Is this my fence or my neighbor's fence?

Is that old fence bringing down your property value? Not sure if it's your responsibility or your neighbor's to fix it? Read how to determine...
Monday, 31 October 2016

Once you decide to put up a fence for your house or business, it doesn’t just affect you but your surrounding neighbors as well. Having a fence can prevent problems with neighbors, but it can also sometimes cause issues. Using good fence etiquette can help you to continue to get along with your neighbors and can also keep you from encountering any issues with the law.

How do you determine whose fence it is?

The type of fence it is is part of what determines whose fence it is. If it is a boundary fence it typically sits on the line between the two properties meaning that both property owners jointly own the fence. As long as both property owners use the fence, which means they use the land that touches the fence, have a fence that attaches to the boundary fence or the property is enclosed because the owner has other fences that attach to the boundary fence, then both property owners are responsible for it.

The maintenance of boundary fences in Colorado are usually the responsibility of the two land owners unless they’ve agreed on something else. This means that when the fence needs repair, both property owners help to pay for the fence. This is where friendly neighbors can become enemies. If one neighbor is willing to pay and the other doesn’t a big dispute can happen.

The best way to inform your neighbor that you need to fix the fence is to talk to them nicely. If they still refuse to pay you can, write a letter to the neighbor, have the repair fixed and then request payment, go to mediation, or sue the neighbor for reimbursement. If possible, it’s best to stay civil as you will have to see your neighbor on a regular basis.

What are some other ways to get along with my neighbor concerning a fence?

Observe property boundaries.

Before you begin to build your fence it’s important to understand where exactly your property line starts and finishes. If you go even an inch past your property line your neighbors have the right to have the fence torn down. Often times, your Colorado Springs fence company will install the fence inside of the line rather than accidentally put the line over the property line. It could be worth the extra money to have a land surveyor tell you the exact property line to avoid a dispute or the fence getting torn down.

Review fence restrictions for your city.

When you contract a Colorado Springs fence company to put up a new fence between your house and your neighbor’s, you must make sure that the fence is within local zoning regulations. The fencing contractor must have permits and know the height regulations, setbacks and any other fence restrictions in Colorado. Corner lots even have extra rules. By reviewing fence restrictions and regulations with your contractor you’ll save a headache later and keep and neighbors who aren’t thrilled with a new fence off from getting you in trouble with the city.

Get a copy of your HOA rules.

Homeowners associations can really put a damper on your fence plans so knowing the HOA rules is extremely important before you start to build. A Colorado Springs fencing company isn’t going to know the exact HOA guidelines for your neighborhood so it is your responsibility to get a copy of the rules and pass them along. If you don’t follow HOA rules you can face a dispute with your HOA committee. That could mean a ton of wasting time as well as money. By reviewing HOA rules, you’ll be able to build a fence within the style guidelines requested.

Let your neighbor know.

If you’re installing a fence between your two properties it’s polite to let your neighbor know. No neighbor wants to be surprised by a random fence going up - especially if he or she doesn’t like how the new fence will look.

Related article: How to safely tear down an old fence

To avoid a dispute with your neighbor, discuss putting up a fence and be open to their input about what they want it to look like - but only if it will affect their property too. By showing a neighbor a complete design you’re letting them control a fence that you’re building. If they want to help pay for the fence, that’s a different story. Just be sure your neighbor understands what you’re doing and if he or she is very against it, know that it could affect your relationship.

Be considerate.

When you do decide to put up a fence be considerate of your neighbors. Put the more finished side of your fence facing the street and neighbors, and make sure you clean and maintain the fence. By upkeeping your fence, as well as allowing your neighbors to see the nicer side of it rather than the unfinished portion of the fence. you’re being courteous to neighbors and they’ll appreciate it.

Do I need to worry about the actual look of my fence?

Although local regulations do have height and size requirements, and you can only use specific materials to build a fence, there are typically no actual requirements in terms of the styling of the fence.

In subdivisions where there are HOA guidelines there may have to be an actual style for the fence, however legally there aren’t usually any restrictions for your Denver fence or Colorado Springs fence. It is always smart to have your local fencing contractor review the city ordinances as well as the zoning rules. Being educated ahead of time can keep neighbors and the city from making you replace your fence.

Related article: Denver Fence Regulations

Having a fence that is in accordance with local laws is just one way to keep disputes with neighbors to a minimum. By considering your neighbor in your decision, observing property boundaries and keeping in mind that good fences help make good neighbors, you can avoid problems with anyone in your neighborhood. Understanding that a fence is yours, your neighbors or belongs to both of you can also be helpful. Remember to treat neighbors as you’d like to be treated and be positive as you build or fix your fence.