpcher on June 16, 2014, 07:59:11 PM

Title: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: jpcher on June 16, 2014, 07:59:11 PM
I have a fence which is clearly mine, on my property, so I can do whatever I want to do with it, correct?

My 17yr-old 4-ft high wooden fence sides 3 other properties . . . back, right and left.

My back fence has been damaged this past winter due to snow pile-up or wind or who knows what. Truth be told, it doesn't really bother me except for, well, it's kinda . . . ugly. It leans into my property about a foot and it looks clearly damaged, so something needs to be done.

I had a handyman come over (for something else) and asked him to take a look at the fence and suggest repair costs/options. He said two of the posts are broken. He suggested that I call a fencing company, but they would probably try to talk me into getting a whole new fence . . . which I have no budget for, nor do I want to get bids on this project because my summer project this year is getting a new roof.

My other option is to tear it down. I have no need for a fence any more. Dog is gone, kids are grown and white-washing it every other year to keep it pretty is getting tiring.

Back door neighbors have a toddler, so I'm sure they appreciate the fence. The left/right fence in their yard is also other neighbor's fence. So taking my back fence down would cause a hardship on them.

My right side fence . . . I would love to tear down simply because right side neighbors (several owners ago) built their own 6-ft fence so there is a bit of no-man's-land between the two fences that is really difficult to maintain.

My left side neighbors are renters and have a dog. The other two sides of that property (back and further left) have fences from other neighbors. I doubt that the landlord will pay for a new fence here.

I could probably have my fence torn down with very little cost (with a little help from my friends and a bbq ;)) but tearing down my fence would cause my neighbors some hardship.



So, with that being said, what would you do?

Would you approach your neighbors prior to tear-down? What is the best way to do this? Would you ask your back-yard neighbor if he might be interested in repairing the fence? (Cheaper for him.) What about the left side neighbor who is a renter?

I'm really leaning towards tearing down at least two sides of my fence (damaged back and pain-in-the-neck right).



Thoughts?
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: TootsNYC on June 16, 2014, 08:04:26 PM
First I'd decide how many parts of my fence I'd be willing to leave up. Aesthetics, etc., and whatever else I wanted to factor in.

Then I'd contact the relevant neighbors and say, "I want to tear my whole fence down. I realize this may impact you--will it?"

And if you'd be willing to leave a part of it up for a year or two, then when they say "yes, actually, that's a bummer for me!" you can offer whatever you're willing to offer. "I'd like to be neighborly, so I could delay the tear-down until you're able to find your own solution" or even "I could leave the section on your side of the yard up."

For the side where it's broken, I personally would decide I wanted that part completely out, and I'd just notify that neighbor that I was tearing down that section of the fence.  And the only thing I'd compromise on is that I'd wait a few weeks longer than my plan, but only that long. Because it looks crummy.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Lynn2000 on June 16, 2014, 08:26:00 PM
POD to TootsNYC. If it's my fence, my first consideration would be my own needs/wants.

I think it would be neighborly to then go to the neighbors who might be enjoying your fence, and tell them you're tearing it down, and let them think it over. Maybe they offer to give you some money to repair it so it stays up. Maybe they ask that you wait a few weeks, until they can get their own fence installed. Maybe they don't care at all.

But, you've given them a chance to comment, which is nice, above and beyond polite, because really you can do whatever you want with your own fence. And maybe think through what they might say that isn't reasonable, so you're prepared to decline. At least, say you'll give it some thought instead of agreeing right away. For me, anyway, this would be the kind of logistical thing where I know I might not have thought of everything myself.

The only thing that I might think about, for myself, is the dog on one side. Are you relying on your fence to keep their dog out of your yard? Because maybe you yourself want to keep it up for that reason. Also, the child at the other house might be a toddler now, but are things set up such that when they get older, they might wander into your yard a lot? With the fence gone will it be hard to tell where one yard ends and the other begins?

