While that may still be true today, modern society has added a few rules to the game.
If you plan to add or replace the wood fencing along a property line you share with a neighbor, we offer a few helpful tips and tricks to keeping things neighborly.
Have a Conversation, Even If It Kills You
There’s nothing quite like going out for the morning paper only to discover your neighbor has torn down your shared wood fencing.
If you want to make an enemy of the folks next door, that’s how you do it. If you want to keep things a little friendlier, ask your neighbors over for a glass of lemonade in the back yard. It’s a perfect segue to a discussion about installing a new fence.
And, as hard as it may be for you, have the conversation about price if you expect them to contribute. Be prepared for a little pushback, as they may not have an interest in splitting the cost (or the ability to).
Whether or not your neighbors are willing to contribute financially, be sure to discuss the type of vinyl or wood fencing you plan to build. Full disclosure and agreement from both sides will prevent misunderstandings and bad feelings in the future.
Verify the Property Line and Other Relevant Details
Before you build any kind of shared fencing, hire a surveyor to locate the property line.
This is especially important if your home is older, or if it has had multiple owners over time. Property lines tend to shift over the years and failure to verify the exact location can lead to disputes and unexpected expenses.
If a new neighbor moves in later, only to find you’ve built your fence too far to their side, they may have legal grounds to make you relocate it. By the same token, you don’t want to give up any of your lot either.
Before you make any final decisions, determine whether you will need building permits or homeowners’ association approval for your fencing project. Failure to obtain the necessary permits or approvals can potentially get you and your neighbor into trouble.
If you do live in an HOA, consult the Association’s design guidelines and CC&Rs to be sure you understand what you are permitted to build.
Consider the Type of New Fencing You Plan to Use
Neighborly fence etiquette dictates that you replace existing wood fencing with new wood or a more preferable product, such as vinyl.
Likewise, if the existing shared fencing is a privacy fence, your neighbor probably won’t appreciate it if you replace it with chainlink or an ornamental iron view fence. And, as much as it may hurt, be considerate of your neighbor’s architectural style and exterior décor when making your selection.
Finally, let’s talk about quality. You may be an avid do-it-yourselfer, but a shared fence project is best left to the professionals. A poor quality wood fencing installation will not only look bad, but it may pose a security or safety risk for you and your neighbor.
Here at Outback Fencing, we consider all of our customers to be our neighbors. As a locally owned and operated fencing contractor, we serve commercial and residential customers throughout Utah and Wyoming.
Contact us today for assistance with all your fencing needs. We have lots of experience in helping neighbors with shared fence projects, and we can help guide you through the process of adding a new iron, vinyl or wood fence.