One of the most common questions we hear when our fence company provides an on-site consultation and quote is who owns the fence, and is thereby responsible for the repair or replacement costs? The answer is, of course, that it depends.
One thing is definite, however. While having a fence can prevent problems with neighbors, it can also sometimes cause issues. The latter is especially true when it comes time to perform costly repairs or upgrade the fencing between two properties.
How do you determine who owns the fence between two properties?
The largest determining factor of who owns the fence is where exactly the fence lies between two properties. A privacy fence located three feet inside your property line will obviously be your responsibility. However, if the fence sits on the line between your property and your neighbor’s, the fence is designated as a boundary fence, and both property owners jointly own the fence. As long as both property owners use the fence - that is, both parties own the land that touches the fence or have a fence on their own property that attaches to the boundary fence (such as a dog-run fence) - then both property owners are equally responsible for the cost of maintenance and repairs of the shared fence.
This determination of who owns the fence is where previously friendly neighbors can become enemies. If one neighbor is willing to pay for repairs or upgrades and the other is not willing to pay, a big dispute may be inevitable.
Have you ever heard “you get more flies with honey than with vinegar?” The best way to inform your neighbor that you need to fix the fence is to speak to them face-to-face in a friendly and respectful manner. If your neighbor refuses to pay their fair share of fence repair costs, other options are available. For instance, 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.
However, whenever possible, we recommend remaining on civil terms with your neighbors by finding common ground on needed repairs.
How To Prevent Issues Over Who Owns The Fence
Once you have determined who owns the fence between your property and your neighbor, follow these steps to ensure a neighborly feud does not break out.
Observe Property Boundaries
Before approaching your neighbor regarding boundary fence maintenance or repair, and especially before investing in a newly built fence, you first need to understand exactly where your property lines start and finish. Remember that if you go even an inch into your neighbor’s property, your neighbor has the right to have the fence torn down..
If you are concerned about infringing on your neighbor’s land, you may want to consider hiring a local land surveyor to pinpoint your exact property lines.
Follow Local Fence Regulations
The cities of Colorado Springs and Denver (including their suburbs) have established zoning regulations with regard to residential and commercial fencing. Such regulations state the height and length of fencing, required setbacks, and other rules that licensed fence companies must abide by when installing new fencing and making repairs to existing fences. If your property is on a corner, there are additional codes that must be followed. By reviewing fence restrictions regulations, and permitting requirements with your fencing contractor ahead of time, you’ll save a headache later and keep any neighbors who aren’t thrilled with your new fence design from getting you in trouble with your local City government.
Obtain A Copy Of Your HOA Rules
Most Colorado Springs and Denver homeowners associations (HOA) have by-laws regarding fences. Depending on the fence design you are contemplating, your HOA may have much to say about what you are and are not allowed to do within your community, and may even have an approvals process in place to ensure that rules are followed. . Before calling your local Colorado Springs or Denver fencing company for a quote, do yourself a favor and get a copy of your HOA by-laws and design requirements. Providing this information to the fencing contractor and discussing it with them ensures that you are building a fence that both you and your HOA will love.
Be Considerate Of Your Neighbors
The key to being considerate of your neighbors comes down to one word -communication. Whether you plan to install a new fence or make repairs to an existing fence between your property and your neighbors, the considerate thing to do is to let them know ahead of time. 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 on their property line.
Before making design or repair decisions on your shared boundary fence, talk over the costs and design. Be open to their input about what they want it to look like - especially if it will affect their property, or are contributing to the cost.
Another way to be considerate of your neighbors is to place the finished side of your fence facing the street and neighbors, and make sure you clean and maintain the fence.
Determining Who Owns the Fence Is The First Step To Adding Value To Your Property
By determining who owns the fence between you and your neighbors, you are taking the first step to increasing your property value. Neighborhoods that have well-maintained yards and fences show potential home-buyers that the home they are considering is worth every penny being asked. This in turn increases your property values, a scenario every Colorado homeowner likes to see.
When you are ready to repair or replace your current fence or want to upgrade to a newer, more functional fence, contact Blick’s Fencing for a free fence repair or new installation quote. We have been supporting the idea that good fences make good neighbors along Colorado’s Front Range for close to 30 years. Find out for yourself why Blick’s Fencing is the premier choice for fencing in Colorado Springs and Denver.