The parts with fences from the other neighbors sound like they could definitely go. But, it might still be worth mentioning it to them first, in case one of them says, "Actually, we were just about to tear ours down!" which might influence your decision.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Library Dragon on June 16, 2014, 08:32:04 PM
POD. You may have to agree to a timeline that may be a month or more.  You don't want to have the toddler or dog wandering into your yard.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: m2kbug on June 16, 2014, 08:46:24 PM
I think I would alert my neighbors that I would be tearing down my fence within a certain time frame so that they can make their own arrangements.  You can choose three months, six months, next spring after the snow melts, or by next summer, so basically a year.  If you dialogue, they can perhaps give you a time frame that they need, but you need to cap off your own limit and and then you're getting rid of it.  Whatever you think is reasonable. 
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: shhh its me on June 16, 2014, 08:53:42 PM
  I think you can tear it down but I would double check that once you (or the previous owners) built onto each other fences with permission there is no obligation of notice or anything else.

Assuming you have no obligations I would give them reasonable notice to deal with the fence.  I'd think 60 days minimum and if they said "Can we have 90-120 days?" I would say defiantly say yes. I would consider next spring/summer but I'm not sure I'd give them that long. 
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: kudeebee on June 16, 2014, 09:31:03 PM
We tore down our fence several years ago.  We went to the three neighbors and told them that we were taking the fence down in 3 weeks.  Left side and back didn't care as they had no need for the fence.  Right side neighbor asked if we would leave it up and he would maintain it as he had a dog and was planning to move in two or three months.  So, we agreed to that but told him when he sold that the fence was going down.  When he listed the house, we contacted his agent and made sure that she knew that fact and that when he was moved out, the fence was going down that day or the next as we didn't want to be responsible for it anymore. And that is what we did.

Technically, yes, it is your fence, on your property and you could go out tomorrow and take it down. I do think it is nice to let the neighbors know--the back and left side--what you are planning to do.  Since right side has their own fence, I wouldn't worry about them.  I think you decide when you want to take the fence down, talk to the neighbors (call the landlord on the left if you know who he/she is or get the info from the renter.)  I would think 3 to 4 weeks or even less, depending on when you can get help is reasonable.

If it is on your property, I would not let it remain there, even if the neighbors say they will take care of it.  You do not need the liability of it.  Instead, you can offer to give them the pieces of the fence so that they can use it to build their fence.  If they want the pieces, they should help you carefully take down the fence--panels, posts, etc--saving as much as you can and put it in their yards.  If they don't want it, set it by the curb or offer it on freecycle--seems like there is always someone looking for fencing.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Harriet Jones on June 16, 2014, 10:32:37 PM
It is yours to tear down as you wish, but I'm with everyone else -- I think it would be a good idea to let the affected neighbors know.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Mergatroyd on June 16, 2014, 11:05:23 PM
Well, if someone wanted to take down part of the fence that surrounds my backyard I'd want to know in advance so I could replace it.

At the old house, one side of the fence was in very rough shape, but we didn't have the funds to replace it. We spoke with the neighbours on that side about potentially splitting the costs of getting the section replaced, and they said they would do that if we waited a year. We ended up moving first, but I do wonder if they would actually have put up the money.

Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: KarenK on June 17, 2014, 07:56:53 AM
I think I'd simply inform the neighbors that the fence will be coming down in one month and be done with it. I would not want them to think that they had any say at all about what I do with my fence, but it is kind to give them notice.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: MrTango on June 17, 2014, 08:02:03 AM
I wouldn't allow my neighbors' opinions to affect my decision on whether or not to tear down the fence, nor would I allow their convenience or inconvenience to determin the timing of the tear-down if that's what I ended up deciding to do.

I'd go ahead and make all the arrangements to have it torn down and notify the neighbors about a week or so before.  I'd phrase the notification along the lines of "The fence on my property will be torn down on (date)."  I'd deliberately phrase the letter so that it leaves no room for them to think I was asking for their opinions on the matter.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Possum on June 17, 2014, 10:39:43 AM
The fence is yours and on your property, and is yours to do with as you wish.  However, it'd make for good neighbors if you'd let the others know--both so they can be prepared to lose that boundary, and so they can be prepared for a day or two of noise and mess.  If they offer to help repair it instead, since it's a benefit to them to have it stay up, then you can always work with them then.  But you don't have to put up with a fence you own but don't like, just because it benefits someone else who invests no money or upkeep in it.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on June 17, 2014, 11:34:32 AM
I had this exact issue about a month after I joined the forum, but I was on the other side of it (if you'll pardon the pun)  My neighbours tore the fence down and replaced it without forewarning or talking to me about it at all.  My dogs ended up in my neighbour's yard (as soon as I knew, I brought them back in and kept them tethered when outside) and the fence guys were horrified and apologetic that they were tramping around in my yard thinking that I had okayed them being there (as per the neighbour) when really I didn't know anything about it.

