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    1. #1
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      $3,000 for a new fence, Merry Xmas to me!

      Wondering if anyone has every fought to get a neighbor to split the cost of a fence and won? If so, how?

      My situation:

      Six-foot cedar privacy fence. At least 20 years old. It's very wet here, so 20 years is really a miracle! I believe thse fences are meant to last 10-15 years. Installed before I owned my house and before they owned theirs. Both myself and the current (long-time) renters are definitely interested in continuing to have a fence. All lots in the neighborhood are fenced, with perhaps a few exceptions.

      When I bought my house three years ago I suggested to the owner of the house (not the renters) that we could split the cost of some repairs and I would be happy to pick up materials and do the work myself, since the boards are on my side of the fence anyway. He just said, "No. That is your fence."

      Last year with the wind storms we had, it really damaged the fence. I sent a letter with photos to the owner (I'd lost his number) and suggested that I could get some quotes and we could split the cost of replacing it. I never heard from him, but he had the renters tie portions of the fence to their house and prop other portions with posts.

      We've had about 14 inches of rain this month and a wind storm the other day that caused a panel to fall into my yard, barely missing my house (city lot, they are on the narrow side) and the fence is really just done. I should also mention that a tree on their lot has been growing against the fence and has pushed it approximately six inches, further causing damage to the fence and likely assisting in loosening of the posts.

      State code dictates that if there is a fence on the property line, regardless of who put it up, both parties are responsible for maintaining the fence and/or replacing it. By law, I cannot take the fence down without their permission. And, if an agreement was made between the property owner and the property owners before me, it is now invalid. I am unsure how easy this law is to enforce.

      This week I brought out three fence companies who all quoted me about $3,000 to replace this section of the fence. I feel like I should not have to shell out all of that money on my own. The fence is to the point where it is dangerous and really needs to go, not to mention the damage it could cause to my house.

      What would you do?

    2. #2
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      Its a rental to the owner, he probably doesn't care based on his previous comment. You have dogs, you need the fence. I imagine it's going to be your expense, fair or not. I think small claims court is the only other option.
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    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by JenC View Post
      Its a rental to the owner, he probably doesn't care based on his previous comment. You have dogs, you need the fence. I imagine it's going to be your expense, fair or not. I think small claims court is the only other option.
      You're probably right. They have a dog too and she is aggressive. I will probably go about it in a way that I can take them to court.

    5. #4
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      Would the tenant be willing to split the cost with you as a leasehold improvement?

      Maybe something could be worked out between her and her landlord where she pays for half the repair and the landlord gives her some credits on her lease over a period of a couple months.

    6. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by arentspowell View Post
      Would the tenant be willing to split the cost with you as a leasehold improvement?

      Maybe something could be worked out between her and her landlord where she pays for half the repair and the landlord gives her some credits on her lease over a period of a couple months.
      No. When I first brought up that the fence needed some love, they gave me the hand and said to talk to the landlord, it's not their responsibility. I was hoping that by leaving it for them to deal with, they would talk to the landlord about it and push him to do something about it themselves. Of course, I don't know the facts, but I have a very strong hunch that if anyone has the money, it's not the renters.

    7. #6
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      Heck. I can't even get my neighbors to take down their own dead trees so they don't fall on our house. We've had to foot the bill for two of them just to get the job done. I don't even think one of them has homeowners insurance so that could have been a disaster. The other told me not to park in my driveway if I was concerned that the tree would fall on my car. It's such a lovely neighborhood. Most people just take a wait and see attitude and deal with the crises as they come up rather than prevent them. I don't understand that attitude at all.

    8. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by janedoe View Post
      Heck. I can't even get my neighbors to take down their own dead trees so they don't fall on our house. We've had to foot the bill for two of them just to get the job done. I don't even think one of them has homeowners insurance so that could have been a disaster. The other told me not to park in my driveway if I was concerned that the tree would fall on my car. It's such a lovely neighborhood. Most people just take a wait and see attitude and deal with the crises as they come up rather than prevent them. I don't understand that attitude at all.
      I feel your pain. I am between two homes that just don't care. One is not even lived in and hasn't been lived in...EVER...even though it was built in the 1950s. It's so bizarre! To get them to mow in the summer, the other neighbor and I have to take turns turning them into the city for "Tall Grass & Weeds" violations. My friend (a real estate agent) had some cash and wanted to invest it in my neighborhood. We drove to their house over the summer to offer cash, sight unseen, for the house -- actually the property as the house would most likely have to come down. They said they wanted more. She said she has more but would need to see the inside first (as it was at a cost point where she'd have to keep the house) and they turned her down. She even offered to leave her drivers license with them while we took the key to the house to look inside by ourselves (they lived 15 minutes from the house). There is nothing in the house to steal, not even appliances, but they still said no.

      The neighborhood has been going crazy over the past few years and we are getting people who do care and are renovating, maintaining, etc., and frankly, who are a lot easier to deal with and just people that you'd want to spend time with, so I am grateful for that!

    9. #8
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      State law here is whoever has the boards/braces on the inside of their fence here owns the fence. My neighbors are awesome though. Literally a month after I moved in they replaced the fence on one side without even asking if we wanted to split the cost. The neighbor's on the other side will probably do the same thing. The back fence and front fence is mine.

      $3,000 is expensive! I would definitely go by state law and say that they need to cough up the dough.
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    10. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by doubledip1 View Post
      State law here is whoever has the boards/braces on the inside of their fence here owns the fence. My neighbors are awesome though. Literally a month after I moved in they replaced the fence on one side without even asking if we wanted to split the cost. The neighbor's on the other side will probably do the same thing. The back fence and front fence is mine.

      $3,000 is expensive! I would definitely go by state law and say that they need to cough up the dough.
      It used to be that when you put up a fence, the "ugly side" was on the fence owner's side. Not a law, I don't think, but a rule of thumb. If that is the case, they own the fence. However, the law still states that the fence has to be maintained or replaced by both parties and cannot be taken down without both parties agreement. Now if one party pays for the fence, they get whatever side they want and whatever type of fence they want, but the person on the other side still has to pay for upkeep and replacement. If both parties pay for a fence, you have to agree on a type and if both parties want the "nice side" you put up a good neighbor fence, where there is no "ugly side".

      There is probably less confusion if there agreements made in the first place. Like, there was no fence and one party wanted one and one did not or they split the cost of a new fence they both liked, or something like that, than when both parties purchase land later and the fence is already there.

      I have to find out who to come out and document that the fence needs to be replaced. I don't think fence companies could do that as they have ulterior motives (getting us to purchase a new fence). It would have to be someone without a vested interested.

    11. #10
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      We had an old chain link fence in the back yard when we moved in and it was going downhill fast. With dogs, we were quick to update it. We put it 4 inches inside our property line so there would be no quibbles. Turned out the couple on the other side of the fence were retired and on a somewhat limited income so it really helped them too. Then again when we replaced that fence, which had been up a good 15 years and was a rail fence, and added the fence in the front yard we did the same thing. It benefits us both. The neighbor behind us finally replaced his solid 8' fence which was great. In our burg whoever puts up the fence must put the "good" side facing out.
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