Author Topic: A fence situation  (Read 3469 times)

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Take2

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A fence situation
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:21:02 AM »
One of my neighbors behind us is an elderly couple with a very extensive garden with lots of sprinklers, we share about 10 feet of fence. Their yard's entire fence is more brittle than the rest because of the vegetation and the sprinklers. My dogs discovered this and destroyed 2 entire planks and the bottoms of 6 more, in about 20 minutes. They then happily cavorted in neighbor's yard for 5 minutes or so (they were not home). The planks face in his direction, so the fence cannot be repaired from our side.I discovered the broken fence, brought the dogs in, went to the store for fence planks and left a message at neighbor's house apologizing and asking for access to his yard to fix the problem.

Neighbor came by 2 hours later, told DH that he would rather fix the boards himself, was very polite and would not acknowledge any fault or responsibility on our part for the damage. DH said he was ready to fix the fence and we had the wood for the project. Neighbor declined help and went home to fix the fence. DH went out back to pass over the boards. Neighbor used his own wood and again declined help. DH came back inside and went out 10 minutes later, neighbor had fixed the 2 boards, but left the 6 with bottoms missing.

Now what? We don't want broken boards on our fence. We need complete boards to keep our dogs in. But neighbor is really nice, we don't want to tick him off. And we can't fix the remainder without access to his back yard. Nor do we feel right demanding he do more manual labor to rectify a situation our dogs created.

How should we handle the next steps?

TootsNYC

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 09:24:16 AM »
Can you attach the boards you have to your side of the fence? Go buy some extras, and double up all the way across that section of fence.

Lots of fences actually have "facing" on *both* sides. It'll look the same from his side, and on yours it will be more secure because of your dogs.

Of course it's his fence, and you'd have to attach the boards to it, so get ahold of him and say, "If you don't have an objection, I'd like to double up the fence on that stretch by applying a covering on our side too. Just in case our dogs decide they want to try again--they'll have to get through our boards to be successful. It'll be a little more secure. And it'll look a little nicer on my side."

One bonus of having double facing is that the crossways supports don't supply a "ladder" for thieves to climb over. (That's one reason why fences that have "facing" on only one side often have it on the outside--because otherwise, people outside the fence have a built-in stepladder to climb up and over.) Of course, the thieves would have to come from your side....
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 09:27:36 AM by TootsNYC »

betty

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 09:28:46 AM »
Well, it's your neighbor's fence. Especially given that his fence is old and brittle and that your dogs are likely to damage it again, you might consider building your own fence.

Or is it truly shared property between the two houses? If so, then you can bring up the subject of splitting the cost of a new fence. Or add boards on your side as TootsNYC suggested.

In the meantime, you could go over again and explain the situation: "We want to fully fix the fence for you so that you have a complete fence and so our dogs won't get into your yard."
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 09:31:38 AM by betty »

JenJay

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 09:30:29 AM »
Can you attach the boards you have to your side of the fence? Go buy some extras, and double up all the way across that section of fence.

Lots of fences actually have "facing" on *both* sides. It'll look the same from his side, and on yours it will be more secure because of your dogs.

Of course it's his fence, and you'd have to attach the boards to it, so get ahold of him and say, "If you don't have an objection, I'd like to double up the fence on that stretch by applying a covering on our side too. Just in case our dogs decide they want to try again--they'll have to get through our boards to be successful. It'll be a little more secure. And it'll look a little nicer on my side."

One bonus of having double facing is that the crossways supports don't supply a "ladder" for thieves to climb over. (That's one reason why fences that have "facing" on only one side often have it on the outside--because otherwise, people outside the fence have a built-in stepladder to climb up and over.) Of course, the thieves would have to come from your side....

That was my thought as well. If he doesn't want you to put the boards up on your side you could run some shorter fencing (picket or chicken wire type) along the back of your yard to cover the lower, broken sections.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 09:33:45 AM by JenJay »

CaffeineKatie

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 09:32:39 AM »
I agree with what TootsNYC said: go ahead and double up on your side of the fence.  Although as a gardener and dog owner myself, I'm surprised your neighbor didn't realize the dogs will be back if he doesn't repair everything.  You've certainly done everything you could be expected to do--buying wood and offering several times to do the work. 

Poppea

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 09:42:23 AM »
Its very unclear to whom the fence belongs.  Is it the property of your neighbors?  A jointly owned fence?  My answer would depend on ownership.

If it belongs to your neighbors then you should not be making any requests of your neighbors.  Put up your own fencing or plant something prickly in your yard in front of the fence.  Railroad ties would also work.

If it is a jointly owned fence, then you can ask to put up some chicken wire or other boards.  If its an older fence you may damage it by adding wood.

Isisnin

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 09:52:55 AM »
Can you attach the boards you have to your side of the fence? Go buy some extras, and double up all the way across that section of fence.

Lots of fences actually have "facing" on *both* sides. It'll look the same from his side, and on yours it will be more secure because of your dogs.

Of course it's his fence, and you'd have to attach the boards to it, so get ahold of him and say, "If you don't have an objection, I'd like to double up the fence on that stretch by applying a covering on our side too. Just in case our dogs decide they want to try again--they'll have to get through our boards to be successful. It'll be a little more secure. And it'll look a little nicer on my side."