They weren't obligated to warn or consult me, but honestly I would have appreciated if they had.  If I'd known, I would have made arrangements for my dogs to be elsewhere that weekend, and if they'd told me they were putting up chain link because it's cost-effective, I would have offered to contribute half in order to get something better and better-looking.  Also, the fence that was there previous was wood, and my side gate was meant to latch into the wood fence....their replacing it with chain link rendered my (necessary for the dogs) gate inoperable.  The neighbour's brother (neighbour is an elderly lady and her brother hand;es most of her affairs) tried to tell me I owed for half the fence, as well, but that's a whole different thing altogether.

So, in my opinion while you're certainly not obligated to contact your neighbours about the fences (if indeed they are on your property, and not right on the property line) it does affect them and would be the courteous, considerate thing to do.  I have to replace my other side fence soon and I intend on speaking to my neighbours first. I'm sure if they want to split the cost, we can come to an accord that suits us both.  If they're not interested, they'll just have to live with what I put in.

Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: AvidReader on June 17, 2014, 11:48:37 AM
Now for a completely different point of view.  :)   If your big project this year is your roof, you are a property owner of long-standing and probably intend to stay in the house for the forseeable future.  If this were my situation, while I might not need/want the fence because I don't have pets or young children anymore, I would repair the fence in order to get a few more years out of it then replace it as funds became available and the project drifted up my priority list.  I have three reasons:  1) it would keep the neighbors' children and pets out of my back yard, 2) depending on its design, it might allow privacy/screening for me to enjoy my backyard without without everyone else watching, and 3) eventually I would be selling, and a fence would be a plus for the new owner. 
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: magicdomino on June 17, 2014, 12:01:06 PM
I'm in the opposite situation:  my back yard is fenced-in on three sides by other people's fences.   I actively dislike the tall privacy fences along the sides, and the one along the back is an old wire fence that is half-fallen, so right now, I wouldn't mind at all if the fences were torn down.  However, if I had a dog, and was depending on those three fences, I'd appreciate a heads-up, so that I can plan on replacing the missing side.  Depending on the state of the fence, I might be willing to take over repairs and/or maintenance to keep that side going for about a year until I can afford to replace it.

In short, a warning is greatly appreciated.  I'd really like to have more than a month of warning if possible, because replacement fences are expensive.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 17, 2014, 12:02:20 PM
Now for a completely different point of view.  :)   If your big project this year is your roof, you are a property owner of long-standing and probably intend to stay in the house for the forseeable future.  If this were my situation, while I might not need/want the fence because I don't have pets or young children anymore, I would repair the fence in order to get a few more years out of it then replace it as funds became available and the project drifted up my priority list.  I have three reasons:  1) it would keep the neighbors' children and pets out of my back yard, 2) depending on its design, it might allow privacy/screening for me to enjoy my backyard without without everyone else watching, and 3) eventually I would be selling, and a fence would be a plus for the new owner.

This makes a lot of sense to me, too.  And it would give you a chance to discuss it with your neighbours to see if they would be interested in splitting the cost.

But if you decide you just want the fence gone, I would notify the neighbours when I knew what day the workers were going to be there, however much lead time that ends up giving them.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: bopper on June 17, 2014, 12:51:33 PM
I agree with the others...mention it to the neighbors.  Otherwise you may end up with dogs in your yard until they can figure something out.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Aquamarine on June 17, 2014, 01:04:14 PM
If the fence doesn't look good, take it all down.  There is absolutely no reason to leave part of a bad looking fence intact for the neighbors to use.  If the neighbors want a fence, for whatever reason, then they can build one instead of relying on you to subsidize their fencing needs with a beat up fence that you want gone.

I would not discuss this with the neighbors other than to inform them of when it was going to be torn down but not open up a discussion or negotiate with them.  If you open yourself up to discussing this then you are probably going to get requests that you leave the fence up because it will save them money if you do. 

As a homeowner I would not be pleased if someone just left parts of a ratty looking fence up for people to use who didn't want to pay for their own fence because it would be an eyesore.  In the end this really is completely up to you as to what you do, and no it's not "rude" to tear down the fence that others may be using.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: fountainof on June 17, 2014, 02:59:51 PM
As others have said I would notify the neighbors and give them at least a couple of weeks so they can make arrangements to either do their own fence or get a toddler coral or something.

I will say that you might have more people enter your yard by accident without a fence.  For example the toddler, it is hard to contain all balls, etc. without a fence so while I don't think you have to accept people using your property you may have to forgive some accidents if there is no longer any fence.

My area was built in the 70s and back then one side fence belonged to one neighbour and the other side to the other (I think it is the left side fence) and the back was joint.  But these days it is different and now the bad fence I have the neighbour wants to split the replacement cost of but really it should be his fence.  However, because I want that fence to be longer (closer to the front of my house) and the fence looks awful I will pay for part of it just because he might not change the fence otherwise.  The rest of my fences are mine as though, the last owner redid them.

The two fences up together isn't common here.  In new areas, sometimes people who really want a fence just do their own fence though and then if neighbours build a fence they fill in the missing areas and use the other neighbours fence.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: TootsNYC on June 17, 2014, 03:03:15 PM
Now for a completely different point of view.  :)   If your big project this year is your roof, you are a property owner of long-standing and probably intend to stay in the house for the forseeable future.  If this were my situation, while I might not need/want the fence because I don't have pets or young children anymore, I would repair the fence in order to get a few more years out of it then replace it as funds became available and the project drifted up my priority list.  I have three reasons:  1) it would keep the neighbors' children and pets out of my back yard, 2) depending on its design, it might allow privacy/screening for me to enjoy my backyard without without everyone else watching, and 3) eventually I would be selling, and a fence would be a plus for the new owner.

I would also probably repair--or at the very least, call a fence company. Or three. Or a handyman. Or three.

Sure, they might want to try to sell me a fence, but I can certainly say, "No, I just want you to fix these poles. How much?"

Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: DanaJ on June 17, 2014, 03:52:20 PM
At the old house, one side of the fence was in very rough shape, but we didn't have the funds to replace it. We spoke with the neighbours on that side about potentially splitting the costs of getting the section replaced, and they said they would do that if we waited a year. We ended up moving first, but I do wonder if they would actually have put up the money.

It's quite possible they would have. We've replaced fences on two different properties and split the costs with the neighbors who shared the fence. It was mutually beneficial to have the fence.

The only fussy part was determining if the fence would be ON the property line (or if that would cause insurance headaches as far as "who owns the fence and, therefore, liability?"). IIRC we ended up putting the fenceposts just barely on our side of the property line.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Deetee on June 17, 2014, 04:25:07 PM
Like everyone else, I think the right thing to do is let the neighbours know your plans so they can arrange to fence in their own yards if need be. Just be sure you know in your own mind what you are willing to do in terms of letting them help pay for upkeep. (E.g., If they pay for the whitewashing and repair, you will let the fence stay for another 3 years) If there is some upkeep, I suggest having it in writing so you both remember what you agreed to.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Otterpop on June 17, 2014, 05:23:47 PM
I agree, it is a quandary.  What will you do if the neighbors with the dog or the toddler start treating your yard as "defacto" theirs once its accessible.  It's happened on this forum and there was a neighbor war over the new owners wanting to put UP a fence.  It seemed the whole neighborhood used their yard as a passthrough and didn't want to stop.

That being said I would let the neighbors know of your plans with a tear down date to build their own fences if they want them.  They should have no decision on what you do with your own fence.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Rusty on June 17, 2014, 06:45:15 PM

Its almost unheard of here not to have fences on three boundaries, back and right and left sides.   Local laws stipulate that fences must be built on boundaries and each party is responsible for a half share of each boundary fence.  Except of course in rural areas where different rules may apply.    I could not imagine what it would be like to not have privacy in my own back garden, not to mention leaving my dog out back when I'm not home.    Don't you find it strange that your neighbours can view whatever you are doing in your garden.

Having said that I think it would be neighbourly in this instance to inform your neighbours of your wishes regarding your fence.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Possum on June 17, 2014, 07:10:31 PM
Local laws stipulate that fences must be built on boundaries and each party is responsible for a half share of each boundary fence.  Except of course in rural areas where different rules may apply.
Local laws vary.  We're not rural, but our fences have to be built a certain distance *away* from a boundary (unless by agreement), and you're fully responsible for your own fence.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: shhh its me on June 17, 2014, 07:28:08 PM

Its almost unheard of here not to have fences on three boundaries, back and right and left sides.   Local laws stipulate that fences must be built on boundaries and each party is responsible for a half share of each boundary fence.  Except of course in rural areas where different rules may apply.    I could not imagine what it would be like to not have privacy in my own back garden, not to mention leaving my dog out back when I'm not home.    Don't you find it strange that your neighbours can view whatever you are doing in your garden.