One bonus of having double facing is that the crossways supports don't supply a "ladder" for thieves to climb over. (That's one reason why fences that have "facing" on only one side often have it on the outside--because otherwise, people outside the fence have a built-in stepladder to climb up and over.) Of course, the thieves would have to come from your side....

That was my thought as well. If he doesn't want you to put the boards up on your side you could run some shorter fencing (picket or chicken wire type) along the back of your yard to cover the lower, broken sections.

Another vote for you to fix on your side. 

I have a dog so it's very important to me to have secure fencing in my backyard.  The picket fence on one side is old and unstable but owned be a difficult neighbor.  On my side, I pounded in green metal support posts (called U bars or T bars) up close to the fence and then ran green landscape fencing along it (added bonus to the T bars is that I also used them to support the old picket fence).  With my neighbor's green rhododendron bushes on the other side, people don't even notice the landscape fencing.  10 yrs later, everything is still intact, dog has never gotten out, and the rhodies have grown thru the picket and landscape fencing and look beautiful. 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2014, 10:59:48 AM by Isisnin »

NyaChan

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 09:56:28 AM »
I don't have fences in my neighborhoods, so I'm genuinely curious - why is it even partially the neighbor's fault that the OP's dogs broke through the fence?  The neighbor doesn't have any dogs to keep in, so the fence for him (assuming it isn't shared of course) sounds more for privacy or aesthetics.  Why would he have to keep his fence at security-level strength? 

If the fence is not shared, I would take on the responsibility to build a separate fence for your own home.  I would not touch his fence or attach without his permission. 

Take2

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 10:03:18 AM »
In my mind, it is not even a tiny bit our neighbor's fault that my dogs ate our shared fence. I just want to fix it. We live in a suburban community with shared 6 foot privacy fence as an HOA standard in all yards. The home builders created the fences as the homes were built. I do not have the right to build another fence, there is a 10 foot easement.

NyaChan

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 10:09:10 AM »
In my mind, it is not even a tiny bit our neighbor's fault that my dogs ate our shared fence. I just want to fix it. We live in a suburban community with shared 6 foot privacy fence as an HOA standard in all yards. The home builders created the fences as the homes were built. I do not have the right to build another fence, there is a 10 foot easement.

Huh, sorry, I could have sworn I read in someone's post that they thought he was in part responsible, but I can't find it anymore.  Apologies, haven't had my tea yet...

MindsEye

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 10:10:26 AM »
In my mind, it is not even a tiny bit our neighbor's fault that my dogs ate our shared fence. I just want to fix it. We live in a suburban community with shared 6 foot privacy fence as an HOA standard in all yards. The home builders created the fences as the homes were built. I do not have the right to build another fence, there is a 10 foot easement.

I am not sure that I understand the bolded... can you clarify?  Do you mean that the HOA will flat out not allow you to build your own fence?  Or do you mean that you need to have 10 feet of space between any fence you build and the shared fence?

What if you just "reinforced" the 10 feet of fence you share?  With chainlink or something... would that be okay?

If you are in an HOA with strict rules, then you may need to appeal to the HOA for help in negotiating a suitable fence-fix with your neighbors.

Take2

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 10:19:40 AM »
I have to request permission to build anything and it cannot be within 10 feet of the existing fence. I am not interested in building a fence 10 feet inside my fence if the HOA approved it, and that side of my fence is 10 feet shared with him and hundreds of feet shared with another neighbor. My  next-door neighbor shares her entire back fence with the gardening older neighbor, and we know from her interactions that he is NOT interested in sharing expense or even allowing a professional fence person to replace the brittle fence.

julianna

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 10:32:38 AM »
I think you should talk to the HOA first, just to find out your options.  Because there may be a rule against doubling up on your side, and there's no point doing something that you'll have to undo later.  Also, I'm not sure if the broken slats are visible, but if so, there's probably a rule requiring they be fixed.  You could clarify both that and who is considered responsible for fixing it.  (I know that, in this case, since your dogs damaged it, you're taking responsibility.  But it would be helping to know who would be responsible if the dogs weren't a factor.)

Once you have all the information, you can go back to the neighbor.  Explain that the fence needs to be fixed and the reasons why (dog, HOA rules, etc.).  Explain the possible ways to fix it (doubling up on your side if that's possible, you fixing the fence yourself with access from their side, you giving them the boards so they can fix it, paying for a pro, etc.) .  Ask them which solution they'd prefer, but make it clear that a solution needs to be found.


Zizi-K

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 10:40:27 AM »
In my mind, it is not even a tiny bit our neighbor's fault that my dogs ate our shared fence. I just want to fix it. We live in a suburban community with shared 6 foot privacy fence as an HOA standard in all yards. The home builders created the fences as the homes were built. I do not have the right to build another fence, there is a 10 foot easement.

If the fences were built when the development was built, and it was required by the HOA, why is it considered your neighbor's fence and not shared? It would make sense to try one more time, perhaps invite the neighbor over to see it from your side, and say that you need to repair the fence to keep the dogs in. If he rebuffs you, I would repair it as best you can from your side. That might include doubling up the boards or stapling up some chicken wire or landscape fencing. If you are reticent to do that without HOA approval, then they are your next stop. I don't see how you can have a required fence but then no power to improve it.

MyFamily

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Re: A fence situation
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 10:45:28 AM »
contact the HOA - if they have regulations on where the fence can be built, they must have rules regarding the upkeep of the fence.


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