Having said that I think it would be neighbourly in this instance to inform your neighbours of your wishes regarding your fence.

There are several areas here which require no or extremely limited  and specific fencing.  EG.  there are yards with in ground pools with immediately  surrounding (like 12 inches ) the pool is an iron fence (wooded privacy fences are not permitted) and the pool size is limited by how big the maximum % of the yard which can be fenced. 
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: sammycat on June 17, 2014, 07:33:32 PM
This is a very interesting thread for me. Where I live, just about all fences are on the shared boundary line (by law) and 90% of the time the costs are shared by both property owners, so it's unlikely one neighbour could, or would, just pull the fence down.  I actually can't even envisage a property without some sort of fence between it and the next one, even if it's just a row of garden beds, as I don't think I've ever actually seen this.

That aside,  I agree with pp that OP should give the neighbours notice that the fence is coming down. If I were one of the neighbours, and I owned a dog (or other pet that can wander around at will), and the fence was there one day and gone the next without any warning, I wouldn't feel any remorse if said pet got into your yard and did damage, as I wouldn't have been given the chance to prevent if from happening

eventually I would be selling, and a fence would be a plus for the new owner.

I wouldn't even consider buying (or renting) a property that didn't have a fence around it on all sides, bar perhaps the front. In fact I probably wouldn't even get out of the car to go and look inside. I like a clear boundary that says 'this is mine and that is yours', and if it's a six foot high privacy fence, all the better.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Rusty on June 17, 2014, 07:41:18 PM


I'm with Sammycat.    I'd never buy a property without clearly defined boundary fences.    Maybe its just what we are used to, there's a saying "good fences make good neighbours".
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: sammycat on June 17, 2014, 07:41:57 PM
our fences have to be built a certain distance *away* from a boundary (unless by agreement), and you're fully responsible for your own fence.

I've often wondered about this when I've seen it mentioned on US forums.

Say the ordinance for your area is that fences must be one foot from the boundary line - this basically seems to be saying that you've given up access to one foot of your own property? This would be intolerable to me. If the neighbours doesn't put up a fence they're really gaining an extra foot of land for free.  If the neighbour also builds a fence there's two feet of no man's land. If my neighbour built a fence before I did, I doubt I'd build one too - why waste my money and lose part of my land when my neighbour has already provided me with a fence, especially if it's an actual privacy fence, not just a token boundary stating one.

What about grass that needs mowing? Weeds about weeds that might grow between two fences? Vermin that might inhabit the area?

Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: sammycat on June 17, 2014, 08:16:00 PM
there's a saying "good fences make good neighbours".

Most definitely! The very first thing everyone did in our last neighbourhood (new development) was install their boundary fences, some even before the house was built. I think having that division is what made for such a harmonious neighbourhood as we all knew what was ours and what was someone else's.

This was part of a housing estate and the only drawback to these fences was the lack of privacy initially as they were more for defining boundary lines and keeping pets in, and strangers out, until all the trees and bushes everyone planted along the fence lines grew and so we were all offered privacy. They were supposed to be a certain height (4 feet?) and style (which everyone hated - bagging on the fence style was always a great ice breaker though.  Along our front we actually put in a different style fence as the covenant stipulated one was so ugly, and then many other neighbours followed suit).

We used to live on a very large semi rural block of land before recently moving to a smaller property where we are much closer to our neighbours. But we all have six foot high wooden privacy fences.  I love it! I can go out into my yard without worrying that anyone can see me, even though the neighbours are only a few feet away rather than over 3/4 of an acre away. The psychological 'division' I have now is worth its weight in gold even if the actual physical division is smaller.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: AngelicGamer on June 17, 2014, 09:42:58 PM
I've been on the side of the fence where it got torn down and we didn't know the specific date.  They told us it was going to happen and agreed to have our gate attached to it - didn't have to and we offered to pay, but they did and refused payment because they're awesome - but I would have loved to know the specific date.  Thank everything grandma was still alive and the bird feeder was by the neighbor's fence.  Otherwise, they would have had a problem of the furry variety seeing what was up.  ;D  They would have been amused by it because they're also dog lovers.  I'm going to miss them when either we or they move.

So I'd tell the neighbors.  Doesn't have to be long - we had a five minute convo about it, if that - but tell them.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Possum on June 18, 2014, 12:19:02 AM
our fences have to be built a certain distance *away* from a boundary (unless by agreement), and you're fully responsible for your own fence.

I've often wondered about this when I've seen it mentioned on US forums.

Say the ordinance for your area is that fences must be one foot from the boundary line - this basically seems to be saying that you've given up access to one foot of your own property? This would be intolerable to me. If the neighbours doesn't put up a fence they're really gaining an extra foot of land for free.  If the neighbour also builds a fence there's two feet of no man's land. If my neighbour built a fence before I did, I doubt I'd build one too - why waste my money and lose part of my land when my neighbour has already provided me with a fence, especially if it's an actual privacy fence, not just a token boundary stating one.

What about grass that needs mowing? Weeds about weeds that might grow between two fences? Vermin that might inhabit the area?
I can't remember the reasoning for the distance, but it has something to do with egress for wildlife or something.  Or just weird rules.

We're actually in the situation you mention--back to back fences with a "no man's land" between.  Our neighbors put theirs up first, and not only did they not tell the surrounding neighbors, but they didn't do any surveying, so they wound up with the fence overstepping their property on at least two sides. We made them move it, and they grumpily did.  On top of that, they built it facing wrong-side-out (so the neighbors see the beams).

I don't mind beams, but my mother was livid, so we built a fence on *our* property the same height as their fence, so we wouldn't have to look at it.

As far as stuff living between the fences, I'm sure it's a possum highway, but we both keep our sides trimmed and cleared, and we haven't had any problems with vermin.  Weeds aren't visible, so we aren't concerned with those.  If enough stuff piles up (dead leaves) I'm sure one of us or the other will get in there with a rake, but that hasn't been a problem, either.

And, yeah, you lose a foot or two of land having to do it that way, but in most of the US, our yards are rarely so tiny that we can't spare that.  For us, the area where the fence is now was a low line of brush before, so we're still where we started in terms of usable footage. 
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: MurPl1 on June 18, 2014, 12:20:38 AM
Our city actually prohibits fences backing up to each other for that reason - no access to keep the grass/weeds down.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: fountainof on June 18, 2014, 09:50:40 AM
I have actually never seen IRL back to back fences, I guess people don't do that here.  You are able to build a fence right on the property line here with the neighbour's permission.  However, I looked up the city bylaws and it does say if you sold your home a new owner possibly could have issues with the fence on the property line but I am not sure how much that actually happens IRL seeing as how most people don't resurvey their property.

If I were paying 100% for the fence I would take the nice side facing me, I don't see anything wrong with that.  I actually did that fencing a front yard years back with a chain link fence (except the road piece I put the nicer side out, but the side I took the nicer side).

When you are splitting fence costs I would go with a good neighbor style that looks the same on both sides.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Margo on June 18, 2014, 10:29:32 AM
I think you can certainly do what you want, and that it would be polite to tell the neighbours.

Is there any way in which the anels from the fence you don't need (because the neighbours have built their own) could be used to repair the parts you might want to keep in order to define your boundaries?

In your position, I would be concerned about the dog and the toddler coming into my yard, because even though they certainly shouldn't, and it would be your neighbour's responsibility to ensure thy didn't, your neighbours may not be very good at taking responsibility.

(the gap between fences seemed odd to me, too - but then losing a foot of land on each boundary would be quite a big deal in most of the places I've lived. In my previous house, the garden was only about 14' wide, so losing 2' would have been a very big issue! )
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: camlan on June 18, 2014, 10:44:58 AM
I would set an ideal date to take the fence down, and a last possible date. Then tell your neighbors that the fence is coming down and when. If they ask for a little more time so that they can put up their own fence, you can negotiate a little, but not past your pre-set last possible date. There's limits as to how long you want this ugly, falling-down fence in your yard. And once a date is set, make it clear that you will be taking the fence down then.

If the dog or toddler wander into your yard, simply bring this issue up with the neighbors. I'd be upset about a dog possibly pooping in my yard and would certainly make that clear to the neighbors. A small child running into my yard to retrieve a ball would barely register to me. A small child pulling up all my flowers would.

In my area, most houses do not have fences. Yes, there are some, but the majority of yards have no fences. Maybe a tree or two or a hedge to mark a boundary, but that's about it. And people manage to contain their dogs and children to their own yards with little difficulty.

As for fences providing privacy--it's an illusion if there are two-story houses in the neighborhood. My neighbors have a pool and the required fence, but I can see everything that goes on in their backyard from every second-floor window on one side of my house. Not that I spend a lot of time looking over there, but if I happen to glance out the window, my view is of their yard.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: TootsNYC on June 18, 2014, 12:27:36 PM
Quote
  On top of that, they built it facing wrong-side-out (so the neighbors see the beams).

And this provides outsiders a nice little ladder to use in getting over your fence!
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: MommyPenguin on June 18, 2014, 03:21:18 PM
(the gap between fences seemed odd to me, too - but then losing a foot of land on each boundary would be quite a big deal in most of the places I've lived. In my previous house, the garden was only about 14' wide, so losing 2' would have been a very big issue! )

Obviously it depends on the location, but in some areas, the law says that if both neighbors agree to go in together on a fence, they may build it on the yard line, and if only one neighbor wants a fence, he must build it a foot (or whatever) in on his property.  The idea is that then he can clearly state that he owns *both sides* of the fence, so the neighbor who didn't want a fence can't hang things on it, decorate it, or change it in any way, because it's not on his property.

I like the idea of thinking for a while about what you want and what you'd be willing to do.  The "ideal date" and "last possible date" idea is great.  Same thing for other things... decide what compromises you might be fine with, etc.  If a neighbor offered to pay for the fence repairs so that you didn't take it down, would you agree?  Make sure you know what that would cost.  Etc.

Do keep in mind that the neighbors, particularly the dog owners, may have been counting on that fence when they moved in.  I mean, who buys property and thinks, "Oh, the neighbor has a fence, I'll have to keep in mind that they could take down the fence at any time," versus seeing, "Okay, great, fenced yard."  Depending on their finances, a month may not be enough time for them to pay for a new fence.  So there may be some necessary compromise in what you'll put up with there, because if they don't have the money that month for a fence, what will they do with the dog?  Many people believe chaining is cruel, and they may not be able to always be outside with the dog on a leash, etc.  To a certain extent, I know this is their problem to solve, but I'd just try to make sure I put thought into what they might ask and whether it would work for me.
Title: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: jpcher on June 18, 2014, 06:16:47 PM
Thanks, everybody, for all of your points of view. You provided some inputs that I didn't really think about.

Namely the dog and toddler (and others) coming into my yard. I was thinking from the perspective that I didn't have anybody/thing that would go out of my yard.  ::)

As far as privacy -- the fence doesn't provide much if any at all. It's a scalloped fence with 4-ft at the highest point and about 3-3/4 ft. at the lowest point, so it's not a privacy fence. It's more of a boundary fence.

My left side neighbor (the one with the dog) is a renter (anybody remember my posts about Noisy Neighbor? ;)) and I seriously doubt that her landlady will pay for a replacement fence. So, after reading some of your posts yesterday, I thought the neighborly thing to do would be to leave that side of the fence up . . . plus, then I won't have to worry about her dog coming into my yard. And that's a good thing! ;D




I was out looking at my back fence yesterday, trying to figure out if I could maybe prop it up somehow so that it might not look damaged, when my back neighbor (BN) came out to talk to me.

BN: I was looking at that a while ago and wondered if you were going to do something about it?

Me: Yeah, I know I've let it go, but I really need to do something. I haven't gotten any estimates on repair and I was thinking of just tearing it down.

BN: Oh? ??? Would you mind if I tried to fix it? It won't be a perfect repair but I think that maybe if I (went into explanation, which sounded plausible.) At the very least, it should stand up straight for quite a while and I'll just keep an eye on it, to make sure the fix stays fixed.

Me (laughing): I take it you don't want me to tear it down?  ;D

BN: Hey, it's your fence. If you take it down (hesitating) I'll just have to figure something out.

Me: Well, if you want to try and fix it then go for it. Just let me know how much the repairs will cost before you do anything.

BN: Oh, no. I think I pretty much have everything I'll need in the garage.

There was some back-n-forth about me paying him and him declining, so I agreed to let him try to fix the fence without payment. Then he said:

BN: Oh, by the way, We're pregnant again! ;D

Congratulations and Woo!Hoo!'s.

Soooo -- I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot of extra funds right now to put up a new fence but he really wants the fence to stay.

If he can repair it so that it doesn't look dilapidated and ugly? Why not let him do it?



Is there any way in which the anels from the fence you don't need (because the neighbours have built their own) could be used to repair the parts you might want to keep in order to define your boundaries?

Excellent thought . . . I didn't read your post until after I talked to BN. Thinking about it, if I offered that option to BN it might be more work than what he was willing to do. Plus, then, I'd have to definitely tear down the right side fence because otherwise it would look like a piece is missing.

So, I guess I'll see what BN does with the fix and next spring or the year after I'll be white-washing again . . . but, hey! That's good exercise! Right? ;D
Title: Re: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: Mergatroyd on June 18, 2014, 06:20:48 PM
Hopefully he can get it fixed to both of your satisfactions!
Title: Re: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: TootsNYC on June 18, 2014, 06:57:29 PM
Quote
If he can repair it so that it doesn't look dilapidated and ugly? Why not let him do it?

I like it!

Win-win!
Title: Re: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: esposita on June 18, 2014, 07:53:24 PM
He might be willing to white-wash "his" portion for you. I know my husband would, if someone was kind enough to do what you're doing!
Title: Re: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: camlan on June 19, 2014, 07:05:11 AM
I have to admit that I'm a little puzzled about all the comments about the neighbor's dog entering the OP's yard if the fence comes down.

Surely the neighbor won't let the dog out if the yard isn't fenced? The dog could run off and never be seen again. Do many dog owners take that risk?

My thought was that if the dog's yard is no longer fenced, the dog simply wouldn't be out in the yard unsupervised.

Around here most people do not have fenced yards. Most dogs are either in the house or out being walked on a leash or taken to the dog park for a run. Only the farm dogs, out of the city proper, have the run of their property.

But I still think the OP has the right to remove that section of the fence if she wants to. And to expect the neighbor to keep the dog off the OP's property. It would be up to the tenant to deal with the situation, either by walking the dog more regularly, or negotiating with the landlord to replace the fence. While I think the OP should give both the tenant and the landlord notice of the fence removal, I don't see any reason why the OP can't take the fence down if that's what she wants to do.
Title: Re: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: Margo on June 19, 2014, 07:13:27 AM
You'd think, wouldn't you? But I guess it would depend on the neighbour, and on the rest of the fencing. After all, if the far side of the garden is fenced, then neighbour might think that the dog can't get out into the street.

I never had this specific issue (I had lots of others!) with my former neighbours, but I have no doubt at all that had I taken down the fence between my garden and theirs, they would have had the attitude "We don't care if our dog/children come into our garden, if it bothers you, you can fix it." in fact, if their dog had managed to get into my garden and then from there into the street, they'd probably have considered it to be my fault.

If you have good neighbours, (or even bad neighbours who are responsible dog owners) then of course they wouldn't let the dog wander.
Title: Re: Fence quandary
Post by: Possum on June 22, 2014, 11:39:43 AM
I have actually never seen IRL back to back fences, I guess people don't do that here.
I'd take a picture, but our neighbor would probably be convinced I was up to no good and throw an absolute hissy fit.  He's a charmer. But...
Our city actually prohibits fences backing up to each other for that reason - no access to keep the grass/weeds down.
I know, right?  I dunno, it might be that we just paid to put a back on his fence.  I can see through the slats ever so slightly.  We just call it "our fence/his fence," but it might just be referring to his side/our side.
Title: Re: Fence quandary . . . UPDATE #38
Post by: checkitnice on June 24, 2014, 09:39:50 AM


Surely the neighbor won't let the dog out if the yard isn't fenced? The dog could run off and never be seen again. Do many dog owners take that risk?

My thought was that if the dog's yard is no longer fenced, the dog simply wouldn't be out in the yard unsupervised.


 :o

My old neighbors were notorious for letting their three awful Pomeranians out the side door and letting them run the neighborhood. They felt that everyone loved them, when the reality was that every.single.person I ever spoke to on our block had murder in their eyes when that topic came up.

That neighborhood was one where everyone had fences on the property lines for the back yards, except that there was a gap on the side of our yard next to the dogs' yard. We quickly put up some inexpensive fencing even though we were renters, to keep our kid in and those animals out.